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Companies that don’t suck

It seems like for every one awesome company there are about 50 bazillion horrible ones. I personally believe in the power of voting with your dollar. If a company sucks, I wont shop there. If a company is amazing, I become a loyal customer. Pretty straightforward if you ask me. Today, I figured I’d share with you the businesses I heart the most.

Am I the only person out there that feels like a kid in a candy store when you enter Costco? Seriously, it’s the best place on earth. They have gadgets for the guys, clothes and jewelry for the ladies, and toys/books for the kiddos. Unlike most shopping trips, everyone looks forward to Costco…especially on Sunday when they offer a million different free samples. I think I ate about 20 of the chicken teriyaki samplers they were passing out last weekend…shhhh, don’t tell on me 🙂

Uh oh, are you noticing a trend here? Both Costco and REI were started in Seattle, WA (representin’ the Pacific Northwest like a boss). Now REI is definitely not as cheap as some of its competitors, but it’s definitely the best. Their return policy is incredible and their customer service is second to none. I’m always down to pay a little more up front if it means I’m going to get great service down the road. Do they have REIs in your area?

I swear I’m not doing this on purpose, but yes another Seattle based business tops my list. While I definitely don’t worship Nordies like Girl Ninja does, I totally understand why she shops there. The staff is helpful and the clothes are of highest quality. I only shop at Nordstrom once a year (on my birthday), but the clothes I get from there always seem to be my favorite. Like REI and Costco, Nordstrom also has an incredible return policy. No receipt? No problem!

While I’m not lucky enough to be a member of USAA (have to be in the military or the offspring of a vet to qualify), I’ve heard nothing but good things. They pride themselves on serving their members, and serve their members they do. Because of their sound business principles, they’ve weathered the economic storm and are as popular as ever. Places like Bank of America, can’t say the same. You know why? ‘Cause Bank of America sucks. USAA doesn’t.

I’m tempted to keep going, but I should probably stop with these four because they really are in a league of their own. My runners up would be Amazon (yet another Seattle company), Target (not as great as Costco, but miles ahead of Wal-mart), and the non profit Invisible Children (they’re just cool dudes doing cool things). What are some of your favorite businesses? What makes them so special to you? Where will you NEVER shop again? Do you believe in the power of voting with your dollar?



  1. Dude, I’m all about Amazon. In fact, I just started a blog all about Amazon last week. Amazon Prime is the greatest thing ever. Free 2 day shipping? Yes please!

    And my Kindle is one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. Go #teamamazon!

    I also love Apple. I just bought my first Mac (a MacBook Air) a few months ago and it’s about a bajillion times better than any other computer I’ve ever used.

  2. For investing, Vanguard. With their philosophy of index-based funds, they have the lowest expense ratios across the board, and keeping your fees low is an essential predictor of investing success.

  3. You ask “Do you believe in the power of voting with your dollar?”
    I have some stores that are favorites (Kohls and Target) and stores I must be very, very, very hard pressed to shop in (Walmart and Walmart) because simply, I do not feel they value my dollar. I work hard for it. They spend bajillions trying to get it from me so obviously they want it. This tells me that as the consumer, the power of having that dollar and then giving it to someone else is with me. You don’t have to kiss my behind, but when I come back to you with a problem, don’t treat me as if I’m the icky gooey stuff you stepped in that won’t scrape off the bottom of your shoe. I appreciate quality and a good value but appreciate your service more. I’ve been known to spend more (time and money) based on customer service.

  4. I love Costco, REI and Nordstrom! I can’t say anything about USAA as well since I’m not a member. All have great customer service. Most recently, we bought Gu (runners fuel) from REI that opened while shipping. Not only did they refund the packet that opened but they also gave us a 20% off coupon!! Great customer service trumps price any day!

  5. I love Jet Blue. Their fares are great, their policies are fair, and their customer service is awesome. I have never had a bad incident with them. I fly them every time! I rave about Jet Blue to friends and people who ask.

    I also like Goodwill. Strange to say, but they provide a great service, at my local Goodwill they’re friendly and willing to help/bargain if you think something is overpriced. I feel good shopping there.

  6. I love me some Amazon. I know they don’t have a physical store, but they have everything I could ever want in an online store and great reviews on any product, so I know if I’m making the right choice. Amazon FTW!

  7. Love, love, LOVE USAA! I married a Marine, so now all of our insurance is through USAA, as are our personal checking accounts. Unfortunately, I don’t live in the land of Costco, but we do have a Sam’s Club, which is not bad. Not as great as Costco from what I’ve heard, but I’ll take what I can get. Bed, Bath and Beyond is pretty great. They have an AWESOME return policy. A friend of mine had broken his coffee pot, and he brought it into the store with him to try and find one similar to it. While he was broswing, an employee asked him if he had purchased the coffee pot at BB&B in the first place, and when he said yes, they said they would replace it – for free! He didn’t need the receipt, the box – nothing! So last time I was in the store, I asked them if I could exchange the crockpot we got for our wedding last year (I used it once, and the inside of it looks like the finish on the ceramic is gone now is several spots – I don’t think that’s normal…..) The lady told me to bring it in and they would switch it out for a new one! Now that’s customer service!

  8. I also LOVE USAA! My husband works there, and they treat their employees as well as their customers! Also, they opened up banking a few years ago so anyone can use it (you still have to qualify for insurance and other services). They have amazing service, and they refund your ATM fees!

    • I’m fairly certain that they opened up certain types of life insurance policies to non-military families recently.

  9. Regarding USAA… you can become a member, you just cannot buy insurance products. You can still get checking/savings/life insurance.

    I am a huge fan of USAA and have personally been a member for many years.

  10. REI and Nordstrom are up there for me too. Excellent customer service, and they never give me a scowl when I order stuff online and return several things in store (I really prefer shopping this way, but a lot of stores have snooty workers who act like I’m a big inconvenience)

    I can’t really think of any other chains. Oh! Trader Joe’s. And several local stores too.

  11. Love my locally-owned hardware store that’s close enough for me to walk. There’s nothing you ask they can’t answer. Yeah, you spend a few cents more than the big stores, but worth every penny.

  12. I heart Costco! I worked at their Canadian HO about 20 yrs. ago (back when it was Price Club), and it was awesome!! Once the buyers were done with the free candy/chocolate/food samples, they’d give it to us vultures! We buy the Starbucks unground coffee at Costco… a 1 lb bag at a Starbucks location costs us $15.90 CDN; the 2.5 lbs bag at Costco is $20.99 CDN and lasts us about 5 or 6 weeks… a 1 lb bag lasts only 10 days! Hubby and I have a super-sexy Cuisinart Coffee Machine that grinds the coffee… BEST sound in the morning! My sister and I sometimes swing by Costco for lunch (for the free samples and inexpensive hot bar items).

    We’ve actually got Target coming to our area in Southern Ontarion shortly; gotta admit, I’m kind of excited to see what kind of competition it’ll give the Wal-Mart that opened up the street about 3 years ago.

    I can’t say there’s not a place I won’t shop, but I’m gonna shop where I can get the most bang for my buck.

  13. I agree with everyone’s inclusion of Amazon, and also the Bed Bath & Beyond comment (great coupons + return policy, we returned sheets we had bought a year prior and got torn!). I also love Target’s easy returns, although a lot of the people who work there look like they’re about to stab themselves just for some excitement.

    And I just wanted to laugh at how someone mentioned Apple. I own a lot of Apple products, I’ll fully admit, but geeze they’re a terrible, terrible company in regards to their business practices.

  14. I’m a big fan of REI too! Definitely worth the extra money. I’m not a big fan of Arco gas (or any place that makes you pay $0.45 to use a debt/credit card. Really? Not worth the hassle.

  15. Another thumbs up for REI – I’ve returned shoes that have been worn to death but cracked unacceptably across the soles (both shoes!) and they gave me my money back, no questions asked. I didn’t even have my receipt, but they track your purchases if you’re a member so did the return that way.

    Now that USAA’s basic banking services are available to everyone, you should let your readers know!

    My other favorite company is the locally-owned grocery store that’s been in my neighborhood for 100+ years. It’s a little more expensive but it’s worth it. I can get my meat from butchers, not from scary styrofoam packages!

  16. Love Costco. Probably one of my faves as well, along with Target. I’m from San Antonio, Texas and also love HEB – our grocery chain, which has recently expanded to PLUS stores (to compete with the Walmarts).

    I want to PUNCH Hobby Lobby and WalMart in the FACE. A. Hobby Lobby customer services SUCKS and it seems at lunch hours and weekends, they can only operate one register. B. WalMart – in my area – attracts trashy, rude people that are also jerks. My blood pressure rises just TALKING about these two stores.

  17. I love Costco and Norstrom and a large part of that is because of the superior customer service…and Costco has those awesome food samples…

  18. I LOVE Nordstrom. LOVE.

    A lesser-kown credit union that used to be only for military that I LOVE is Pentagon Federal Credit Union. When you join, if you’re not a military member, you have to make a one-time $25 (tax-deductible) donation to a non-profit that benefits military families (I want to say it’s called the National Military Family Association, but I can’t remember exactly – then you get all their great perks! I refinanced my car into a 2.99% interest rate with PenFed. Right now they’re offering car loans at 2.49% and their customer service is FANTASTIC.

    If you ever need a car loan – or any other type of financial service – go PenFed.

  19. I have never been to Costco. There is one in town, but I have been a Sam’s Club member for years. I will have to check out the hype 🙂 I am on board with and USAA. Nothing but good experiences. It is really sad to say I have had more bad experiences than I have had good ones. I think most of the time we settle for mediocrity too often. I am sure many times we even tip for mediocre service. It truly is awesome to come into contact with a company that will bend over backwards for its customers.


    angrymillionaire dot com

  20. I rent cameras and lenses sometimes when we travel. I’ve rented a couple times before from LensRental and they’ve always been good. This past time there was a problem with my order and they went above and beyond to fix it. Even though they fixed the problem it was still kind of a hassle and I emailed them to complain. Literally within two minutes of writing them (on a Sunday,nonetheless!) they responded offering my money back. I will one hundred percent vote with my dollar and go with them again.

  21. I love Costco and Target! Good quality products at very affordable prices. The sales staff are also great and very helpful. What else can you ask for?

  22. Telus Mobility is an amazing cell phone company. I moved to an isolated community where they don’t have any kiosks/stores/whatever. Because I’m staying with them and not moving to a more convenient plan with a local company, they knocked my blackberry bill down to 40 a month with everything i want and need. LOVE THEM.

  23. I always loved shopping at Target, but I also had the chance to work there (part time, so no benefits) a few years ago, and it was probably my favorite retail experience as an employee. Maybe my store just had good staff, but I felt they tried to keep employees happy while providing us what we needed to do our jobs, but at the same time, no one left at night until the store was in excellent shape.

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