Saturday, 30 July 2011

collie goes to costco

costco opened in sydney last weekend, literally creating front page news and stopping traffic.
all reports say that it's much cheaper than the big two supermarkets, or any other australian supermarket for that matter so off we went this afternoon for a sticky beak.

here's what i bought:

  • huge bag of salad $5 this was only a tiny bit more money for double the quantity i would get if buying the same thing elsewhere. it gets a tick.

  • 60 pack of toilet rolls $22 the toilet paper was worse quality than i would usually get and cost less but i think i could get a similar deal in the local shops if they had a good special on.

  • 3 pack of sensodyne toothpaste $20. i saved about 30% on this, even compared to the very best specials. another tick.

  • 1kg strawberries $9 this time of year 1kg of strawberries would be closer to $15 but i wouldnt buy more than a $4 punnet, so on this one costco changed the economics of the whole deal.

  • 2.5kg 90% lean beef mince (ground beef) $25. great price for top quality, now we will see what kind of eating it makes.

  • huge bag of chips $6 this one was a request from a chip addicted daughter, normally she would get the much smaller $2 pack. i count this as a loss.

  • roti, pack of 30 $10 exactly the same product at the same price i would pay locally.

  • 2 big jars of moccona coffee $30 slightly cheaper than the same product on a super awesome special. a win for me.

  • big jar of organic peanut butter $5 a much better product than i usually get at a slightly higher price.

  • 2 gourmet baguette $7 fantastic bread that was worth the money but i wouldnt normally buy it.

  • large jar of biscuits $3 pretty standard product and price, i might have saved $1 or $1.50

so, if i factor in the $60 annual membership fee, the cost of petrol to make a 90 minute return trip, the time, the crowds and the impulse buys going to costco is probably not profitable so far.

i was amazed to see how many people were buying huge trays of pastries and while i love a nice pastry i dont consider them to be something you buy in boxes of 20. it's one of those situations where the retailer has changed the economics of the purchase in their favour. who needs 20 pastries for $15 ? (or whatever the deal was) unless one happens to be hosting a big breakfast it's just too much of the wrong food.

the massive big banana bread for $16 was the same. i was dying to buy that banana bread, i could just taste it toasted and buttered and so could the girls but when in the past have i ever bought $16 worth of what is essentially cake? only for birthdays, thats when.

liam drew my attention to the possibility of extra waste which exists when people buy in bulk and dont eat the food before the due date, another pitfall to watch. he also pointed out the blank faces of many shoppers, caused by the narcotising effects of mindless consumption?

and the big test: will i be back? yes i will. i still need to justify my $60 membership and there are some great deals to be had. if i go in there with the idea that it's all a bargain i will lose big time but if i go in there with some caution and some savvy i can probably save some dosh and have a few unaccustomed luxuries. i just need to remember that "nothing is cheap if you dont want it."


  1. The more you go, the more it makes sense (and cents). The math doesn't work for a single guy (seriously, that much t-paper would last me forever) but I'm guessing does pencil out for a bigger family.

  2. coffee you just should drop altogether

  3. It just opened here too. We are dubious about having to pay the $60 membership and are waiting for the crowds to ease. And again, it is miles away from our normal routes. We will see.

  4. hey bob!
    it might pencil out if i can do it another few times!

    wash your mouth out!

    the more i think about it the more i'm pretty sure it's not ideal for a small household but you need to take a look, it's an education all of its own :)

  5. Hard to compare those prices with ours because I don't know the exact sizes of what you're buying, but it still sounds like our supermarkets are a lot cheaper even than Costco. I don't know of any supermarket with a membership fee either! And yes, where's the saving on bulk packs if you never use half of what's in them or you go past the use-by date?

  6. yeah nick, i was lazy about finding sizes and i figure most people wouldnt be bothered to go and compare it anyhow!

    in this house its not a case of not using the stuff but of just eating it because its there, which is not economical.

    what i hear is the UK is pretty pricey....

  7. Never been in one, or any other big box store. Never saw much point in it all and it always is the same thing part me from money by selling me stuff i will have to much of.

  8. Ah interesting Kyles. I thought I'd wait for the fuss to die down but will give it a go eventually.

  9. I have Annie or my mom take me every two months or so (they both have memberships). I should probably offer to pay some of their membership fees, thanks for reminding me!

    I like it for things like shampoo and cleaning stuff, socks & underwear for Liam, lightbulbs, stuff like that. Not so much the food as we don't need to keep around such large quantities for just two of us.

    Also my dad will buy the super packs of paper towels and the like and then sell them to us at cost and that's a savings for everyone.

  10. Excellent analysis! As Meg said, it's great for certain things and by now, finally, I've sussed out exactly what those things are, so it has at last become very cost effective. And I share a membership w my mom.

  11. I can NEVER make it out of Costco without spending at least $100. LIke you said, it is always crowded and there are LONG lines. Costco is the epitamy of American shopping: tons of stuff at a discount...most of it crappy quality. Although, Costco has been making a move toward "green" products lately because of consumer demand. Anyway, who really does need 20 pastries???

  12. 20 donuts yes, 20 pastries no.

  13. "Keep your lives free from the love of money,and be satisfied with what you have."

    Letter to the Hebrews 13:5. New Testament.

    Kylie's visit to Cosco was simply to assuage a certain curiosity, not to spend as a therapy by the words I read

  14. was that body shape tiraid on snowbrush<><><>AIMED AT ME????????YOU ARE THE MOST BEAUTIFULLY CREATURE ALIVE

  15. and you, putzy are the biggest flirt ever put on this earth!

    the tirade was mostly aimed at women


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