Big, bigger… Costco!

I wanted to give you the weekend recap today, but I have to save that for tomorrow.

Instead, I am giving you what I call a little “culture shock” feeling that will never go away completely.

Since the first time I came to the US, I always thought that the supermarkets here are enormous, although we do have pretty large supermarkets in Germany now as well. I think it was always less the size of the store itself rather than the sizes of the grocery packages. Man, the first time I went shopping in a US supermarket, I was shocked to see the containers with a gallon of milk. Are we supposed to pretend we run a coffee shop at our house or why in the world would you buy a whole gallon! of milk?

That’s when I looked around me and realized that people were actually buying more than one container. Oops!

Obviously, shopping every day is not what people do. They stock up.
That’s why the average fridge is like twice as big as the ones that we have in Germany.

There are many items that I would go to the supermarket for on an [almost] daily basis. One of those things is milk. Or fresh bread. Or meat. Or fresh veggies. I really do like the idea of buying everything fresh.
And can someone explain to me: Why in the world is fresh lunch meat over the counter cheaper than the pre-packaged stuff in the refrigerated section? Makes no sense, but is fine with me :)

But I digress. I was talking about the phenomenon of “buying big”.
So, I went to Costco with my roommate today. The epitome of buying in bulk. I couldn’t help but stare at the dimension of the store and my eyes grew larger than some of the packages that I looked at. There were HUGE packages of pasta that could last me for the next five years, ridiculously big packages of frozen chicken and whole cases of lettuce. Sure, it’s cheaper than buying those heads of lettuce individually, but who can eat that much salad to use them up before they start to rot? Unless you have to feed a family with ten+ children, I don’t see how this could be in any way economical to buy those huge quantities of things.

There are a few exceptions, of course. Do you want to know what I ended up buying? A big box of granola bars :) 48 bars in one box, to be precise. Anything that keeps well is of course a bargain buy at Costco.

So what type of shopper are you? Do you stack up or buy fresh?

  1. i know, thats exactly how i felt the first time i went to costco!! i buy fresh!

  2. Ich geh jede Woche nach CostCo, aber ich kann mich auch an mein “erstes Mal” erinnern. Die Muffins sind saulecker und auch die marinierten Braten ein Schmaus. Fuer Familien ist CostCo wirklich klasse – auch mit nur zwei Kindern. *gg*
    Was unsere Grosse so toll findet, sind die Damen und Herren, die in den Gaengen kostenlos so ein “food tasting” veranstalten, allerdings find ich es manchmal erschreckend, dass noch Omis mit 85 Jahren da stehen.
    Gruesslis !!!

  3. Finde diese riesen Supermärkte und das Angebot einfach klasse.
    War bisher leider nur auf Urlaub in den USA, habe aber über ein Jahr in Südafrika gelebt – da sind die Märkte genauso.
    Kaufe im Prinzip lieber frisch, aber bei so Dinge wie Reis, Nudel, Tee etc. find ich die riesen Packungen klasse.

  4. i HATE the big shopping saturday where we try to get enough for the whole week. it’s just not for me. a) because i cook with a lot of veggies which are better fresh anyway, b) our fridge is just too small and the freezing-section is barely big enough for the frozen herbs and C’s jaegermeister and c) i can’t plan on saturday what i want to make for dinner on wednesday. i can’t even tell you today what i’m gonna feel like making tomorrow night, so…

    that means i usually stop at the store [almost] every day after work and buy whatever we need. that’s just the way i’ve been doing it since i first moved out from my mom’s. plus, i didn’t have a car until a few months ago and with the bike there was only so much i could buy anyway so that’s my way of doing it now. :)

  5. You know, San… I grew up doing the “stock up once per week” thing, but when we were in Europe this past spring, I grew to love the “just get what you need” idea.

    I adore the idea of having everything fresh. I love the idea of grabbing a few things on the way from work. Alas, I live in North America where things aren’t done that way. Forget little bakery and produce stands… it’s all we can do to get people to attempt to walk to work once a week!!!

  6. I Germany I loved to get everything fresh from the market, the bakery, the butcher. But since I’m living in Europes most Americanized country this is not possible anymore as everything is sold in the supermarkets. People want to get everything at one stop. That together with the grocery prices here made me a bulk shopper, coupon cutter and bargain hunter for everything that’s not perishable. Veggies and bread I still buy twice a week or so in the supermarket, but I miss the markets and little bakeries dearly.

    Even though we have American sized fridges and huge supermarkets here, too, the US is still playing in a different league though. I’m just thinking about the 3 kg bags of Tortilla chips we saw at Food 4 Less!

  7. I love Costco’s hotdogs and their frozen yoghurt!!! Those alone are worth a membership!

    Back in the days I usually got office snacks at Sam’s Club so yay for those granola bars. :)

    Your comment totally made me feel better sweetie, thanks!

  8. I live 25 miles from the nearest grocery store, so it’s more practical to shop once a week. In the summer I do go to the farmers markets to get local produce.
    I go to BJ’s (Like Cosco) and I buy things like laundry soap, dog food and paper products.
    I loved living in Germany and doing my daily shopping was such a pleasure.

  9. I usually buy fresh. Buying groceries only for myself, it makes no sense to buy in bulk. I often do not even empty a one liter bottle of milk here, so it would make no sense for me to buy milk in gallons (if you could do that here). There is such a thing as Costco in Germany though, Metro, not that I’ve ever been there.
    I think the buying in bulk only makes sense if you have at least two kids as a couple. (And buying things such as pasta, why not, if you have the space, they last forever. But space is another thing that is limited here.)

  10. I loooooove Costco! Oh how I miss it! I always had to do my “families” grocery shopping there! Usually I only bought dog food, dishwasher detergent and stuff like that there!For the veggies I went 2-3 times a week (cause I was bored and had the time) to our local supermarket! But somehow the fruit and veggies creep me out they always look artificial and last forever!

  11. lol. our frigde is really small so no big shopping trips for us. :) but i do love cosco when a big party is coming up. hugs!

  12. Yea for the randomizer, thanks for the comment! Good luck with NaBloPoMo. :)

    I love the convienence of “stocking up shopping”, if I had more time/energy/patience I would shop every other day.

  13. thanks all for the inside in your shopping habits :)

  14. hm, shouldn’t that be insight :P :D

  15. I buy certain things at BJ’s (same as Costco) every 4-6 weeks because my mother in law has a membership. Things like chicken (and then I freeze it of course), pasta, soup, cleaning stuff etc. Fresh stuff, like fruits, veggie, cold cuts, bread etc. I buy at the regular supermarket, where I go two-three times per week. I don’t know how people can buy these huge “buckets” of mayo and that kind of stuff at Costco/BJs. Do they all have a restaurant??

  16. kim…. oops. stupid typo.

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