In an era of budget-watching and penny-pinching, the last bastion of bulk-buy bargains, Costco, delivers a blow to its customer base. Brace yourselves, the tidal wave of price hikes is imminent!

Costco, that vast and voluminous warehouse of wonder, where we’ve often found solace in bulk purchases and the sheer joy of unearthing a deal, has announced some jolting news. The CFO, Richard Galanti, dropped the bombshell: sky-rocketing price hikes are about to storm thousands of Costco warehouses nationwide.

If you’ve felt that your recent Costco visits were draining your wallet a bit more than usual, you weren’t mistaken. There’s been a rustling in the winds of Reddit’s r/Costco forums, where even the most stalwart of Costco’s clientele are venting their frustrations about the thinning options on the shelves, the nosediving quality, and the alarming price markups which seem to crop up overnight.

Imagine this: One day you’re purchasing your favorite cut of meat, reveling in the savings and planning family meals. The next? “The meat prices are bonkers,” laments one Costco enthusiast. You’d think ground beef and boneless lamb were made of gold with them both being priced at a staggering $4.99/lb..

What’s even more confounding is the erratic pricing of boneless chicken, sometimes waltzing between $2.99 and $4.99 per pound. It’s a peculiar dance, especially when local grocery stores consistently price their boneless chicken at a steady $1.99/lb.

Another long-time customer reeled from sticker shock when encountering the price of whole chickens.

“Today I noticed that the two packs of organic whole chickens cost $34. The rotisserie chickens were still $5 each though. I used to buy whole chickens and roast them at home as an affordable meal. I about fell over when I saw the $34 price tag.”

A rapid hike in the cost of essentials isn’t limited to meats. There’s a photograph floating around of a 10lb bag of Kirkland’s Signature Thin Sliced Boneless Chicken Breast, now priced 10% higher than just a few months prior. The leap from $23.99 in July to $26.99 today is jarring. “I guess we’ll never see prices go down to pre-pandemic levels again,” laments a weary shopper. The sorrow deepens with revelations like raw tights experiencing a dizzying 50% price leap from $0.99 to $1.49 a pound.

But wait, there’s more! Just as we are reeling from these revelations, another zinger is announced. After a hiatus since 2017, Costco is gearing up to hike its membership fees this winter. Now, this isn’t just a minor increment. The chain plans to slap on an additional $10 for Costco memberships.

Galanti, in an attempt to cushion the blow, claims there will be added value accompanying the fee surge, pointing towards an upcoming app update. This app will supposedly enable users to scrutinize gas pump prices by location and even peek into warehouse inventory at specific stores. But, will a digital upgrade suffice to justify the squeeze on our pockets?

In a sobering turn, the repercussions of these hikes have a darker, more sinister underbelly. Americans, many of whom are already grappling with financial constraints, are once again skipping meals, an alarming trend reminiscent of the pandemic’s peak. A report by Bloomberg paints a grim picture. It exposes the acute financial distress engulfing millions of low-income Americans in 2023.

Shockingly, among households reliant on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, 42% had to forgo meals in August. 55% had to curtail their food intake due to affordability issues. This is more than double the figures from last year, as highlighted by a recent report from Propel Inc.

To make matters graver, this impending avalanche of price increases isn’t restricted to just Costco. When a retail juggernaut like Costco adjusts its prices upward, it’s an unsaid cue for other chains. It’s a domino effect, and we brace ourselves for the cascading announcements of food inflation spikes in other stores.

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