Out of the blue, on Sunday Mrs Bob said to me “I want to go to Costco.”
Gosh, I’d forgotten all about those people; when we used to live in the UK our Costco trips were a regular occurrence. Once every two or three months we would drive over to Gray’s Thurrock, a half-hour or so drive for us, and load up the Volvo.
Now we have a Costco here in Queensland…
It’s been there since May last year and is one of seven that Costco have opened so far around Australia. More are being planned as well apparently. So, is the Australian Costco worth the same regular visits we gave to the UK warehouse?
To find out, we had to join first, which cost us $55. That gave both my wife and I a membership card and we could invite two friends each apparently. A quick look at the Costco UK website and it seems they have various membership plans ranging from £20 up to £55 plus VAT per year. So I think the Australian membership fee compares favourably.
Let’s get shopping
I’d remembered from the UK days that shopping in Costco is a bit of an art. You need to be careful what you bulk buy, you don’t want to be loading up with stuff that has a limited shelf life or anything that you might eventually get bored with or go off completely.
Toilet rolls, kitchen rolls, washing powder, dog food, beer and chocolate were favourites for us back in England, let’s see what we get here in Australia.
It’s a pretty big store…
You can also grab something to eat, apparently Costco have been selling their hotdog and drink deal at the same price, $1.50, in the US since 1985. Here you can grab your hot dog and refillable drink for just $1.99…
Costco versus Coles, the result
In total we purchased 27 items, but I’m just going to select 10 of those, picking only on items that are available in Coles as well, either as the exact same brand or at least a completely comparable product.
Also bear in mind that you are often buying in bulk in Costco, so for example, the toilet rolls below, we purchased a pack of 48 in Costco, they come in packs of eight in Coles. So for comparison purposes, I multiplied the Coles price by six. I have made similar adjustments for other products.
Costco and Coles, price comparison:
Australian Costco is definitely worth a regular visit, we will certainly be going back. The Coles/Woolworths duopoly has a serious challenger.
You may have noticed I didn’t purchase any beer, that’s because Costco in Queensland doesn’t have a liquor license. We have some strange licensing laws in this state which don’t apply in other states, so whilst you can buy your tinnies in New South Wales, for example, you’re out of luck here.
Unlucky for Queensland, I say. Just like in the UK though, I did grab some cheap petrol as we left the warehouse.
And we still had time to get to the beach, not Deception Bay which is just down the road from Costco…
When we arrived home we needed to unpack and store all our purchases. I decided to put the large pack of toilet rolls on the bottom shelf of a unit in our ensuite. But something else was already stored there, something I’d completely forgotten all about.
A big box of envelopes, unused envelopes. I’d bought them from Costco in the UK about nine years ago. A timely reminder to be careful what you bulk buy.
Anybody need an envelope?