With Costco due to open in a week and a half, I thought I would have a poke around the internet to see what we are in for. Having been to Costcos in Canada and the US, I am excited about the prospect of discounted groceries but also wondering how the typical Canberra home will cope with bulk buying (not many basements around these parts). I’ve paid my $60 membership fee (price is per family, not per person) and am ready to shop but we’re yet to see any emails or received any coupon books from Costco yet. It’s only from checking the website that I can see they are opening on the 22nd.
So quick education for the uninitiated. You need a membership to shop there. Thems are the rules. The stores are huge- a Bunnings style supermarkets with pallets of goods sold mostly in bulk- big bottles, large jars, multi-packs, boxes etc. Kirkland is Costco’s own brand and I guess is comparable to the Woolworth Select model. They sell everything from toilet paper to electronics to diamond rings along with meat, fruit and veg. They also have a food court selling hotdogs, pies, pizza etc and all-you-can-drink sodas (oops sorry, soft drinks). I’ve been told that members will get a coupon book a few times a year that will increase the savings on certain items. Costco is also pretty famous for their staff handing out samples as you move down the aisle (it’s how they get you).
Because I was curious… and had a bit of time on my hands… I jumped on Flickr and looked at “Costco Melbourne” pictures to suss out what they sell here in Australia. Most of the pictures are from 2009 and 2010 but I think the following is a pretty good indication of a fraction of what will be on offer here in Canberra. Don’t laugh, the following is not indicative of what I’ll be buying just what I was able to see prices for:
Box of Tim Tams (equiv to 6 packets) $10.49
1.2kg Shapes biscuits $12.49
Bucket of Vegemite (1kg?) $11.17
Box of 72 Caramello Koalas $23.99
Box of 30 small packets of Red Rock Deli chips $31.99
Box of Crunchies $45.99
4x 160gram Colgate toothpaste $16.98
2x 750ml Head and Shoulders $22.99
2x 354ml Aveeno Bodywash $15.99
5 carat diamond ring $159,999.00 (yes, the decimal point is in the right spot)
120 Crayola crayons $24.99
Ecomonmy pack of Optifree contact lens cleaner $12.99
HP 6 pack colour ink refill $79.99
Happy Cow 24 pack $2.99
Soresina Provolone $17.29kg
Parmigino Reggiano $29.99
Jindi Camembert $33.99
There weren’t any pictures of the fruit and veg prices but I am led to believe it’s a very good price in Melbourne so I imagine we’ll get similar. I’ve also heard that TP is something like 30c a roll but you need to buy half a years supply in one go.
Costco might not be the place to shop if you can’t control your impulse buying but otherwise I think it has the potential to save my family money… if I shop smart. I’m willing to give it a go but if it doesn’t work for us, oh well, at least my North American husband will have somewhere to go if he gets homesick.