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Costco Sydney – My Experience

August 14, 2011

Today we finally went to Costco in Sydney, to see what all the hype was about. If you are not aware of the way the business operates, the requirement of anyone purchasing goods is to have a membership. Its $60 dollars and you can’t even enter the store unless you have one and show it to the watch-women at the door.

There is a loophole whether deliberate or not, to get into the store and purchase something. You must go with a friend who has the membership and make your friend pay for everything. So that’s what we did and I took some photos of our experience.

The first sign of how busy the place was, appeared in the form of a traffic report screen on the way there, “Costco ahead, expect delays” read the board. When we entered the car park it felt like I was in an old arcade game avoiding obsticles. I am in the driver’s seat trying my best to win a car spot, but left, right and centre people are popping up with trolleys, mothers with kids, astray shoppers and zombie-like trolley-collector-men. Yet parking wasn’t too difficult.

First thing we notice when we get outside the entrance is the jumbo trolleys. The area near the handles where a mother can seat a child in, has enough room for two children.

Here is Charmaine being dwarfed by the trolley.

The rumors turned out to be true, there was everything from jewelry to underwear to toilet paper. But overall the place wasn’t as large as I thought. The roof space was definitely high though as this photo shows.

To my disappointment not everything was sold in bulk. I didn’t get to see a pack of six engagement rings. There are mainly three ways the products are packaged.  Single items like jewelry and electronics were sold by themselves. Then you have the bulk items sold in packs, I think the most popular item was the 60 rolls of toilet paper. We took that offer up in the below photo, adding to our already 20 pack.

Finally the third types of product are those that come in unique large sizes as this apple-pieus giganticus demonstrates:

It reminded me of the ‘Monstromart’ in the Simpsons episode that had Barney spill a giant syrup bottle after he mistook her for a shop-attendant, and thought he killed her in the process. The items weren’t that large but there was definitely some shockers.

Here is a 4.5 kilogram Toblerone bar that Charmaine so kindly held.

Oh and here’s a can of 1000 chupa chups. It would leave any child toothless if they get through it all.

Here’s something you may be forgiven to think is for filling the car with. It’s a huge barbeque sauce container.

Here is something we did purchase. A big Tabasco sauce bottle. Yummo

Even though we only bought a dozen items, together with our friends and their parents, the shopping trolley bill came to over $500 dollars.

Conclusion:

Overall the experience wasn’t as good as we thought it would be. There was definitely some items that were cheaper than elsewhere, but not a lot. A lot of the items were roughly the same price as in Coles and Woolworths, while some were actually more expensive.

The amount of people shopping on a Sunday made navigating nearly impossible. There were times where we went to the end of an isle, but because there was so many people blocking the way with their huge trolleys, I had to reverse my trolley and go back to access the next isle from the other end.

I am hoping that Costco will establish better relationships with suppliers as they expand with more chains, and that they acquire greater bargaining power so that they will be able to offer many more deals.

The fact that currently the only place in Sydney they are located is Auburn, that is about 30 minutes drive from our home, and the requirement of a paid membership makes us less reluctant to shop there frequently.

We may give them another chance once the 60 rolls of toilet paper expire.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 22, 2011 2:18 am

    I’ve never quite gotten the Costco fandom either. Even a large family would have trouble finishing off a jug of BBQ sauce like that inside of 6 months unless they put it on their breakfast cereal each day.

    For most things I have to try and find *tiny* jars of things so they don’t sit around in the fridge for years and years. Maybe they need to make an Anti-costco where you can get cute little containers of everything.

    • August 22, 2011 8:43 am

      Ha. Miniture everything, now that’s a business idea. Not sure if you are from the US, but here in Australia Costco is new, so perhaps it may be hype for now.

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