The Costco Virgins

When my daughter/best friend/shopper extraordinaire decided to make her maiden voyage to Costco in Ringwood, I volunteered to go with her.  She was about to cater for a large party on the weekend, so a foray seemed like a wise tactic. I  donned my sensible walking shoes in readiness for the mission. I added one smallish basket to the car boot, and Rachael packed a few cold freezer bags.  Nothing could have prepared us for the shopping overload that was about to occur.

Domaine Chandon, $22.00
Domaine Chandon, $22.00. Lovely bubbly from the Yarra Valley.
Crab Claw meat, $9.95
Crab Claw meat, $9.95 a tub. Mini Crab quiches?
Adelaide Hills Brie. $11.95
Adelaide Hills Brie. $11.95
Lots of blinis- just add smoked salmon, mascapone, dill.
Lots of blinis- just add smoked salmon, mascapone, dill.
Perffect for making our own slab of gravlas. tasmanian salmon fillet.
Perfect for making our own slab of gravlax. Tasmanian salmon fillet.

My son, her brother, sent plenty of amusing texts along the way about buying toilet rolls in bulk, prompting plenty of jokes about gastro and pausing for the obligatory photo shoot in front of the 48 roll packets ($20.00). Apparently everyone succumbs to these.

Rachael and the gastro pack!
Rachael and the gastro pack!

There were some wonderful bargains to tempt us and plenty of deviation from the list. What list? Rachael forgot to bring her spreadsheet which covered all the elements of the party, so $400 later, and she still hadn’t acquired all the party ingredients yet managed to fill the car boot just the same. That’s the problem with Costco.

Large 500gr tubs of mascapone at a bargain price.
Large 500 gr tubs of mascapone at around $6.00 Perfect for a big Tiramisu.

We spent four hours in the place, and only left because our trolley was full, our legs and backs were aching and we were dehydrated and slightly deranged. A desperate phone call was made to Rachael’s in-laws to organise a kindergarten and school pick-up as Costco had hijacked our day.

I'm trapped in Costco, please pick up my children.
I’m trapped in Costco, can you please pick up my children?

Rachael is a funny girl. She found a handy party pack of plastic wine glasses for $12.69 which contained 99 pieces. ” Why 99 pieces? Just to f.. with your head?  And what’s with the random price?” Other jokes were made about buying sanitary products in lots of 200, but we won’t go there. Only these outrageous little distractions kept us sane in this shrine to American commerce. That, and singing the old song Moscow, with Costco thrown into the chorus lines. Next time we might wear our Eurovision costumes and carry a large water bottle to stay level headed.

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The amusing women on the exit gate commented on the length of our stay and I promised never to come back ever again. They laughed loudly, knowing that I probably would.

Blue Mussels, 2 kilos for $9.95
Blue local Mussels, 2 kilo for $9.95

The Fine Print. Rachael paid a $60 annual membership fee to shop here. There were some bargains in the deli section but these reduced prices are offset by the ‘unauthorised’ purchases that most people will make. Most of the pre-packaged bulk food items would probably taste ‘industrial’, and these turn up on many a cheap cafe menu, I suspect. Although it was a fun day out, it is a bit like Ikea, overwhelming and just too big.

Revisit the Moscow tune here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDnLIYd0hZY



36 thoughts on “The Costco Virgins”

  1. I haven’t attempted Cosco yet. I think I would have to invest in mouse proof storage unit for excessive bog roll, preferred breaky cereal, vegemite and other non-perishables. Would I save? I doubt it.

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  2. rach and I found some treasure. It is a hall of temptation. But then I was so tired on my return, I dropped my favourite camera on the floor and the broke the lens. A message? And did you like the song plant Mick?

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  3. That was an outstanding introduction to Costco! I have never been to one, but have been to a place in the USA called Sam’s Club, which is operated much the same. I have never cooked in the kind of quantities that would make that sort of shopping useful, and these days am very sensitive to quality of food as well. I have heard a few tales of some very good quality purchases from Costco, however. Thank you for sharing that experience!!

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    1. The fish and deli sections were particularly appealing., Ardys. The frozen stuff looked a bit ordinary. As I cook from scratch as my constitution demands it now, most of the stuff was too industrial, But I did get a longed for cook book, a lovely granite cheese platter, a monster bag of Aussie rice at low cost, and a tasty Japanese seaweed condiment to die for, as well as the lovely Brie and some glamourous post it notes!!! And now I must put my feet up!!!

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  4. $400 later and we still have no dog food…

    Look forward to your write up when you go car stereo shopping at Super Cheap Au….

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    1. So you have two identities now? I rather liked “That Tool in the Tool Box” but Mr Gasst Row fits well with this post and let’s hope you don’t get any on Saturday night. No dog food- no room in the trolley. I have just been invited to that shop by Mr T. I will be blindfolded- there will be no post on it.

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  5. I’ve never been to Costco, nor to Ikea. I have visions of running around throwing must-have stuff into a trolley then going it’s all too hard and leaving empty handed which happens to me in the smaller big stores. Those marketers & merchandisers are sneaky-clever people! Now I even avoid the large shopping centres as like your experience with Costco, hours are lost in their vast halls of consumerism. I was tempted by the deli stuff selections and the Chandon 🙂

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  6. Costco does demand considerable self control. They have really upgraded the offerings in the last few years though, lots more organic things and fresh food. My problem is that much of the package sizes are huge and much of it goes to waste, which I hate. I’ve been better about sticking to a list, or I take my son along who has no patience with “window” shopping…1, 2, 3 and we are done!

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  7. I’m very familiar with Costco! Yes, it is a zoo….I try very hard to stay away, or go when I know most people are at work. But do I buy much? No, only the EVOO, roasted chicken, and maybe cheese. I don’t get tempted….I just look for a way of escape!

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  8. Very interesting and highly entertaining Francesca! It must be the country bumpkin coming out in me but I find these mega-stores incredibly overwhelming. But, I would be very keen on the cheese, deli items and alcohol. 4 hours is a long time in one store! I look forward to hearing about your next shopping venture!

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  9. Dear Lady Jane, I am also a bit on the country side, so the whole thing was overwhelming. Having an adult daughter just made it so much more outrageous and a lot of fun. The cheese was good, and the alcohol too- but, in the end, I would rather shop at smaller local markets and get the real thing. Four hours is ridiculous – what on earth possessed us?

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