Costco was nothing like I expected.

What I was expecting was an outsized version of Aldi, full of cheap generic goods imported from random Eastern European countries, rather than name-brand products. I was expecting it to be large, but not the size of a football field. I was expecting an eclectic assortment of items, but not jerry cans of Chupa Chups or a giant 9kg Toblerone.

What can I say? It was fun having my expectations put aside by the Costco experience.

My friend Kimberley is possibly the only person I know who lives alone in an apartment in the inner city yet has a membership to Costco. Most of the clientele I can safely say live in suburbia with a couple of kids and a station wagon/people-mover/ute in tow. So I think it’s slightly bizarre that Kimberley’s become a Costco evangelist. I was convinced to go with her the day after I moved into my new house and was faced with no muesli, toilet paper, laundry powder or butter. I didn’t take much convincing to be honest, because I’ve been a bargain-hunter and bulk-buyer from way back.

You know that everything is going to be big, big, BIG as soon as you grab one of the double-width supermarket trolleys. Being my first trip to Costco, Kimberley patiently wheeled me through almost every aisle in the aircraft hanger as I squealed at the baby grand piano, an outdoor patio and giant apple pies. It was quite mad to be honest – I kept on having to say to myself ‘put that DOWN, Joyce, you do not need a tissue cashmere scarf or that copy of David Thompson’s Thai Food’. It was like an amusement park for bargain shoppers.

After 2 hours, my very successful haul included an Epsom printer, a set of Pyrex dishes and more mundane things like a mop and a large supply of toothpaste, toothbrushes and AAA batteries.  Everything = bargain and a month later I’m still working my way through most of the items. Book me in for another Costco trip in 6 months, Kimberley!