Costco in the USA

20 Oct

I keep reading that Costco is the cheapest place to fill your prescriptions and buy booze so this weekend James and I decided to hire a Zipcar this weekend and check it out. Incidentally James is definitely getting better at driving on the right side of the road. The only thing that gets us (aside from occasionally missing our freeway exits) is that when we get on the freeway we have to instantly change about 5 lanes because they all suddenly turn into exit-only lanes and it freaks us out.

But anyway, here is Costco!

We arrived somewhere around 9:45am and there was a lot of space in the parking lot. When we left at around 11:15am it was a lot more crowded, so I think getting there early was a good idea.

There’s a lot of crossover between the Australian and US Costcos. It all looked pretty familiar – they had the same 12 pack of croissants ($6 here – I think I remember them being more expensive back home) and enormous take and bake pepperoni pizzas ($8.99 plus they have a $3 off coupon at the moment). So yeah, similar but cheaper. And with a lot more stuff that we don’t have back in Australia.

Like coffins! I’m kind of covering the most ornate one but it was pink and had all kinds of fancy swirls. You can see me trying to look sad but actually looking like a weird sea creature.

image from

The technology section was a lot larger. Unfortunately they did not have my coveted Vitamix – apparently they’re doing a demo in early November so I’ll check it out then.

Oh! I just remembered one of the biggest differences between Costco in Australia and the US – they don’t take Visa and Mastercard here. How weird is that? You can pay with cash, debit card or cheque but the only credit card they take is Amex.

Also when I walked by this packaging for Asian sauce I stopped and was like “OMG no way!”

I think the prices in the food court are actually the same as the prices in Australia – about $2 for a slice of pizza or $10 for the whole, and $1.50 a hotdog. The eating area in the Docklands is much larger, maybe because comparatively it’s a much better deal.

(Edit: I just looked up my blog post about the Docklands Costco and the pizza prices were actually $3 or $4 for a slice and $15 for the whole)

We spent $282.70 and this was our haul: (plus some salami that I forgot to include in the photo)

It would have been a lot cheaper except except for the booze. The Seattle liquor laws are weird – I think if you buy hard liquor they charge sales tax, a litre tax and also a 20.5% liquor tax. We were hoping to find some Glenfiddich but their scotch selection was pretty limited so we just got Glenlivet (which came to something like $39) and Macallan (about $50). The Veuve Cliquot was maybe $5-10 cheaper than you can get it at Dan Murphy back home.

A lot of stuff is a little bit more expensive than Safeway but you get so much more of it. Like the tortillas, vinegar, sponges, yeast, olives, crackers and spices. Other stuff like the salami, beer, coke, cetaphil and pop tarts are about the prices you can get them on sale.

But anyway after all that it turned out that I left my prescriptions at home! So I have to go back sometime next week to get them filled but that’s OK I can pick up some Mach 3 Turbo razor blades for James. We didn’t get them today because we weren’t 100% sure whether they would fit his Mach 3 handle, but a quick google tells me that they do.

So anyway that was our little adventure at Costco. I don’t know how viable a strategy it will be to take the bus there because everything there is so huge and it seems dumb just to go and buy a pack of pop tarts. We might rent a Zipcar every 3-4 months and do a big stock up. Of course this means that I now have 5 concurrent shopping lists – Whole Foods, Trader Joe, Safeway, Uwajimaya and Costco.


8 Responses to “Costco in the USA”

  1. faydanamyjake October 21, 2012 at 12:17 am #

    Lol the coffin thing and the sea creature too funny. Sounds like a plan. You could hire a car for the weekend and take a trip too 🙂

    • pamperedhousewife October 21, 2012 at 9:09 am #

      We do have a trip to Portland coming up! Hopefully we’ll be able to do a couple of touristy things in between our frenzied tax-free shopping. =D

  2. Cat Chen October 21, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    Melbourne Costco pizza is $2.99 a slice and hotdogs are $2.50 I think

    • pamperedhousewife October 21, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

      I’m bad at remembering prices. =( In general I think Costco prices in the US are a better deal relative to the supermarkets than they are in Aus. But sif only Amex!!

  3. rose October 25, 2012 at 10:32 pm #

    My husband and I moved from Canberra 4 months ago and we bought a car (helps with establishing good credit history) and we go shopping there once a week as petrol is way cheaper and there is always a really good one off find that we didn’t expect that is a really good deal, like the Dyson vacuum cleaner, starry night van gough framed triple mount for $180. 🙂

    • pamperedhousewife October 25, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

      Eep once a week! Fortunately for us Zipcar covers petrol, which is a nice thing to not have to worry about. I’m definitely heading back early November to check out the Vitamix roadshow.

      4 months ago sounds like you guys made the trek roughly at the same time that we did (just in time for summer!). We’re finding that the credit card offers are beginning to trickle in, so at the 6 month mark we’re going to apply for the Amex Blue Cash. Fingers crossed!

  4. abiotechieslife October 26, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

    After Thanksgiving (Black Friday) Costco handout free cookbooks

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