Monday, July 25, 2011

Costco Shit Show

I know, I know.  I haven’t blogged in ages.  But I have two very valid excuses.  The first:  I was away for a week, gallivanting across the continent yet again to gather more things to blog about.   The second:  COSTCO OPENED IN SYDNEY!!!

Yes, yes – Sydney now has a Costco, and it feels a little bit more like Seattle!  (Costco is from the Seattle area, just in case you didn’t know…)  The first Costco in Australia opened in Melbourne about 2 years ago, and Costco’s experiment down under paid off:  the Melbourne store became Costco’s most profitable store… anywhere.  So, the next logical step:  open up a shit ton of stores all around the rest of Australia.  This past weekend stores # 2 and # 3 opened in Sydney and Canberra, respectively.  Of course I had to get in on the action.  Did somebody say Costco field trip?!?!?

The scene was… manic!  The line for membership was ridiculously long, and the line to get in was just as outrageous.

Once we were inside… we could barely move.  Mayhem.

Bojan, Adam, Charlotte, and I sought refuge near the baked goods:

And I slowly started to realize how like home this was going to be.  They had Costco’s famous big muffins!

And fresh baked cookies, which Charlotte thoroughly enjoyed.  Look at that satisfied face!

For a little taste of America, they had apple pie!  Maybe they’ll have pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving?!?!?  Maybe?!?!?

But, I soon realized that even though I was in a Costco, I was not in America.  I was in Australia.  And Aussies need to buy things in bulk.  Like tubs of Vegemite:

And maybe a few massive boxes of TimTams:

But then I looked a bit closer… and I started seeing Uncle Sam at every corner again… starting with the massive jar of SKIPPY PEANUT BUTTER – not even an Aussie brand – it was Skippy!  Normally I’m more of a Peter Pan kinda guy, but I’ll take the Skippy and run!  And the price:  $5.69.  I normally pay $7.99 for a jar half the size at my local Coles or Woolworths.  Oh the oligopoly is ending… hehe!

And if you’re gonna have peanut butter, you gotta have some Ritz too!

And then you can wash it down with a nice drink of Dr. Pepper or Cherry Coke!  Ahhhh!!!!  Only the random American candy shops carry Dr. Pepper and Cherry Coke, and they are usually $4.00/can.  This is INCREDIBLE!

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I turned a corner and the lights of heaven shined down on the big display of pita chips.  Pita chips.  Such a simple thing.  But you can’t get them in Australia.  But you can now at Costco!!!!  And with those big bags of pita chips, I needed a BUCKET of hummus.  Because why eat hummus unless you eat it out of a bucket?

I looked long and hard for Cheerios and Cheez-Its, but unfortunately, Costco employees confirmed that they didn’t carry them.  They then referred me to the suggestion box in the front of the store.  Let’s see if this works.

We got in the checkout line and realized that all of the checkout lines reached to the back of the store.  This photo was taken several minutes after getting in line, from the line, looking toward the checkouts in the front of the store.  Madness.

We had plenty of time for a little photo shoot with our soon-to-be-purchased goods:

Where else can you buy decorative pillows AND fish?!?!?

We finally got through the checkout queue and were released to the area with the restaurant – just like in the US.  And, just like in the US, Costco Australia has their famous hot dog special:

Take note that the sign says “with refill”.  With refill!  They had fountain drinks with all the ice you can fit in your cup and all the refills you can drink!  This is soooo not Australia!  And don’t even get me started on the pizza.  They had pizza.  Big slices of pizza.  And whole pizza pies.  For next to nothing!  You have no idea how hard it is to find good pizza in this country unless you go to a fancy Italian restaurant and pay $25 for some thin-crust gourmet crap that doesn’t even fill you up halfway.  This was a plain and simple cheese pizza - no gimmicks - no hefty price tag - no knife and fork - just a plain old piece of fold-it-up-and-eat-it-with-your-hands cheese pizza complete with grease dripping off of it!  This was the American way - big and thick and greasy and cheesy and orgasmic!

And then there was the Caesar salad.   I stared at the sign for a few minutes and noticed something very special.  I got to the register and asked the lady behind the counter:  “Does the Caesar salad have egg and bacon in it?” Her response:  “No, it’s a Caesar salad.” Ahhhh!!!   A Caesar salad that hasn’t been bastardized by the Aussies!  FUCK YEAH!!!!!

And just when I really started to think that I had been teleported to Seattle without realizing it, this on the menu took me right back to Sydney:

Note that they include the word “Aussie” in front of “Meat Pie”.  Hilarious!

Overall, the trip to Costco was fabulous despite the crowds and lines.  I’m sure it will die down once the novelty wears off, but even if it doesn’t, I’m still going back all the time, even if only for the free refills, pizza, and Caesar salad.

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