A $60 Excursion

It was one of those days where the Jman and I simply felt like doing something…out of the ordinary. We’d just finished a quick round of shopping at Djones and didn’t quite feel like heading home. So where we headed to next? Costco.

I’ve said before that I’d never pay for a $60 membership because it wouldn’t justify the cost savings for a 2-person household. That theory still holds true (seeing how the only food item we came out of the store with was a 1.6L bottle of Kikkoman, which, to its credit, cost the same as a 800ml version at Woolworths, but why the hell do we need 1.6L of soy sauce unless we were headed for liver failure?). But ah, how we ALWAYS stab ourselves in the foot – never say never! We spent a good part of the journey there justifying paying $60. Here were our reasons:

1. It’s like paying to go watch a movie (a movie for the both of us would cost $30 once off; this would provide us supermarket entertainment for a whole year!)
2. It’s like paying to go to the Royal Melbourne Show
3. We’d (unfortunately) sacrifice our weekly dinner date (no fine dining for the rest of the month, but I guess this was a cheaper form of entertainment)
4. We could possibly share the grocery bill with our friends. After all, they only sell things in “Ginormous” sizes.

So having justified our $60 membership/entry fee into Costco, we finally set foot into the no-queue, not-so-crowded warehouse-the-size-of-Brunswick. As expected, everything was massive. BIG. GIANT. GARGANTUAN. Nothing there was small! Most of the items in there weren’t fantastically cheap, though I did spy some good finds that would come in handy at a later stage. What impressed me most, however, was the quality of their furniture. It certainly wasn’t Ikea-priced, but damn it was solid as gold. None of that cheap plywood crap, but good, solid American (or probably from China) timber furniture at reasonable prices (at least for what you get) – something that is sorely missing from the Australian industries.

Fresh produce was comparable to market prices, so I don’t foresee myself doing my weekly grocery shopping there unless I need a 6kg piece of eye fillet or a 2kg wheel of Jindi brie. I’m still partial to my local green grocer and the folks at the farmers’ markets. We did get a 1kg bag of huuuuge American scallops, of which we had 2 pieces each for dinner later on but that was enough to tip me over. I love scallops, but this one was just HUGE.

I also picked up a pair of baby Crocs for my nephew, the husband got himself a really neat jacket, and I came THIS close to buying the $139 Mavi (Citizens of Humanity!!!) jeans, except that I didn’t because I couldn’t justify spending on something I didn’t need. I spent half the time arguing against the whole ethos of overbuying household items and how the principle of bulk sales and abundance would only encourage obesity and wastage in a city that was just learning to eat organic, eat local and to eat good. After all, who needs 50 rolls of toilet paper at any one time, and why would any normal 4-5 person household need a 2-3kg mud cake or 9 massive muffins? Why should we be drinking 30 cans of Coke or eating a 6kg slab of meat? If things could be this cheap, then surely it would have to boil down to either of these:

A. They are using very very cheap ingredients
B. Some poor farmer is being massively ripped off somewhere

So as much as I had finally piqued my curiosity and had a huge supermarket fix, I walked away feeling a little disturbed. I liked Costco for its spaciousness and it certainly kept us entertained for 3 hours (and oh the parking is so expensive once you over stay your 2 free hours!), but I do wonder if this will produce an obese society in the next 10 years and an American culture of bigger-is-better. I joked to the husband that we’d soon see more bigger cars on the road so that people can fit more bulky items in their cars, but come to think of it, that might not be too far from the truth.

My lesson-of-the-day for all of you out there is this: EAT LOCAL. EAT SMALL. EAT WELL. EAT FRESH.

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