Costco exits instore ink refilling
January 18, 2021
Will the upcoming closure of Costco instore photo departments impact on Retail Inkjet Solutions?
Costco announced the permanent closure of all their instore photo departments effective from 14 February. The instore ink Refilling, passport photos, photo restoration and the YesVideo Home Movie Transfer Services will all close permanently after Sunday, 14 February 2021. Other instore services will be available online only.
Costco has been using RIS InkCenter refill stations supplied by California based Retail Inkjet Solutions (RIS). The simple concept enabled customers to take their empty cartridges to Costco’s Photo Centre and have them cleaned, tested, and refilled while they wait only applied to original cartridges.
USA Todayreported that in an email sent to members, Costco said ” Since the introduction of camera phones and social media, the need for printing photos has steeply declined, even though the number of pictures taken continues to grow,” the email said. “After careful consideration, we have determined the continued decline of prints no longer requires on-site photo printing.”
The warehouse-style retailer currently operates more than 500 US stores out of 803 globally and e-commerce sites in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Australia.
Costco recently reported net sales of $19.14 billion (€15.86 billion) for the retail month of December, the five weeks ended 3 January 2021, an increase of 12.3% from $17.04 billion (€14.12 billion) last year.
In recent years RIS has been expanding in European markets and has instore filling stations in Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Switzerland.
In October 2020, The Recycler reported that Swiss supermarket retailer Migros Geneva announced RIS InkCenter installations at two retail locations in Switzerland. The expansion into the Swiss market with Migros followed an earlier successful InkCenter launch at Migros France in July 2020.
In 2018 RIS announced its second operating entity in Europe SAS Retail Inkjet Solutions France to refine services to European retailers helping them provide better service to instore shoppers. RIS had previously formed Retail Inkjet Solutions UK Limited in 2014 but is currently not trading.
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Costco Refill Ink - Why You Should Buy Compatible Instead
Printer manufacturing companies follow the typical ‘razor and blade business model’ in which one item (a printer) is sold at a low price to increase the sale of a complimentary item (replacement cartridge). Charging an arm and a leg for replacement printer cartridges is how printer manufacturers make the bulk of their profits.
So, even if you invest in a low-cost printer for professional use today, you may end up spending a lot more on buying ‘expensive’ replacement cartridges over the next one or two years.
Most people, who experience it first-hand and want to save on ongoing printing costs, either opt for compatible ink cartridges or have their empty ink cartridges refilled. Here in this post, we will shed light on why you should buy compatible ink cartridges instead of relying upon Costco ink refills.
Costco Ink Refills Are Susceptible to Leakage and Color Bleeding
An inkjet printer typically delivers about 5,000 dots per second onto the substrate through its microscopic nozzles. The print quality suffers if the ink used to refill a cartridge is not of quality comparable to OEM ink cartridges.
Many printer users, who take the Costco refill route to save on printing costs, end up with ink leakages and color bleeding in prints.
At times, ink leakages can even damage the print head, one of the most expensive inkjet printer consumables.
In case a refilled ink cartridge damages your printer, you may also incur out of pocket expenses on printer repairs. Manufacturers cannot stop you from using ink refills but product warranties do not cover damages caused by faulty consumables.
Ink Refills are not carried Out in ISO-certified Facilities
Inkjet cartridge refills at a Costco retail outlet or a local office supplies store are not carried out in ISO-certified facilities or as per OEM-specifications.
In most places where ink refills are carried out, the people handling used OEM cartridges are not technicians or engineers. This is the reason why a vast majority of people stop refilling ink cartridges once they’re disappointed with results.
Compatible ink cartridges are designed to work just like original-brand ink cartridges. Reputed third-party sellers manufacture compatible printer cartridges in a controlled environment; the manufacturing is carried out by trained technicians and overseen by experienced engineers in ISO-certified facilities.
When compatible cartridges are made strictly according to the OEM specifications, you can be assured of the fact that there won’t be any leakages or quality issues.
Keep in mind that all compatible ink cartridges are not the same. So, when you search for high-quality compatible inks for HP, Brother, Epson, or Canon printers, be sure to shop with a reliable seller.
Printer Errors Are Highly Likely If You Use Refilled Ink Cartridges
An inkjet printer rejecting or failing to recognize refilled inkjet cartridges is a common occurrence.
When such errors come around, you cannot simply close them. In most cases, you won’t be able to use the printer. Your printer will refuse to print even if one of the color ink cartridges refilled at Costco is not recognized by your printer.
Such errors are more likely if
- The ink is of poor quality
- The magnetic chip on an empty cartridge has not been reset
- A cartridge component gets damaged during refilling
- There is ink leakage
You are far less likely to encounter such problems with compatible ink cartridges. It is also easier to troubleshoot and fix issues concerning compatible cartridges as they are engineered to work with specific printer models.
Printer manufactures do try their level best to discourage the use of low-cost compatible inks by pushing firmware updates from time to time but there are ways to fix such problems.
You can, for instance, turn off firmware updates for an Epson printer to continue using compatible inks without a hiccup.
You Can Recycle the Empties and Get a Discount off a Fresh Cartridge Purchase
If you have used OEM cartridges, it is advisable to have them recycled instead of getting them refilled at Costco or a local office supplies store. Here at InkjetsClub, we offer a 10% discount on your next purchase each time you recycle printer cartridges with us.
High-quality compatible ink cartridges, backed by guarantees, are at least 20% cheaper than their OEM counterparts.
If you recycle used ink cartridges and buy compatible printer inks, you stand to save just around the same amount of money as you would with Costco ink refills. But with compatible ink cartridges, there are no risks involved.
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9 items you should never buy at Costco — and where to buy them instead
The INSIDER Summary:
- Costco is great for buying bulk, but you won't find the cheapest deals on everything there.
- If you're stocking up on books try Amazon instead.
- Drug stores like Rite Aid might actually have better deals on toothpaste than Costco does.
Don’t get me wrong — I love Costco (and their free samples).
But I also love saving money and finding the best deals known to (wo)mankind.
Here’s a list of things you should never buy at Costco and where to get them for less:
1. Don’t buy laundry detergent at Costco — buy it at Walgreens instead.
With coupons in-hand, Kirkland-brand laundry detergent will never be the best deal you can find.
Instead, use the Krazy Coupon Lady app to find the best laundry detergent deals, and stock up when you find a red-hot deal. Recently, we found OxiClean for only $0.99!
- Walgreens: $0.99 ($0.03 per load)
- Costco: $14.49 ($0.115 per load)
2. Don’t buy books at Costco — buy them from Amazon instead.
At the very least, use the Amazon app to price check books before buying them at Costco to make sure you aren’t missing a better deal on Amazon.
Here are some examples of titles I found to be much cheaper when I used the app to price check Costco:
Share: Delicious and Surprising Recipes to Pass Around Your Table by Chris Santos
Digital Book: $19.99
Ditch the Wheat by Carol Lovett
Digital Book: $9.99
3. Don’t buy character backpacks from Costco — order them from Hollar instead.
Keep on walkin’ past the Costco backpacks, and check out the selection at Hollar instead. You’ll easily save $4.00-$9.00 each.
- Hollar: $5.00-$10.00
- Costco: $13.99
4. Don’t buy printer ink at Costco — buy it from Amazon instead.
Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re getting a greater value based on size, because Amazon sells the same ink as Costco, only much cheaper.
- Amazon: $44.08 ($22.04 per cartridge)
- Costco: $58.99 ($29.50 per cartridge)
5. Don’t buy razors at Costco — buy them at CVS or Target instead.
Instead of buying bulk razors from Costco, you’re much better off pairing a Target or drugstore promo with a manufacturer’s coupon.
Women’s Gillette Venus disposable razors, even with a $5.00 store coupon, are still more expensive than deals we see with coupons at Target or a drugstore.
- CVS: $8.99 ($0.99 each)
- Costco: $24.99 ($1.43 each)
6. Don’t buy toothpaste at Costco — buy it at drugstores like Rite Aid instead.
Buying toothpaste in bulk may seem like a good idea, but it’s actually cheaper (and possibly even free) if you buy it with coupons.
Best part? If you want to buy it in bulk, simply stock up when there’s a six-month stock-up price on it.
- Rite Aid: FREE
- Costco: $12.99 ($0.41 per ounce)
Keep on the lookout through our KCL app for the hottest deals, and take advantage of all the toothpaste coupons we have.
7. Don’t buy Costco printer paper — buy it for $0.01 a ream at Staples
This is hands-down the best deal you can get on printer paper.
Each year, Staples runs a few sales on printer paper for a penny per ream.
- Staples: $0.01 per ream
- Costco: $6.99 per ream 800 ct ($0.009 per sheet)
8. Don’t buy body wash at Costco — buy it at Target instead.
Brands like Dove and Olay can be a tad bit pricey when you buy them in bulk.
Instead, head to Target for the best deals and biggest savings. (Drugstores like Rite Aid, Walgreens or CVS are good bets too!)
Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand body wash is $4.99, so why not by name-brand for less?
- Target: $5.49 ($1.74 each)
- Costco: $14.99 ($4.99 each)
Check out all of our body wash coupons we found.
9. Don’t buy brand-name cereal at Costco — buy it at Target instead.
Save on the most important meal of the day by stacking cereal coupons with store promotions to score boxes of name-brand cereal for under $1.25 at Target!
- Target: $1.04 ($0.06 per ounce)
- Costco: $6.50 ($0.14 per ounce)
Bonus: Skip buying olive oil from Costco and buy Great Value brand from Walmart instead.
It’s the same scenario in every household: You think you use enough cooking oil to buy the Titanic size from Costco.
In reality, you most likely won’t use it all before it expires six months after you open it.
Buy smaller bottles like the Great Value brand from Walmart (which is the same cost per ounce) — and you’ll actually use it all while it’s still good.
- Great Value 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 51 oz: $7.98 ($0.156 per ounce)
- Kirkland Signature Pure Olive Oil 3 Liter, 2-pack: $31.69 ($0.156 per ounce)
UP NEXT: 15 Major Retailers’ Best-Kept Secrets, Exposed
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