The long-awaited Redmond Costco opens today, and some useless Costco trivia

Assuming there isn't another schedule slip, the Redmond Costco should be opening today. So I'm going to celebrate by sharing some Costco trivia.

If you shop three times in a row at a particular Costco location, then that location is treated as your "home" Costco. When you make an online purchase, the sale is credited to your "home" Costco for bookkeeping purposes.

This little detail doesn't really have any effect on you, the customer. You can just go about your Costco day as you always did. The people who care about this are the accountants back at Costco headquarters who want to do things like identify which locations are most profitable.

But it does mean that if you are on vacation and shop at Costco a few times, that will flip a bit somewhere in a data center so it thinks you've moved.

Comments (15)
  1. Brian_EE says:

    Interesting. I guess that means that even though I live NY, the Costco in Anchorage Alaska is currently my home store.

  2. nathan_works says:

    Wait, Costco is HQ’d in Kirkland, right ? And that’s literally next door to Redwood .. So does this mean it’s now around the corner, vs a 10-15 minute drive ? Or was the HQ there, but no store ?

    1. Peter says:

      The Costco headquarters are in Issaquah, jut a little south of Kirkland. There’s a Costco there, and AFIACT they do some of there “will this new product sell” testing there. The month or two that they had a donut-glazing machine was heaven :-). That store is alway ssuper-crowded. They also have a store in Kirkland (mostly crowded), and now one in Redmond.

    2. Clockwork-Muse says:

      Besides the warehouse there, the original HQ was in Kirkland.

  3. Ted Spence says:

    Also – the original Costco is on Fourth in the SODO district of Seattle. They retained a small piece of the original building wall that looks quite silly but is an interesting reminder of what things used to be like.

    It’s worth noticing that the original Costco, while large, is much much smaller than the average Costco nowadays.

  4. Adrian says:

    Sometimes I forget which name survived the merger and thus often still refer to it as Price Club.

  5. wonder if that applies to gas station purchases as well… seems that a few fillups shouldn’t change the creditation of an online purchase.

  6. Clockwork-Muse says:

    The home warehouse is also the one they charge for rewards.
    Note that your home warehouse only changes if your zip code is in the warehouse’s assigned area – going on vacation won’t change it unless you update your address too. This ends up affecting some snowbirds from Canada who winter in Florida, since they update their address, and then get their rewards issued in US dollars instead of Canadian dollars (which you can’t use cross-border).

  7. William Reardon says:

    Makes me wonder how Google Express orders are treated.

  8. For various reasons we only shop at Costco about three times a year, two of which are at one branch and the third at another (which are roughly equidistant from us). According to the stated algorithm, that must mean we don’t have a ‘home’ Costco at all! I’ve always wanted to try our (UK) membership card at a store in another country, like they say you can, but have never had the opportunity.

    1. Benjy says:

      Many (many many) years ago I was with my Dad in Atlanta and we visited CostCo on his UK-issued-and-only-ever-used-there-card. The teller swiped it through the machine, it thought for a few seconds and popped “CostCo welcomes …..” – impressive! Especially when a Blockbuster video card couldn’t be used at the store 10 minutes away!

    2. Brian_EE says:


      It works – at least in North America. We spent the summer driving from New York to Alaska and back. With a vehicle that only gets 6 miles to the gallon, and 10,500 miles, we stopped at every Costco along the way throughout both US and Canada to buy gas. No issue using my card.

      1. Clockwork-Muse says:

        The US and Canada are both in the same database. More interesting are the Costcos in other countries, which are on separate systems; in order for all of them to talk, the US system acts as a hub.

        And the home warehouse is set during initial signup (to the warehouse you shop at), since the membership still represents income.

  9. I read the headline and thought “He’s spelt Contoso wrong.”

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