Is Costco Losing It?

The Lempert Report
October 31, 2017

I have to wonder if Costco's latest product line is brilliant? Scary? Or just a mistake that turns off shoppers.

Many of the food pundits are saying that Costco's entry into delivery may signal the downfall of the once mighty and often envied retailer. After all how can a traditional grocer compete with those huge savings, high quality and larger sizes?

The new line is all about "what happens if" - three emergency kits – costing $1,000, $3,999.99 and $5,999.99. Yes we have become inundated with climate changes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. Yes more storms a re on the way and California is just getting past its worst drought in history. So our choice? Yell louder at Washington's leaders to convince them that climate change is real and put in place the regulations we need to better control our futures and add to disaster relief -- or just hunker down and build a bunker just in case?

I remember vividly ads in comic books and other magazines like Popular Science that would sell plans for DIY bunkers or even buy preassembled ones that could be installed for you. A quick google search offered me home shelters that start at $18,999 and go as high as $129,999 for the "Big Boy" - plus installation of course. There is a Triple by the way for larger families that'll set you back $339,999 and a six floor military unit that can hold 24 people. I'll stop there. 

Maybe Costco is on to something? The $1,000 kit is a one-year supply of food and is made up of nearly 100 1-gallon cans of wheat, rice, granola, apples, bananas, peaches, strawberries, potatoes, carrots, beans, onions, corn, beef, chicken, milk, sugar and salt. The cans have 6,200 servings of food and will last up to 25 years.

Retailers have always done their best to support their customers in times of need. In Texas and Florida stores were opened within days and residents had a chance to stock pile before the storm hit. In Puerto Rico, the residents weren't so lucky. 

Costco gave little details about the popularity of the kits, but said in an e-mail to the Free Press, “The idea came about making a great starter kit for a family who wanted to prepare for any kind of disaster.  This is a great value with shipping included."

Other retailers offer emergency kits of all sizes and costs and once thing is for sure make sure you are prepared.