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Costco Around the World


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The Costco stores in San Diego have large plastic bags with handle openings (just like regular grocery store plastic bags but a little larger) at their checkout.

I think that a Costco that provides bags is the exception to the rule.

So, what do you have at your Costco checkout? Do you have only boxes and brown paper bags? Or do you have plastic bags at your Costco checkout?

No brown paper bags or plastic bags.

No shopping bags at Costco stores in Hawaii, either.

Remember, Costco, Sam's Club, etc. originally began as warehouse clubs targeting small businesses buying items in quantity. A lot of their membership now is individual households, but their merchandising policies generally remain the same. It's part of the "warehouse club" atmosphere.

9 times out of 10 I go to Costco as a small business owner. I have lots of poultry boxes (waxed cardboard boxes with good handles) at work - I always try to have some of these boxes in the back of my jeep when I go to Costco or other wholesales.

The thing that annoys me at Costco - as a business owner, I wish they had a 'business lane' - like the express lane at a grocery store.

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The Costco where i am has a Business lane which helps immensely on a busy Saturday when I actually have to go on a Saturday. No bags though. Boxes only and only if you can actually find decent ones. I always take some Whole Foods paper bags with me when I go.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Business lanes would be nice (we still have a business membership, though we no longer have a business). I would actually like express lanes, because I often only buy a few things--usually fewer than a dozen.

One thing I like about the Costco in Winnipeg, which they don't do in Japan, is open up an hour earlier during the week for business members only. I wish they'd do it on weekends, too. I usually prefer to get in and out as quickly as possible since I only get a few things.

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Have been a member for ages since we were living in HK and my husb. used the Anchorage Costco a lot...one year he brought back our christmas tree from there!

In the UK prices seem to be £'s for $'s for many items so not such a bargain and membership is limited to certain professions (which was mentioned before I think)

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Business lanes would be nice (we still have a business membership, though we no longer have a business).  I would actually like express lanes, because I often only buy a few things--usually fewer than a dozen.

Express lanes, although demanded on a regular basis are not part of the buying philosophy of Costco upper management (this from a manager in a Phoenix Costco). The feeling is that they would rather have you come less often and buy larger quantities.

As for bags I'm liking the cool looking carry bags that Costco now sells 2 for $1.99 here in Vancouver (and probably everywhere else) with nice graphics and their logo. They're oversize and quite strong (and of course reusable). For larger or heavier items I just make sure I grab a box while I'm shopping (usually emptying out a partially filled box on the shelves to get a decent one).

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I don't know about Costco around the world (because to be honest they overwhelm me) ... I live in the Pacific Northwest and every year I go to Santa Fe to visit my family ...we hit Costco for the green chile ..they have very good frozen peeled and chopped green chiles there in travel proof containers ..so I load my cooler for the plane trip back with them ...

and no bags here or there either... just cut boxes...I take bags from other stores with me and ask them to use them!!! get strange looks but who cares

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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Everywhere I travel with my parents, they have to go to Costco. I don't know - maybe it's an Asian thing. But we've hit quite a few.

In Hawaii, I've seen logs of sushi available for sale, and it always looks quite good. My mom loves the seaweed salad you can get there in bulk.

In Canada, they carry the best parchment paper. And the food selection in their food court is waay better than the Seattle-area Costcos - you can get chicken teriyaki, french fries (with gravy/poutine), montreal smoked meat sandwiches and italian calzones.

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In Hawaii, I've seen logs of sushi available for sale, and it always looks quite good.  My mom loves the seaweed salad you can get there in bulk.

Yes, the Costco (and Sam's Club) stores in Hawaii carry a large selection of popular Asian and local foods. The shelf-stable area has at least one side of an aisle with Asian ingredients, such as large tins of soy sauce, bottles of oyster sauce and Sriracha sauce, various types of seaweed, dry Canton noodles, rice and/or bean thread noodles, dried shiitake mushrooms, etc. Asian brands of rice are sold in 20- to 50-pound bags.

The deli section has one row of cases with Asian and local specialties, including manapua (aka char shu bau), Kalua pork (shredded smoked pork), Asian pickles, tubs of the aforementioned "ocean salad," local Portuguese sausage, chunks of char shu, etc.

The fish department sells trays of sashimi in addition to prepared sushi (which, to my dismay, is made not locally, but by a commercial sushi packager on the Mainland!!!) However, there's usually a staffed "poke bar," where fresh poke (local-style raw fish salad) is sold by the pound.

And the bakery sells fresh mochi rice cakes.

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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We are getting COSTCO in Toledo later this year. There had been some doubts for awhile because of a disagreement over the city's living wage issue. That has been resolved and it is now under construction. Really looking forward to going, but I am going to take the advice of many and try to go during the week or after work when it won't be nearly as busy.

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I have visited Costcos in Kansas City, the Bay Area, and Long Beach and never seen a bag in any of them. I take some canvas bags with me and box the rest.

I'm intrigued by the varying offerings, since all of the ones in those areas seem to offer pretty much the same products. Until we started comparing notes on these forums, I was under the mistaken impression that they were pretty uniform, based on my experiences in KS, MO and CA. Now I feel cheated (by the sushi, chantarelles etc that some have, that is, not the bags or lack thereof).

One thing I feel fortunate about is the lack of long lines. I've never been to a store here in the KC area where a line was allowed to grow beyond 2 or 3 customers. If it reaches that point, more registers are opened, and very quickly. We're pretty spoiled with our wide-open spaces and lack of crowded conditions and I think the local management figured out pretty early-on that people here simply won't tolerate long queues. Whenever friends from CA visit and we find ourselves at Costco, they are amazed at how uncrowded ours are.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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And the bakery sells fresh mochi rice cakes.

No way! I don't even get fresh mochi at my Costco in Japan! I wonder why...

We're going over there this afternoon -- I'll report back on the selection. I know they carry several types; don't remember if they're all from the same maker (at least one of the makers is local...)

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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One thing I like about the Costco in Winnipeg, which they don't do in Japan, is open up an hour earlier during the week for business members only.

San Diego Costco's used to have special hours for business members during the week, too. I think it was somthing like the first two hours on a Wednesday or something like that. Now they just have regular hours for eveyone.

A checkout line dedicated to just business members makes sense to me.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Ooops... forgot to report back on the mochi at Costco. They had only a few packages left when we got there. Two assorted varieties, both made locally by Kansai Yamato:

"Plain" rectangular strips of mochi (like chichi dango) labeled "Red and White Mochi" -- only in more than just two colors/flavors -- white, pink (red), green, and sand-color (chocolate was listed as an ingredient, so I assume these were the chocolate mochi, though they'd been whitened by their starch dusting).

Red-bean-filled mochi in assorted flavors and colors. Some pieces were coated with regular or black sesame seeds.

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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  • 2 weeks later...

Forgot to mention that one time I went, they had this tasty looking danish stuff called "nazook". People were grabbing boxes of it like crazy. I didn't feel like pastry that day (what was wrong with me, i didn't know) but now I regret not trying it. Anyone seen this nazook?

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The Costco in my neck of the woods has huge (28g) bottles of saffron for $22. It's not the best in the world, but it's as good as the microscopic little vials the gourmet grocers charge the same amount for.

They also have a pretty good vanilla extract and balsamic vinegar for dirt cheap, and you can get a gallon of heavy cream for the same amount you'd pay for a tiny little carton in a regular grocery store.

What's best is I just got dental insurance through them for $85/year. It's a lame Delta HMO, but hey, cheap cleanings at least.

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Forgot to mention that one time I went, they had this tasty looking danish stuff called "nazook".  People were grabbing boxes of it like crazy.  I didn't feel like pastry that day (what was wrong with me, i didn't know) but now I regret not trying it.  Anyone seen this nazook?

Nazook is an Armenian pastry (I think), and we have found it at Uwajiamaya in Bellevue, (WA), tasty flaky breakfast item, less flaky than a croissant, and with some cinnamon if I remember correctly. The Uwajiamaya ones come from a bakery in Portland I think. In reference to Costco in general, they pride themselves on trying to offer things that the local people want, something individual for the area, plus sunscreen for the tourists in Hawaii for example. It doesn't always work, but there is some effort there. If you have a business or executive type membership (~USD$100/yr) you get 2% of your total purchases back in a rebate and can pay for your membership. It has worked well for us, we buy over 1000 lbs of cane sugar from them a year, their pricing beats everybody else, FSA, SYSCO, United Grocers, etc., plus paper products and whatever else. We have found their meat to be very good, and if there is an issue, they take it back, regardless. Granted we are spoiled, the home office is very close to where we live, but the only issue we have is the bananas go bad fast, but then I make bread or muffins. We don't buy their muffins, and we go to Mutual Fish for our seafood most times unless it is for a crab leg or three, but most other products outstrip Sam's in price and quality, esp the beef tenderloins and pork baby back ribs. Cheese selection is improving too. No hard liquor sales here in WA, but the wine selection is very good, some pricing better than at the wineries directly, but it moves fast.

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I shop at the new "biggest Costco in the world" in Hillsboro, OR. It has the best price around at their gas station. The first hour on week days is business members only. They also have a growing inventory of organic produce, meat and groceries. I often get bags of coffee beans that are still warm from the in house roaster. I have the same problem with the bananas turning, but that seems to be the case with all the organic bananas sold in this area. But there's lots of things to do with over ripe bananas!

No bags at this one that I know of, but I usually don't even get a box as I don't mind the exercise unloading the car.

I am spoiled and have a hard time going to one of the other area Costcos, as they seem so small and are way more crowded!

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We are very Costco spoiled here in Phoenix. I have 3 regular Costco's within 15 miles of me. We also have a Costco Home (specializing in home furnishings) and a Costco Business. I love the Costco Business because you can buy open stock Sitram cookware, big cartons of heavy cream, and many, many assorted restaurant kitchen gadgets (metal tongs were .99 there last week). Costco Business carries Torani syrups for like $4-5 for the big bottle.

oh, and no plastic bags here either. A loooong time ago they used to have small plastic bags to put clothing purchases in so they wouldn't get dirty, but that only happened a couple time.

Edited by lemniscate (log)
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Bag Report! Brown paper bags w/handles in San Luis Obispo. These are a two- thirds the size of a regular supermarket bag. I have noticied that Costco studies their store locales and adjusts products according to the buyers, ie; veal scallopine at SLO and not in Santa Maria. Larger local wine selection in SLO due to the Paso Robles AVA being here as well. I have purchased some local wines at Costco cheaper than my member price at the winery. That's kind of bothersome.

"I drink to make other people interesting".

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more on bags :unsure:

Considering that the Costco concept was introduced as a way for small businesses to acquire supplies, it doesn't surprise me at all that there are no carry-bags. From an environmental point of view, perhaps not adding (even more) plastic bags to the consumer life balances out the big-box-store effect on the local landscape and wildlife. Especially in areas which were previously open land, i.e., on a migration path or something.

Of course, there are some locations which garner a large volume of walk-in traffic (i.e., new Downtown Vancouver store), and so the re-usable bags for purchase are a welcome change. Apparently those bags will hold a 24-pack of bottled water.

Karen Dar Woon

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Bag Report! Brown paper bags w/handles in San Luis Obispo.  These are a two- thirds the size of a regular supermarket bag. 

Yes, my Costcos have the same brown bags. Given that most of what you buy at Costco is generally humoungous and heavy, I don't trust them to hold up to the weight of the products bagged within.

more on bags  :unsure:

Considering that the Costco concept was introduced as a way for small businesses to acquire supplies, it doesn't surprise me at all that there are no carry-bags. From an environmental point of view, perhaps not adding (even more) plastic bags to the consumer life balances out the big-box-store effect on the local landscape and wildlife. Especially in areas which were previously open land, i.e., on a migration path or something.

I don't buy the excuse.

Practically every grocery store in my city has a bin where you can recycle plastic grocery bags. I recycle them myself at home by using them to carry lunches, for storage, etc. As I explained previously, I even use them to re-bag my Costco purchases for ease of handling when carrying said purchases back to my residence.

It just irks me that I pay a yearly hefty membership fee to belong to Costco and yet something as picayune as plastic bags seems beyond Costco's customer service.

And if they wanted to do something good for my local environment, perhaps they shouldn't have moved out of their Big-Box building a couple of years ago (which still stands empty as I write this) when they built their new Big-Box building at another location.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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