Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Costco comes to Canberra

Costco has come to Canberra. Like tens of thousands of other Canberrans we signed up to join at a cost of $50 for the household.

TheWife had already taken theBoy and theNan on an expedition but on the weekend came my turn to go.

Teaming up with Team Casso we breached the defences at the door—a queue of would-be members lining up with their line stretching across all the doorways—and headed on in.


I felt like I'd walked into mid-west America. A vast space filled with an array of anything and everything (1).

What got to me though was the size of everything. The size of their meals—for example 2.6 kg apple pies. The size of their roof. And ... the size of their trolleys. The trolleys made anyone that pushed it look like a tiny person. They were stupidly large. And speaking of stupid their toddler seating compartment meant that if you had a pair of tots in like we did, Team Casso and Team Mikey seating their sprogs within the double-seating arrangement, then when said tots kicked their legs ... their leg-enders went into my groin. In the end I had to push the trolley along with my butt sticking out like a white person driving.

I did admire, as it was later pointed out, the fact that their food court sold foods that were actually available in the store for purchase. That was cool. What was less cool was their giant tyre room being situated at the left of the food court and thus the overpowering smell of industrial rubber kind of masked any odours the food gave off. I was also somewhat miffed that their $0.70 a can (330 ml versions) coke machine was out of order.

Still ... it was an experience.

Monumental buildings have often been symbols of a country's might. The Reichstag in Germany. The House of Parliament in the UK.

But for the US ... I think it's stores like these that best represent America. They're the perfect distillation of the free market—bringing maximum sized items in a maximum large shop to people ... who, let's face it, are quite large.

And, should your circumstances be such that you're forced into single life, you could outfit your new digs in a single visit. You can even see a set up display of a lounge, table, chair and light ... that's mounted on a shelf above the boxes that contain their clones.

Verdict? Worth joining. Or at the very least ... going along with a friend who's a member to scope it out.

(1) A couple of months ago we ran into a stall spruiking the incoming Costco. The vendor said that in the US Costcos there not only on occasion sold cars ... but guns and coffins too. I like that. Cause and effect in the one shop. In fact as I told Casso that one of the tasting station gents, a fair distance from us, yelled out 'the jewellery section has a one hundred and sixty thousand dollar thing for sale!'. We thanked the strange taster, his body fully encased, save for the oval of his face, in protective Costco food handling gear, then moved on. Keeping a wary eye out for him should he pop up with other proffered examples of Costco's largesse...

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