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Thursday, March 1, 2018

Costco confusion: Members hoping to get rebates in cash find registers with few bills

STORMY WEATHER: I finally got out of the Costco Wholesale warehouse in the Teterboro Landing Shopping Center off of Route 46, above, about an hour after I arrived this morning. I found many more shoppers than unusual stocking up before the expected arrival of a nor'easter.




Paying for my purchases this morning at the Costco Wholesale in Teterboro was a genuine ordeal in a warehouse usually known for its many efficient cashiers.

A February tradition for members is receiving hundreds of dollars in rebates from Costco's no-fee, cash-back Visa credit card, and spending them in the warehouse.

This year, my reward certificates totaled $365 --three times my annual Executive Membership fee of $12o.

Despite knowing that thousands of customers would be asking for the balance of their rewards in cash, Teterboro managers refused to alter their system of keeping as few bills as possible in register drawers.

So, this morning, paying for $172.36 in fresh food and other purchases with a $296.16 reward certificate took longer than I care to remember, because the cashier didn't have enough change in her drawer.

And while I was waiting for my $122.75 in change, the disorganized cashier started ringing up the purchases of the shopper behind me.

Then, a supervisor came over to "upsell" him to a $120 Executive Membership from the regular $60 Gold Star membership he held.

(With an Executive Membership, you get 2% cash back on all your purchases in the warehouse and on Costco.com, compared to 1% back for Gold Star members, in the month you renew.)

By the time I got my change, the shopper who was  behind me on line was well on his way, and I left without a gallon jug of Langer's Mango Nectar my cashier forgot to ring up in the first place.

GROWS ON YOU: The Deluxe Garden Bunch at the Teterboro Costco is a better deal than buying fresh flowers at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods Market.
I'M WILD FOR THIS FISH STICK: A 4-pound bag of The Ultimate Fish Stick from Trident, made from wild Alaskan Pollock fillets and panko breadcrumbs, was $7.99 after an instant savings of $4.
SMOKED WILD SOCKEYE: Ignore all the artificially colored farmed salmon Costco offers -- smoked and fresh -- and go for the Kirkland Signature Wild Alaskan Smoked Sockeye Salmon. At $18.89 for a 1-pound package, this still is the best deal on smoked wild salmon in northern New Jersey.
REDUCED-FAT SWISS: One of the few reduced-fat cheeses at Costco is Jarlsberg Lite Sliced Swiss (two 1-pound containers for $7.99). I use this cheese and slices of smoked wild salmon in sandwiches and egg dishes or roll up them up with organic spring mix and Dijon mustard for a tasty, no-bread snack.  
CANNED YELLOWFIN: Six 7-ounce cans of the pricey Genova-brand Yellowfin Tuna in Olive Oil was easier to swallow  for $10.79 after instant savings of $2.70. This tuna makes a great salad with diced celery, sweet peppers and a dressing of Dijon mustard, fresh lemon juice and cumin.
ANTIBIOTIC- FREE SLICED TURKEY: Unfortunately, Plainville Farms Oven-Roasted Organic Turkey Breast, top, appears to be the only cold cut sold at the Teterboro Costco raised without harmful antibiotics.
TAKING A POWDER: One of the last items I looked at today before heading for the check-out lanes was this pouch of Ujido-brand Matcha Green Tea Powder from Japan, another in an increasing number of items aimed at North Jersey's Asian residents. Three-quarters of a pound of Green Tea Powder was $32.99.

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