Perhaps you're a veteran familiar with the subject of this blog as its retro alter ego Price Club or perhaps you just really can't say no to a deal on relish. Either way, we're not here to judge on what has officially piqued your curiosity about this cost-cutting retailer.
Costco first opened it's doors in sunny San Diego back in 1976, it began distributing to small business only. As the first membership-based warehouse club it has seen billions of dollars in sales since those early days as it offers a 'little' something for everyone.
If you've ever visited a Costco be in the United States or Canada, the interiors are virtually identical. You probably wouldn't know the difference if it weren't for the fact that US Costcos are able to sell liquor products (whereas stores in Canada are not). Items are organized upon sky-high industrial style shelves around the periphery with tables and display cases in the center showing the variety of items. The spectrum of what you can find both in-store and online is truly mesmerizing with a number of things seeming to border on random.
In case you're not a member (or contemplating becoming one) we've compiled a list of a few oddities which you can find at Costco Canada and Costco USA respectively - who's up for the hunt?
20 LEGIT Night Goggles (USA)
Are you in the army? Or going on a night safari?
Then there's really not too many other reasons that one should hope to acquire night binoculars and not many more why Costco should feature them in-store. With a feature described as 24 hour day/night viewing options the Cassini K-9 Green Laser Day/Night Binoculars have us wondering, just who is buying them?!
There's a picture of a raccoon breaking into a garbage bin under surveillance in the ad - we sure hope that these are being sold mainly to observe wildlife. Just in case, might we recommend that you close your blinds after the sun goes down to prevent any prying eyes. It's always better to be safe than sorry!
19 2 Gallons of Unscented Massage Oil (Canada)
Who in the world need's this much massage oil?! A professional masseuse I hear you saying... well yeah, that makes sense.
Even saying that there's just something about the way that it's advertised on the website which describes it as providing 'optimal glide and friction' and 'giving complete control without drag' that is a bit haunting. Drag of what?
Maybe it's also the fact that it comes with an 'adjustable holster' that just makes it seem more ominous and less normal than possible or that the bottles resemble that of an industrial jug of bleach that has our skin crawling (away). In any case, one quick look at the ingredient list and everything seems copacetic so if none of this weirds you out, carry on.
18 A Casket (USA)
If you're in the mood, feel free to peruse one of many Costco caskets available at the click of your mouse on the US website. Perhaps the oddest of all, is the creepily named 'The Mother' style that is pink and features embroidered flowers on the lid. That's just 1 of 6 varieties available to you if you are a Costco member.
As the website states, choosing a casket is a very personal decision so be sure to select it based on your personality - yikes! They also offer a selection of urns for humans and pets alike in the related Funeral section.
17 An Entire Vending Machine (Canada)
Are you an 11-year-old internet-made millionaire with $9,000 to spare? Well this item may very well be the thing that drives you to get a Costco membership.
You can create your very own vending machine with up to 20 different types of drinks and 24 different snacks - think of the possibilities! No more lemonade stands necessary! This machine could carry you right into retirement if well-placed in your playroom since it also features the ability to promote ads.
Unfortunately, the vending machine falls short as it doesn't come pre-loaded with the snacks and drinks from Costco's well-stocked candy aisle. What a shame, this could have been a real tasty selling feature.
16 Your Entire Honeymoon (USA)
Costco wants to know its members intimately, like, really intimately. If they can't be invited to your wedding, they at least want to be involved in the planning of your honeymoon!
With featured deals ranging from $1200 - $1500 per couple, you have the choice of Caribbean 'hot' spots like Turks and Caicos or more adventurous options like Ireland. They can even help you with your car rental! Since you can also shop for everything from your suitcase to your swim trunks, Costco brings a whole new meaning to the term 'all-inclusive" when it comes to their offerings.
15 Cefaly® Anti-migraine Device (Canada)
So potent that it requires a registered trademark, the Cefaly® Anti-Migraine Device will have you looking like the Greek goddess of the migraine-free world. In fairness, migraines are pretty much the worst thing ever and can be pretty debilitating if they occur on a regular basis so this is definitely addressing a need in some of the population.
For a $300 miracle cure that claims you can toss out your medication, you think there would be more scientific evidence that suggests that it actually works aside from this bland statement: when used on a regular basis, studies have shown that it may reduce the frequency of migraine occurrence. What kind of regular basis? May or will? Another snake oil cure in sheep's clothing? It could be.
Worst case, you can always wear it out on Halloween and go as Lieutenant Geordi La Forge.
14 A 72 Pound Wheel of Parm (USA)
Living proof that dreams really do come true!
With the holidays around the corner, this is the perfect gift for any foodie or turophile on your gift-giving list - but you may need more than Santa and all his reindeer to deliver (and slice) it as it is a GIANT (and thick) wheel of cheese.
Imported from Italy this Parmigiano Reggiano has been aged 24 months and seriously / heavily inspected by the Consortium. You heard correctly, this cheese is under strict regulation for quality control by the Consortium Parmigiano Reggiano which might explain the opulent nature of this dairy product.
Coming in at just shy of $900, this might be the first time in your life you've opted to finance cheese.
13 Smoked Pink Salmon in a Long Cedar box (Canada)
Well the description of this item is anything if not transparent.
Were you hoping for smoked tuna and a pine box? Or smoked mackerel in a short oak box? Well, then this isn't for you because this item is smoked pink salmon in a long cedar box. Why is it odd? Well receiving a box of fish that requires no refrigeration in the mail already seems odd.
While there have been a few comments on the costco.ca website disputing that the fish within this ornate box is even salmon to begin with, many claim that the box itself makes it a worthwhile gift. So what came first, the salmon or the box? Why not try sending it to a relative and see what they rave about first.
12 A $600 250 gram tin of Caviar (USA)
If you're living that Executive Member life then you probably enjoy the finer things... like caviar that costs more than a month of my rent.
This farmed tin of fresh fish eggs (doesn't sound so fancy anymore, does it) arrives from Bulgaria in a vacuum sealed tin, on a bed of ice, in a thermal bag (it's the least they could do, really). At a price of $63.64 per ounce, it is expected to serve 7-12 lucky friends and family members. With rave reviews from caviar enthusiasts on the website, you can be sure that all will be in appreciation of your fanciful feast compliments of Costco.
11 A Champagne Sword (Canada)
Definitely saving the most eccentric item available at Costco Canada for last.
The made in Spain sword, is quite elegant in the photos bearing an oak handle and small red tassel but despite its elegance, it has us wondering when exactly would be the right moment to bust it out?
For $179.99 you're going to want to show it off! A first date (unless really into Zorro) would probably escape out the bathroom window after watching you sabre open a bottle of anything. A family gathering? It just seems risky to have a sword lying around for the purpose of de-corking when there are perfectly regular (and safe) corkscrews for that...
Maybe if you have a flair for the dramatic, it could just be for you to feel fancy. Just be sure to practice your swing a few times beforehand.
10 Bulk Flowers (USA)
It's what we have come to expect of Costco, sure. But seeing as how flowers have a very particular shelf-live it seems odd that they stock arrangements containing up to 180 flowers! From Roses to Alstromerias, there's a reason the French have the saying 'la vie en rose' and it's not for a fresh-cut flower's lasting power. That being said, the prices are really quite good so as long as you're sure that what they have is what you want, it could end up being a budget-friendly option.
Be sure to prep the vases and water in advance, you'll be trimming stems for quite some time upon their arrival.
9 InstaShiatsu travel massager (Canada)
Are you too busy to make it to a regularly scheduled appointment for your massage therapy needs? Do you enjoy walking around feeling like a space-time travelling human who has robotic massage superpowers at any given time? If you answered 'heck yes' to either one of these questions than the InstaShiatsu Travel Massager may be for you.
Essentially you slide your arms through two holes and wear it like a turbo jetpack vest or you can place it on various parts of your body - as you prefer. It's heated and surprisingly claims to be able to offer similar results as a real-deal massage therapist.
If it works, then it might even be worth it to walk around looking like you're in a weird vibrating body-sling. If not, well you can always return it.
8 A Chicken Coop (USA)
If you're more of a turf versus surf (above), you are free to do what many other members (may or may not) do and purchase a full top to bottom chicken coop!
Maybe you just want to name them and keep them as pets, or dabble with producing fresh eggs in your own backyard. Whatever your reasoning is, Costco has a solution for that with the SummerHawk Garden Trio Coop.
This coop does require some extensive assembly, a power drill, and likely a few extra hands but at the end of it you'll have the ability to plant a fresh herb garden while enjoying a lifetime of freshly produced eggs. You'll easily be able to bribe some friends to help you put it together if it means #fresheggs4lyfe.
7 An 'Authentic' Spanish Paella Kit (Canada)
The fact that this is called an authentic paella kit when you're essentially spending $40 for a pan and some rice isn't just odd, it's outrageous. Perhaps the majority of the price can be attributed to the off-brand extra virgin olive oil.
Really, if you are going to go through the trouble of making a world-famous dish authentically, it should be made with the freshest possible ingredients and paella seasoning can be made from common spices, many of which likely live in your cabinet! Saffron, Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, Garlic and other spices and garden herbs that aren't so difficult to source makeup this national dish.
The most important part of paella will always be the choice of meat and broth, both of which are not included in the kit. The rest is a no-brainer even for the modest chef.
6 A Freeze Dried Turkey Dinner for 12 (USA)
What happens on Thanksgiving when the power suddenly goes out? Thanks to Costco that's not something you will ever have to worry about again. Phew!
Costco America brings you the ultimate in survival food under Mountain House Homestyle Turkey Dinners. Adding hot water directly into the pouch will bring this dry food 'back to life' so that you can enjoy a turkey, whole wheat stuffing, green beans, celery, carrots meal that is backed by a 30-year taste guarantee. These also make great options if you're planning a camping trip or going across country with limited space in a backpack - supposedly they taste pretty good!
5 A Maple Leaf Coin in A Case (Canada, obviously eh)
First minted in 1979, this pure silver coin has an exact value of $5 and is still considered legal tender so can somebody please explain to us why it's for sale for $40? It just doesn't seem like a savvy investment to pay $40 for a coin worth $5. Perhaps if you're a coin collector, maybe it might seem intriguing to purchase this pure silver coin for your collection, but if it's been in circulation since 1979 the odds of the value going up drastically any time soon is quite disparaging.
In any case, if you're at a Costco Canada and wanting a piece of our home and native land to take away with you, this could be an option.
4 A Fire Pit (USA)
The clock is ticking as Autumn has already begun to make its presence known. Luckily, you can stay nice and toasty this season with Costco's numerous varieties of fire pits. With 35 (!) styles and options (with or without accompanied seating) you will be sure to find what best suits your needs. The price range is anywhere from $175 to almost $8K.
These fire pits create a warm and cozy ambience that is perfect for entertaining or simply a night in. If you aren't too keen on burning the cash (ha) on something you can make yourself, you can always buy a 58-volt chainsaw (also available at Costco) and clip a few branches to recreate a campfire like when you were a kid. Pass the freeze-dried turkey and beans!
3 Conical Fermenter for Making Wine, Beer or Cider! (Canada)
Have you ever dreamt of living on a vineyard in Italy with rows and rows of ancestral grapevines as far as the eye can see? The robust Tuscan sun rising and setting upon on those delightful and fresh grapes...
Well, failing that there's this cone-shaped fermentor that can make you an amateur winemaker for under $200! Producing 30 L of wine OR beer, this contraption aids with the fermentation process. While there's nothing odd about following your passions and exploring your curiosity.... the shape of this thing is... well, odd.
Perhaps also the mention of making mead in the description makes us picture a mystical spell-binding potion-making scenario versus the more usual beer and wine options.
2 A Nativity Set (USA)
Then there is the modestly priced nativity set featuring the holy family coming in at $379.99. A bargain if you appreciate hand-painted details, or really get a rush from a steep financial investment for something you can find elsewhere for much cheaper. The polyresin, hand-sculpted nativity set features baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph but they lost us with the missing manger and the fact that it is still made in China.
With zero reviews displayed on the website, it's hard to say if it's worth the price tag. As we're only in September, thankfully there's still time to think about it. Just remember even if you do impulse purchase a Holy Family Nativity Set on costco.com, rest assured that according to our list, it could have gone a whole lot weirder.
1 An Off-Grid Vintage Solar Powered Freezer (Canada)
It just seems contradictory that you use the sun to freeze your food. However odd, Costco has available for the low, low price of $1,200 an off-grid, vintage style, solar-powered freezer in Ferrari red (try saying that five times fast).
As if the fact that one might be desiring a bright red vintage freezer isn't strange enough, it also looks more like a fridge. I guess it could be fun if you wanted to play a guessing game with your dinner party guests OR don't feel super weird for having two fridges in your 'off-grid mansion'. Either way, you're doing your eco-friendly duty.
References: Costco.com, Costco.ca