I first wrote about Costco way back in August 2009, but I wasn’t brave enough to be part of the first rush of people to visit. But after the crush of early crowds died down, I finally got around to seeing first hand whether the fuss is justified. It’s not as if I haven’t been to one of these before; on a trip to Canada many years ago I visited a similar monstrosity, and brought back a box of Hershey’s Cookies and Cream chocolate bars that I doled out to my friends. It might be a revelation for Australia, but it’s nothing on what they’ve got over across the Pacific.
The selection was underwhelming, although it would be unfair to compare it to the American versions – their plethora of choice and hyperconsumption is not an ideal we should be aspiring to. Things that I found cheap:
- Junk food. Oh my lord, you can buy this stuff for mere cents per kilo. I walked away with no less than a 1.8Kg tub of Jelly Belly jellybeans, a kilo bag of Bhuja Mix, enough breath mints to undo the effects of eating out at Korean restaurant for a year, and 2 massive bags of Rice Crackers.
- Frozen goods. Bacon shortcuts that cost about $15+ a kilo at the supermarkets went for about $10 a kilo, and likewise cheese, dim sims, chips, ice cream, etc.
Things that are about the same as, or worse than, supermarkets:
- Fresh food. Loaves of Helgas bread worked out to be $3.50 per loaf, which is more expensive that at the supermarkets, which normally sell them for $6.50 for 2 (and often less, at $5 or $6) every other week. Meat is cheaper at the butchers in a busy area, say, the Chinese side in Eastwood and fruit and veg were pretty ordinary as well.
- Gadgets. The selection of electronics and their prices were underwhelming.
On that pet topic of mine: their kitchen paper towels are pretty excellent – good, tough sheets that are absorbent and can even withstand having the water wrung out of them. Their bathroom tissue, on the other hand, is atrocious. The Kirkland 2-ply tissues are thin and tear easily.
In saying I couldn’t find much to buy, I still managed to drop over $200 there, so they must be doing something right. It’s not a place I’d go to do my shopping regularly though – if only for the sake of my waistline. Maybe once or twice a year or on special occasions.
Photo credit: Bidgee