Costco

expat issues, food, Sydney 7 Replies

You know that scene in The Hangover where the guys wake up and there’s insane stuff all over the room, the chair is on fire, and there’s a tiger in the bathroom …?

I felt a little like that this morning when I woke up and there was a restaurant sized tub of Greek yogurt and 1kg bucket of hummus in the fridge, a flat of Cherry Coke (what? I hardly even drink soda), and a giant pyramid of toilet paper on top of my washing machine.

And then I remembered our giddy first trip to Costco yesterday.

We have long been jealous of Melbourne because they have a Costco, so the opening of a new store in Sydney was a major event in the American expat community. Not only does it bring back the mega store shopping feelings of home (good or bad, it feels the same), but Costco also carries a number of American items that have currently been un or under-available here.

The store opened last Thursday, and Florida Girl in Sydney has written a great post about opening day.

We’d been planning on going for opening, but we ended up taking a little road trip, instead, so didn’t end up gracing Costco with our presence until Monday. I was so glad, because even 5 days after opening, the place was a zoo. It was a feat of daring to find a parking space, and as we entered, a corp of staff sternly directed traffic (which Partner-in-Crime noted with amusement was gearing towards the right side of the “road”).

The line for membership sign up (there was another equally as long line for card collection)

We’d purchased our membership online some time ago, and bully for us because we were given the option to forego the long line and pick up our cards later by just flashing the receipt on P-i-C’s iphone.

Inside, things were busy, but orderly. And I took to filling up the cart post-haste. 
We stopped first in the wine/liquor section, which had a pretty interesting selection, though much less “bargain basement” than you’d imagine. Still, we were happy with giant bottle of Yellow Tail for $12, which is comparable to American prices. Funnily enough, P-i-C and I both drank Yellow Tail in the States, but never buy it here because it is just as expensive as any other Australian wine.
Onward into the madness, we took our time (we had no choice but to be patient with the crowds) and toured up and down each aisle.
I was happy to see name brand Q-tips, which are a rarity here, though I think it will be years before I make it through the three boxes I had to buy. Contact solution was a steal. I skipped the other health and beauty products, but there was lots and lots of soap and shampoo that seemed to be a pretty good deal.
Of course, I was really in it for the food, and I already had a good idea of what I wanted. …
There was a woman handing out samples of American cheese, which made my heart skip about 10 beats. Apparently, people were going crazy for it, and she said she could hardly keep up with people wanting to try it (any sort of orange colored cheese hardly exists here – very rare to find). I tasted a piece, and them remembered that American cheese is actually pretty disgusting. Every once in awhile, I really want it for a grilled cheese sandwich, but was I really going to eat 5 pounds of it? (Literally, 5 pounds). I collected my senses, and went in for an even better option …
(Orange cheese, orange cheese, orange cheese!!!)
As we went through the store, we loaded up on staples like orange juice, the aforementioned yogurt, which was an amazing price, toilet paper, etc., etc., etc. 
I’ve gotten rather picky about what kinds of household cleaners I keep around, but I did get sentimental when I saw Febreeze – 
We decided that the meat was generally not much of a deal, but the bread was exceptionally well priced. And there was a good veggie section, where we picked up a bunch of produce (but had to be careful not to get more than we’d actually eat, so it doesn’t go bad).
Oh, my very favorite find …
… two dozen mix (pick any two varieties) for $10. I had one of the multigrain bagels for breakfast this morning, and it was delicious.
Of course, the joke I heard over and over from Americans was … “Australian Costco?” Are they going to have giant tubs of Vegemite?” To answer that question – 
Yes.
On the way out, we stopped at the food stand and bought a pizza for dinner. It was so very familiar!
Only difference was the meat pies!
Next time we go, we’ll reign ourselves in to save the morning-after achey feeling, but as a special event, losing our minds at the Costco almost-opening was like an expat holiday. A holiday that demands every inch of closet space in my house.

7 thoughts on “Costco

  1. Jennie

    Ahh I’m so jealous!! Adelaide is supposedly getting a Costco in the future, but who knows when. I was actually looking for Febreze the other day (unsuccessfully) and then figured they just don’t have it here.

  2. C. In Oz

    LilD – Sure thing – this post was at yours and Mimi’s request. Happy to oblige! Hope you’ll get to visit Costco soon!

    Jennie – Yes, I’ve never seen Febreeze here before. Hope you’ll get your Costco sooner rather than later.

    Libby – I know. I did feel a little dirty, like we were corrupting an nice, innocent country. But, then I saw my Hershey’s and my cheese and the feeling melted away into capitalist oblivion.

  3. C. In Oz

    Mimi – Trying to remember how much the Hershey’s syrup we saw at the mall was – at least double the price of Costco’s, and I think for a smaller bottle. Costco win!

    FL Girl – I’m stocked for an embarrassingly long time, but we should definitely plan a Costco meetup one of these day – would be a blast!

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