Analysis

I Love Costco’s Kirkland Products, but These 3 Buys Were a Huge Disappointment

There’s a reason it often pays to load up on Kirkland Signature products at Costco. If you’re willing to forgo the fancy packaging other brand names are known for, you might save yourself 20% or more on your purchases.

And that 20% isn’t a made-up number. Costco’s CFO confirmed during a recent earnings call that the company seeks to offer at least 20% savings on Kirkland products compared to name-brand counterparts.

Now for the most part, I’ve had a good experience with Kirkland products. In fact, Kirkland muffins are my absolute favorite, and there are a number of Kirkland snacks that have a permanent spot in my rotation.

But certain Kirkland products haven’t worked out for me at all. Here are three I don’t think I’ll ever buy again.

1. Kirkland paper towels

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m in a place in my life where I’m passionate about paper towels. There, I said it.

Maybe it’s because I do so much darn cleaning every single day. I need a paper towel that absorbs liquid like nobody’s business. And when I tried Kirkland paper towels for the savings involved, it was a huge letdown.

I found that Kirkland’s paper towels sort of disintegrated in the face of spills. That’s the opposite of what you want a paper towel to do. So even though Bounty, my go-to brand, tends to cost a lot more, I’d rather pay extra for paper towels that actually get the job done.

2. Kirkland protein bars

When I first saw that Kirkland sold a variety pack of cookie dough and brownie protein bars, I was excited. As a busy working mom who sometimes needs a small meal or filling snack on the go, protein bars often fit the bill.

But Kirkland’s version was cloyingly sweet across both flavors. And the protein bars left an unpleasant aftertaste in my mouth each time I ate one.

Also, I don’t happen to love the fact that these bars are made with stevia. It was my fault for not reading the label before buying them, but I find that any form of sugar that isn’t actual sugar just doesn’t taste right or sit well with me. So needless to say, I won’t be buying these bars again anytime soon.

3. Kirkland rotisserie chicken

At a price point of $4.99, it’s hard to find a more affordable take-home meal than Kirkland rotisserie chicken. The problem? It just didn’t taste good. And this assessment is based on more than one experience.

Last year, there was a big uproar over Kirkland chicken having a chemical taste. Now in the interest of full disclosure, I don’t eat chicken, so I didn’t sample the Kirkland version myself. But my husband tried it more than once and felt that it was way too salty. And my son, who’s usually not picky about chicken, said there was something “off” about the taste compared to the rotisserie chickens I typically buy at the supermarket.

For this reason, I won’t buy Kirkland rotisserie chicken anymore. I love saving money, but it’s not worth forcing my family members to eat a meal they don’t enjoy.

You’re not stuck with Kirkland products that don’t meet your expectations

My experience with these three Kirkland products should not turn you off of the brand. If I were to make a list of all the Kirkland products I was happy with, you’d be reading a small book. So while you may want to stay away from Kirkland paper towels, protein bars, and rotisserie chicken, it pays to give the product line a chance on a whole, for the benefit of your budget.

And if you’re worried about being disappointed, Costco’s got you covered. Costco’s general policy is that it will give you a full refund for any item that doesn’t meet your expectations. And you can bet that it’ll especially stand behind its signature brand.

So if you try a given product that doesn’t work out, bring it back. And that includes food.

If you buy a Kirkland cake whose taste seems off, you can return it with a few slices missing and get your money back in full. Return policies really don’t get more reasonable than that.

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