Don’t buy tires or service tires at Costco

My wife and I have been longtime Costco members and we probably don’t utilize our memberships quite as much as we could or should. Last summer we got new All-Season Tires from Costco because we just had winters. Now if you buy any set of tires from Costco it enables you to get your tires swapped out (winters for summers) etc for something like $50. It really is a good deal. So at the start of last winter I decided it was time to get the winters back on. I went up when they opened (10AM) and was turned away. I was told you had to be in line at 8AM to get an appointment. A few days later my wife was up early and headed to Costco and stood in line in the cold for 30 minutes. When they finally came out, they gave my wife a number and told her that she had to be back at 9AM to book her appointment. I took the car back at 9 and after standing in line for 50 minutes I was told they couldn’t do the tires until 2PM. I left the car there and took the train downtown to work. I returned at 5 and was greeted with another line-up of people picking up their vehicles. 30 minutes later all was done with a bill of $50. Then I headed home during rush hour.

Basically, 4 trips up to the NE Costco here in Calgary. 4×40 minutes per trip, 30+50+30 for line-up waits = 4.5 hours. Other shops charge about $100 for this service so basically we saved $50 and spent 4.5 hours working for it. Is my time worth $10 an hour? I think it’s worth much more than that.

Fast forward to spring in Calgary. People aren’t in quite as much of a panic to get their tires switched over so I casually headed over to Costco to get my tires changed back. I was there at 10AM, when the doors opened but strangely enough there was already a line-up for the tire shop. One of the service guys came out and handed out clip boards to the first ten people and told the rest of the people to go home. TEN PEOPLE! Are you kidding? I was number 8 so I patiently waited for the first 7 people to book their servicing and then they got around to me. They couldn’t get to me until 3:30PM. I turned around and walked out.

I looked on Google maps for a tire shop close by and found Kal Tire. They couldn’t do my tires until 1PM. I found another shop called Champion tires and they did my tires on the spot. 30 minutes later the boys and I were on our way for $97. Sure, I spent some time at Costco and Kal Tire but in reality I feel that I saved so much in time that the extra money spent was nothing.

Come winter, I’ll go elsewhere. Why can’t Costco get with the times and actually book appointments online or at least over the phone? I’d be happy to show up 10 minutes before my scheduled time, spend an hour shopping in Costco and then pick up my car and go.