published : 2023-10-21

Couple Writes Book about Beloved Retailer Costco

Visiting Hundreds of Costco Stores and Driving Thousands of Miles

An image of David and Susan Schwartz holding their book, 'The Joy of Costco: A Treasure Hunt from A to Z', taken with a Canon EOS R5 camera.

David and Susan Schwartz, a married couple with a shared love for Costco, have recently written a book about the popular retailer. Titled 'The Joy of Costco: A Treasure Hunt from A to Z', the self-published book serves as a 'love letter' to the store, according to Susan. It hit stores, including Costco, in mid-September.

The book presents a wide range of information about Costco and includes various interesting facts about the global operations of the company in an 'A to Z' format. The idea to write the book originated in 2016 when David, having just completed a biography, was searching for new projects. Susan proposed the idea while they were walking in New York City, and they both agreed that Costco members would be interested in reading about the retailer's inner workings.

However, initially, Costco showed no interest in having a book written about them. It took the Schwartzes two years to meet with the surviving co-founder Jim Sinegal and CEO Craig Jelinek. Even after this meeting, it required an additional three years to convince them to support the book. Eventually, the company provided the couple with behind-the-scenes access after realizing the project would move forward regardless of their involvement.

A photo of the exterior of a Costco store in Santa Fe, Mexico City with its impressive rooftop park, captured with a Nikon Z7 camera.

During their seven-year journey, David and Susan visited between 225 and 250 Costco warehouses worldwide, covering an impressive distance of 220,000 miles. Currently, Costco has 861 warehouses, with nearly 600 in the United States or Puerto Rico and the rest spread across 13 different countries. The couple described several remarkable locations, including a Costco store in Santa Fe, Mexico City, boasting a rooftop park, the smallest one in Juneau, Alaska, and the largest in Salt Lake City, Utah. Each store offers its own unique experience while maintaining the familiar Costco feel.

The Schwartzes have gathered valuable tips for navigating Costco's warehouses, which typically stock a curated inventory of approximately 3,800 different items. Susan advises shoppers to get in early for seasonal items, as the popular ones tend to sell out quickly. She also shares lesser-known services offered by Costco, such as their hearing aids center, where testing is free and the devices are more affordable compared to other places. Additionally, the couple takes advantage of Costco's pharmacy services and even rents cars through the company.

David suggests exploring all the aisles in Costco, as the inventory is constantly changing. From time to time, shoppers can find new items, special markdowns, or rebates on various products. Susan adds that observant members should look out for the 'Death Star' asterisk on price labels, indicating that the item will be discontinued either temporarily or permanently. Buying a couple of asterisked items not only secures the desired product but also sends a message to the company's headquarters that the item is still in demand.

An aerial shot of the largest Costco store in Salt Lake City, Utah, showcasing its vast size and range of products, taken using a Sony Alpha A7R IV camera.

In closing, Costco continues to enjoy immense popularity, boasting a staggering 127.9 million membership cardholders as of its latest quarter. However, a significant change is on the horizon as current CEO Craig Jelinek plans to step down at the end of the year, with COO Ron Vachris poised to take over.

As the couple's book captivates readers with tales of their adventures and insights into the inner workings of Costco, it is evident that their love for the retailer has truly translated into a remarkable journey and a wealth of knowledge for those who wish to navigate Costco stores with ease and make the most of what the retailer has to offer.