Some decks, depending the way the cards are cut, faro better from the top down. This is true, at least for me, of the Spanish Fournier decks, but also occasionally of some American decks. So I have learned to do the faro both ways and it hasn't been extra work, but the opposite, since it makes life a little easier.
Since most good decks would take it either way, this has proved of great convenience for those cases when only a partially perfect faro is required, so I can stat at the convenient end.
Regarding the Costco Bikes, I once got a box or two and the cards seemed to have been cut with an axe... and by somebody with bad eyesight, let alone accurate measurements. I think those are untold seconds, but OK for practicing your favorite torn & restored card routine.
As to the colors, Brian, it depends on the particular run of cards. If you buy again at the same place a year later, you may like the red-backed better. The only fact we can be sure of is that the red and the blue belong to different runs.