IMPress Magazine
The publication of the International Press Assoc.


Consumerism

April 4, 2014

IPA Prez Len Rapoport How He Busted The Costco Secret Price Codes

eHow - Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

How It All Began – eHow & Hubpages

In 2009, I was searching the internet for websites that I could recommend to IPA members that wanted to earn money writing articles.  I discovered two sites that seemed to be perfect for aspiring writers.

I decided to give a site called eHow a try first.  They had a specific format that asked writers to publish How To articles.  Interesting concept so I decided to take a shot and I wrote a How To article on how to train your puppy.  A week later it had won a writing contest they were running.  I couldn’t believe how easy it was to win a cool $1000 my very first week. I continued to write a few more How To articles and the  next contest I won was one of their weekly contests on How to Upgrade Your Home.  Over the next month or so I earned another $400 in addition to the money I had won for my puppy article, $1,400 for the first month on eHow was promising.

I thought I found the golden goose for writers, but eHow was still young and they had a lot of members who were also very young.  The members would vote on articles that other writers wrote and were given the power to negatively impact other writers articles with poor ratings.  Not one for infighting with other writers or dealing with petty jealousies, I decided to leave eHow and look for other writer sites.

The next site I found was Hubpages, which seemed to be a nice platform for me to test.  I wrote a few smaller articles, but since I was an experienced Costco customer, purchasing thousands of dollars worth of products and close-outs from them that I later sold on eBay, I thought I would write an article on what I had learned about their unknown pricing codes.

I decided to share my knowledge and expose their secret pricing codes in my article.  I also wanted to share the many other ways that could save even more money shopping at Costco. For some time, I was actually making money purchasing close-outs or mark-downs at Costco and reselling them on eBay and Amazon.com.

 

My Big Scores Selling Costco Merchandise

My Lights on Aquarium Click to Enlarge

My Lights on Aquarium

One day while walking through Costco, I found a high output fluorescent, daylight balanced, outdoor flood light that caught my attention.  It was just about the time these lights started to replace conventional bulbs.  This one light was originally selling at Costco for $29.99 and I thought it would be great to use for my grow lights and maybe even on my aquarium.  I bought a couple of lights, opened them up and wired them so I could plug them in at home.  The lights were meant for outdoor use so they were sealed properly for a wet or damp location. Now, what if I converted these lights for indoor use and sold them as Aquarium and Grow Lights, would they sell?

For the better part of my life I have been involved with raising and breeding tropical fish. I realized that the lights on my fish tank were not very good and were quite expensive.  I also used lights to start my plants and seedlings indoors as well.   I decided to take the Costco lights and modify a few and then see if I could market them as Aquarium and Grow Lights on eBay.  Well, needless to say the reaction was so great that I then decided to produce these aquarium and grow lights and even created a new website called it Len’s Lights.

My lights were offered on eBay for $59.95 to $79.95 each and they sold.  I was producing 20 each week and raking in the money. Now Costco had them on a special sale for only $10 each now because the our state had an energy rebate program that brought the cost way down.

lens lights logo-2

In addition to the lights I was selling, I also offered color correction filters for the lights to adjust the color temperature, which is important for many salt water aquariums.  There were other add on accessories too and I had a business going that generated thousands of dollars each month.

At the end of a my first year I had sold close to 1,000 lights.  I had cleaned out the inventory on these lights from a number of the Costco stores that were closing out what they had in stock.  I was also able to buy more directly from the manufacturer to fill my needs.

It was finally over when other companies realized that these HO lights would sell in these markets and my sales stopped.   A great ride for the time I had it and I made thousands of dollars because of this one Costco item.

How I Made More Money Shopping At Costco

Now over the next few years, while doing what I do at IPA, I discovered many ways to make money shopping at Costco and continued to learn even more about their Secret Codes and their seasonal mark downs. I learned how they rotated inventory and dealt with seasonal merchandise. I knew the exact time to buy their mark-downs and even knew what would be marked down.  I watched their inventories and the slow movers and began to know when a new item arrived if it would sell or end up being marked down.  I was getting pretty good at this and had a good sense of our market and what might and might now sell.

When I started to discover Costco, we didn’t have smart phones or iPads. Now you can simply go online and check prices to see what the prices of those items would be elsewhere. It took a bit of work to see what the best deals were then. Back then, no one was really buying Costco merchandise and selling it on eBay.  I had the market all to myself and was having fun picking up some side cash on my special purchases.

When I decided to write my first Costco article for Hubpages, I never realized it would be as successful as it is.  I thought it would be a good idea for an article and I was willing to share my secrets with others. I never gave much thought that my article could go viral and my secret was no longer a secret anymore.  Once you open the Pandora’s Box you can’t close it.  So my secret was out and now this article has become the number one article on the internet on saving money at Costco and I find so many eBayer’s are now offering Costco merchandise.

Over 300 Sites Now Point To My Article

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You will find many frugal living or coupon sites now writing about the Costco Price Codes. I can only guess that all or most of them learned about the codes from my article after all we are now pushing closer to the one million read mark.

The article is copyrighted with the U.S. Copyright office and enjoyed automatic copyrights when it was published, but still I find some people still want to copy my article and photos and post it to their sites as their own.  Most of the nicer writers understood the need to attribute their article to me and link to my site. This is how my article has grown as fast as it has.   The article has not only received attention on hundreds of other sites, but is also quoted in newspapers, on television and on social media sites.  The largest number of reads was just under 40,000 views in one week.  To date we are closing in on the one million reads mark and continue receive thousands of views each week.

Philip Theater .97

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Costco .97¢ Markdown Code

As you will discover when you read my full article, any item at Costco that ends in a .97¢ ending is a mark down.  Knowing this buyers looking to sell on eBay and Amazon will shop the stores and scoop up these items.

If you visit eBay today or even Amazon.com you will now find many Costco items on sale there by many sellers.  They are usually the close-outs, end of season items and others that will now find its way on eBay. I have also seen some of the Costco’s private label merchandise on eBay and Amazon under the Kirkland label.  Not everyone shops at Costco, so you will find that some of the great deals at Costco will find their way to these sites.

Some of My Scores

I rarely sell anything on eBay now because of the competition that I have now created for myself. After all how long can you keep a secret like this, a secret.  Recently I purchased some nice track lights at Costco. They originally sold for $59.99 and I noticed month after month they weren’t selling. I knew it was a matter of time and they would be marked down.

Well, patience is the key here and they were then reduced to $29.97, but still the inventory wasn’t moving.  Finally, they reduced them to $9.97 each after a manufacturer’s instant rebate on them with a limit of 4 per customer.

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Click to Enlarge

Now was my time to clean them out and clean them out I did.  I made a number of purchases and my wife and I, purchased the remaining inventory over a period of a few days.  We had 33 track lights for a total investment of $330.  I sold the lights on both Amazon.com and eBay for $39.95 each plus S&H and netted about $30 each after all fees and costs.  So I cleared $660 and shipping these was easy. I simply stuck a shipping label on the outside of the carton and out they went.

And Yet Another Costco Score

Range_Hood

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Next score were some stainless steel range hoods.  Found 14 of them at one of the other Costco stores I shop.  They were originally selling for $149.99, I bought 12 of them at $49.97 and two with broken boxes at $24.97.  Sold them all at $159.95, after fees netted around $80 each or just under $1,000.  Put a shipping label on the box and out they went. No packing supplies no muss no fuss.

So today I work on articles for my own publication IMPress Magazine and work with our International Press Association members and continue to write many articles for our 4 websites.

Since I live in New Jersey, I can cover so many events in our New York area and you can read many of the trade and consumer shows I attend at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York.

I continue to update the information on my main Costco article and also write seasonal Costco articles which you can see in my Hubpage channel. There are nice slide shows now that  highlight the latest mark-downs and deals.  Christmas and Summer are the two best seasons to take advantage of their close-outs.  If you continue to follow my articles you will discover the next great deals at your favorite Costco store.

Note:  Not all stores carry the same merchandise and not all stores will have the same mark-downs.  So I shop at 4 Costco stores in our area and often find that one store is sitting heavy with inventory on an item and another store is selling it without any mark-downs.  So if you are interested in saving the most money you can at Costco, be sure to shop more then one store in your area if you can.

Number One Article On The Internet On Saving Money At Costco

You can see from these screen shots below, that no matter how you search to save money at Costco,  my Hubpages article shows up number one.

Out of millions of search results this article has been rated tops by Google for years and hopefully will continue.  If you haven’t read this informative article and shop at Costco or any of the other stores, you will find some of my observations and tips helpful. I guarantee if you are a Costco member, and follow my informative guide, you will absolutely save money each year.  Knowing all the secrets I divulge in my articles on that site can’t be found anywhere else, it is the complete guide to saving money at Costco and it is FREE.  You can also see my Summer and Christmas scores as well and understand that summer items in stock now, may be June and July’s big bargains.  Read my article – Secret Price Codes At Costco Will Save You Money.

Even Snopes.com Got It Wrong

I do Google searches on a regular basis to find websites that are using my images or text on my Costco articles without permission.  The other day I found Snopes.com had used parts of my article to compare my facts with false facts spreading around the internet about Target and their pricing policies.  I have alerted them that they have not attributed my article to me, but to other writers who have copied my works and awaiting their reply.  As a result they are in violation of my copyrights on this article and images.  I am tracking back to the sources they have mentioned and the video from Fox5 they have included to take appropriate action against all of those that have violated my rights.

See the copy in this article and then compare it to my article.  It is obvious that they never did the proper verification.  One would think Snopes to proclaims to uncover these things are guilty themselves of being duped.

Snopes

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Click on Screen Shots Below For A Larger View

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Have You Seen Articles About Costco Codes?

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I am happy to see that my original article on Hubpages has received the reception it has.  Millions of people have now read my article or similar ones on other websites. References and the information in the article has also appeared in the media both print and broadcast too.  Now most of these folks have been  kind enough to credit me or attribute the information to me, which is the right thing to do.  As you can see in this newspaper clipping from the Palm Beach Post, the reporter was kind enough to recognize my hard work and mention me and my article in hers.

If you see other sites or media talking about the Costco Codes please drop me a line so I can either thank them for the attribution and link to my article or remind them to do so. All of my articles are copyrighted and any use would be a violation of that copyright, some times people forget this and need to be reminded.

Email me and let me know if you have seen this information elsewhere.  It is nice to share this information with my readers, but not at the risk of losing my rights to my works through the republication of my article by others.

 


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About the Author

Len Rapoport
Len Rapoport
IPA Editor-In-Chief, ID: 1000 • I am an internationally published photographer and the founder of International Press Association. As president and editor-in-chief, my duties at IPA are extensive. For over 40 years I have written articles, had my photos published in millions of publications, record album covers, books, and in the digital media. I was senior marketing and sales executive for major corporations, including my own and as a corporate communications consultant. I have taught photography and formed IPA 20 years ago. I currently work from my home office and continue to actively cover media events in addition to all of my other IPA and IMPress responsibilities.




 
 

 

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