Why does Costco not stock hearing aids in its warehouses?

A friend complained to me that after he ordered a pair of hearing aids he was told to come back in two weeks for the fitting. He asked me why they did not have them in stock, so he could get them fitted much sooner, if not the same day.

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I doubt very much having every hearing aid thats made, even the most popular in stock, would be very practical. Those things are expensive. Plus many have to be custom made although I’m well past that stage so I don’t know.

The HIS at Costco who tested, fitted me (incredible knowledgeable and helpful) was a bit apologetic when I did the same thing. Of the five brands they carry are the KS_x line. Only RIC but 4 receiver levels times 5 colors

The other four brand come in (usually five styles - BTE, RIC, ITE, IC, CIC (many names for these four) then with 4 power levels, then different colors, battery sizes. Inventory gets out of control, some don’t sell, some sell out quickly. Even for a large outlet like Costco, that is a small volume, expensive product.

Plus almost all others, audiology clinics, hearing instrument centers, do the same, a few demos, very rarely stock when someone does not pick up their HAs.

What they do allows them to retain the very low pricing, since that keeps overhead costs low, and a reasonable profit margin.

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By not stocking HAs it eliminates chances of theft. Also avoids having outdated aids and accessories that might become unsellable due to the introduction of newer models.

For them to offer the greatest value to clients, this is the model they have chosen.

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Might be a warranty issue as well as an inventory one.

Just FWIW holding any stock is in effect ‘dead money’ - adds to the overall cost of the delivery of your HA.

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I am confident it comes down to minimizing unsold inventory. Costco is a master at inventory management.

Save for jerks hoarding toilet paper, they can’t seem to manage past that right now.

I’m curious, does anybody carry a big stock of hearing aids? My limited experience is that they always have to be ordered.

Not the VA even. When I am getting new hearing aids, I normally have to wait a month to get them

My aud seems to be able to get anything from Phonak in a few days.

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I think getting product in a few days is true from most HA distributors. I sent to three different clinics before Costco and stated a few days to one week to get product when I asked, There were too many reasons I was not satisfied with any of them.

The Costco H.I.S. explained he would have them in a few days, but Costco has a specific way the set appoints, 4 hours to test, 4 hours first fit, 1 hour for some adjustments early in HA buying cycle, then most adjustment appointments are 30 minute increments.

That means they like to set a testing / purchase appointment once every couple weeks, A first fit appointment every couple weeks, with adjustment appointments spaced into the days of the week. I do not know if they do 4 hour test or 4 hour first fit appointments more than once a day, but when one understands the times and how they vary, it becomes clearer.

The HA center has a small desk are with seating for two with two computers, but the walls have multiple schedules pinned up along the small wall above that area, Most are filled but some are blank, so it is an ongoing process.

My first testing appointment took six weeks from the time I contacted them, so they have to fit new customers in as well as existing customers, now I actually have an appointment about once every 6-9 months.

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My experience over the years has been a week to 10 to get hearing aids I ordered. I think I would be a little skeptical if I told him the aids I wanted and he immediately pulled them out of a hat.

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I was also curious about why I had to wait to get my Kirkland hearing aids. I was told that it was partly about not stocking them in the store, but even more about the limited times available for fittings. They don’t just hand them to you and say “Here ya go”. They program them to your particular needs,tweak them, make sure you have the best tips,etc. The process actually takes quite a while.
Let me assure everyone that the wait is well worth it. These are life changers!

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