This Week at Costco – August 10, 2014

August 16th, 2014 by Kimberly · 5 Comments

Dave and I are moving to a new flat next week and things have been a bit hectic and crazy here the last couple of weeks.  And we’re rapidly getting to the point where we have too much stuff stacked up ready to be moved.  The move means that I’ve been a bit bad about blogging and responding to emails here, but I promise I will be back to normal in about 10 days (hopefully).  We’re lucky that there’s a three day weekend so we can have all of that time to move and organize the new place before getting back to work.  Sadly, it looks like I’m going to spend my birthday unpacking this year instead of hiking in Switzerland as I had hoped.

Cilento Burrata

Cilento Burrata

Cilento Burrata – If you like mozzarella, you are sure to like this too.  Burrata is made from mozzarella and cream for a super creamy texture.  They make this by using an outer layer of mozzarella to contain a soft, creamy center made of a mixture of mozzarella and cream.  When they are making burrata, the still-hot cheese is formed into a pouch, which is then filled with scraps of leftover mozzarella and topped off with fresh cream before closing into a little container of creamy goodness.  Of course, with my love of cheese, I couldn’t help but like this one too.  I really like fresh mozzarella but the extra creaminess of the burrata is amazing.  Because of the creamy texture and the delicate taste we like to eat it at room temperature with crusty bread, olives and a selection of cured Italian meats (see the item below).   However, we did use a little bit in some calzones that we made and it worked quite well with a slightly softer consistency than when we use regular mozzarella.  Either way, I love it.  But it really is best served just fresh, I think.  It would be perfect if you were having a salad and wanted just a bit of cheese to give it an extra punch of flavour.  We have also tried it with pasta and that worked quite well.  The burrata made a bit of a cheesy sauce like situation on the pasta which was lovely.  In the container at Costco you get two 150 gram burrata cheeses in a watery mixture, just like with a decent fresh mozzarella.  I could totally eat one of these just by myself for lunch with crusty bread and such.  We tied them on a picnic and they worked pretty well but they are a bit messier because of the creamy center, so you just have to be prepared for that when you slice into it.  It’s so good though, it is worth the little bit of extra mess.  2, 150 gram cheeses for £3.29 (US: $5.49).  Item #: 0767558.

Francesco Mazzei Dolce & Piccante Selection

Francesco Mazzei Dolce & Piccante Selection

Francesco Mazzei Dolce & Piccante Selection – I love the Italian cured meats, sausages, and salamis, so I was definitely going to have to pick this up sooner or later to try it out.  This is a great sampler of three different varieties of Italian salami: coppa (aka capocollo), salsiccia, and ventricina.  And all of those are in spicy and milk options and each comes in it’s own little sealed portion of the tray so that the flavours don’t get muddled being packaged together.  This individual packaging also means that it is easy to open one of them or a mild and spicy pair, without exposing all of them so they stay fresher longer.  We found this to be a perfect picnic companion when served with the burrata, olives and crunchy bread.  The only thing I would suggest is that you bring a way to open the package because it looks like you should just be able to peel off the clear plastic film, but not really.  I was able to manhandle it into opening but a small knife would have made the process much easier and no risk of breaking a nail that way.  I really liked the coppa or capocollo best, I think.  The spicy version was delicious but the mild was also really nice.  The spicy versions aren’t super hot and especially not when you mix them with other things, like cheese or bread.  The mild versions are nice because you can get all of the nuance of the flavours of the meats.  Honestly, I liked them all so much I don’t think I could pick a favourite.  It was nice to have the variety though and the price for the Italian meats like this is always the best at Costco, I’ve found.     240 grams for £4.99 (US: $8.33).  Item #; 0153804.

Pot Noodle Brazilian BBQ

Pot Noodle Brazilian BBQ

Pot Noodle Brazilian BBQ – I’m not sure that “repulsive” is a strong enough term for the Brazilian BBQ Pot Noodle.  And really, it wasn’t because it was Pot Noodle either.  The nasty flavour, and smell, was due to the gross concoction of spices and flavourings that they use.  I’m not even sure what they think made it even remotely Brazilian or BBQ because it didn’t have any type of pleasing flavour like you might expect from those two.  To be honest. the first time Dave whipped up one of these for lunch it smelled like someone had been violently ill in the kitchen.  We actually had to take the trash out to get rid of the stenchy odour.  And it didn’t taste any better than it smelled.  But sadly, we were left with 11 of these to try to choke down.  Dave determined that if he dumped out as much of the spices and flavourings as possible then it wasn’t that bad, especially if he doctored it up with some of our own spices like cayenne and garlic.  We have gotten the Chicken and Mushroom Pot Noodle (from Costco, of course) and rather liked it for a quick lunch.  I mean, it isn’t gourmet or anything but when you need lunch in a bit of a speedy fashion it works out quite well and is filling.  They have really gotten the salt content down so that I think it is one of the lowest of any of these types of quick noodle pots.  Plus, despite what we might all think, there are no artificial colours or preservatives in Pot Noodle with all flavours being 100% suitable for vegetarians (according to their website).  Well, whatever the all natural stuff was they chose for the Brazilian BBQ flavour didn’t not combine well.  It tasted nasty and was not even worth the £5.79 we had to pay for it with the coupon…thankfully there was a coupon so we didn’t have to pay full price for nasty noodles.  If you stay away from this flavour, buying the 12 pack of Pot Noodle at Costco is a great deal where you’ll end up paying much less than at a regular supermarket.  Just trust me, you don’t want to have to force down a dozen Brazilian BBQ Pot Noodles!  12 containers for £5.79 (£8.99 – £3.20 offer) (US: $9.67).  Item #: 0167563.

Kirkland Signature Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Kirkland Signature Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Kirkland Signature Chocolate Chunk Cookies – It should be illegal to sell anything this chocolaty and delicious!  They call these chocolate chunk cookies which makes it sound like they are just chocolate chip cookies made with big chunky chips instead of normal ones.  But, no, that isn’t the full story at all.  These are actually chocolate cookies with chocolate chunks, that also have a chocolate coating on the bottom.   Yeah, total chocolate overload.  But so, so, so good!  Since these are made by Walkers to Costco’s specifications, you have to know there’s no way they could be bad.  The chunks of chocolate are a combination of dark and milk chocolate and the bottom coating is dark chocolate.  However, if you are not all about the dark chocolate don’t worry because it isn’t at all bitter or overwhelming.  I’m really anti-dark chocolate but I loved these cookies and thought they tasted outstanding.  The box looks bigger than what you might expect for just 24 cookies inside, but they are packaged very nicely to avoid breaking or sticking together because of the chocolate coating.  Inside the box you will find three individually wrapped containers of eight cookies each.  And while the cookies aren’t big in size, they are big in flavour and richness, so you truly wouldn’t want them to be bigger, I think.  They are an excellent companion to a glass of milk for a delicious treat.  These cookie also use ethically sourced cocoa from a program co-created by Costco.  The new program is aiming to develop a more ethical and sustainable cocoa supply using beans that traceable, of high quality and grown in a responsible manner, both socially and environmentally.  So, not only does the chocolate taste good but it’s doing good too.  The cocoa farmers get fair prices for the high quality beans and receive training in farm and crop management.  So, it’s pretty cool for Costco to be involved in that way.   I just hope that this is a product that they keep stocking at Costco because they are so delicious and I like that they are doing good with their cocoa program too.   3, 8 cookie packets for £4.49 (US: $7.50).  Item #: 0834707.

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What’s it like working at Costco?

August 13th, 2014 by Kimberly · 2 Comments

A couple of months ago, Glassdoor came out with their top CEO list for the US.  The list is compiled based on ratings that Glassdoor collects from US employees on their assessment of how the CEO is running the company.  This year Costco’s CEO, Craig Jelinek had a rating of 95% for a sixth place ranking.  That’s a really high score, which certainly seems in line with what you read about Costco being such a great place to work.

The really interesting thing though, is that you can read through all types of information about Costco, including salaries, feedback from employees, and how the job interview process is handled for various positions, at Glassdoor.  This is a great resource if you are considering a job at Costco because the information is based on real input form employees.  And a lot of this information is from Canada, Australia and the UK too, so not just the US.  I know there are a number of readers that are considering getting a job with Costco, so I thought this would be really helpful to those people, and just interesting for the rest of us.

Employees like working for Costco and CEO Craig Jelinek

Employees like working for Costco and CEO Craig Jelinek

Overall, at Glassdoor Craig Jelinek currently has a 92% rating and 81% of employees would recommend the company to a friend.  Employees have given Costco an average of 3.9 out of 5 rating across five categories: Culture & Values (3.8), Work/Life Balance (3.5), Senior Management (3.3), Comp & Benefits (4.3), and Career Opportunities (3.6).  Not all the scores are outstanding and not all of the employee reviews are glowing, either but they are based on more than 1,100 reviews and ratings, so that is a pretty fair amount of information.  And let’s face it, not everyone is going to love their job, no matter how great the place is to work at.

I think that the salary information would be a great resource for anyone interested in getting a job at Costco though.  You can view salary bands and averages for a lot of different positions based on input from 1,200 employees. Unfortunately, the information for Canada, Australia and the UK is a bit more sparse than that of the US with regards to salary information but you can still get some information.  You can also filter this information based on country and city, though in the UK and Australia you don’t have the option of filtering by city.

There’s also a good amount of information about the job interview process to be found at Glassdoor.  And that is definitely a must read if you are planning to apply for a job at Costco.  Currently, they only seem to have information for US and Canada in this section, which is a shame for those in Australia or the UK.  This is a great way to see the types of questions that they ask and how they conduct the interviews, as well as some information about timing (as in how long after you apply before they call and how long the interviews take, etc).  Some of these reviews are really detailed which should help a great deal when preparing, especially since they all list the job position (which you can also search on).

So, if you’ve been wondering what it would be like to work at Costco, this is one way to take a bit of a peek inside.  To get access to all of the information you’ll need to sign in with a Google or Facebook account.

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Costco UK Coupon Book: August 11 – 31, 2014

August 9th, 2014 by Kimberly · No Comments

The new Costco UK coupon book starts on Monday, August 11, and runs through the end of the month, August 31.  This new coupon book has savings of £500.00 in it, and is filled with great back to school bargains.   Aside from back to school supplies, there are a number of other deals on great products too.

Costco UK Coupon Book: August 11 - 31, 2014

Costco UK Coupon Book: August 11 – 31, 2014

I’ve uploaded the new Costco UK Coupon Book PDF (or view it in the Google PDF viewer).  If you didn’t get your book or never do, you should stop by Customer Service and make sure that they have all of your mailing information correct and that you have allowed them permission to send you things in the mail.  Also, while you’re there, ask them for a copy of the latest book if they didn’t hand you one when you walked in the store.  In the UK they print the coupons on both sides of the pages and without the codes and they just automatically deduct them after they ring up your items.  I love this method of couponing and I’m glad to see that it seems all Costco locations in the world are following suit.  I do still find it useful to have a copy so I know what to look for because I don’t always notice the signs that they’ve posted to let you know what has a coupon.  Of course, they often hand you a copy of the coupon book when you walk in the store or have them sitting there so you can grab one at you enter. I usually download a copy of the PDF to my phone before I go to the store so that I can easily reference it while shopping.  If you sign up to receive emails from Costco.co.uk, they will send out an email that lets you know that the new coupon book is available online, usually the weekend before the new book starts.  Since they now post the coupons on the Costco UK website, you can always download a copy of the latest coupon book from there; you can also find a link to it on the Warehouses Offers webpage.

If you’ve got a baby, there are a couple of great coupons for you this month.  There’s a coupon for £3.00 off a big box of 900 Kirkland Signature Baby Wipes; final price £11.98 for 9, 100 wipe packs.  I’ve heard great things about these wipes because they are very soft, but durable, and have added Vitamin E but are alcohol free.  All of that is why I also know a lot of people like to use them on their own (adult) faces or like a Wet-One. There’s also a coupon for £3.30 off a Johnson’s Baby Skincaring Essentials that comes in something that looks like a baby toolbox, but is filled with all kinds of gentle skin products for baby skin.  The final price is £15.82.  In addition, there’s a coupon for £0.79 off a big bulk buy of 6, 200 mg containers of Johnson’s Baby Powder; final price £3.84.

I run my dishwasher pretty much every day, which means that I can always find a place to store the compact Finish Quantum Tablets from Costco.  At Costco you get two zip top pouches of 45 tablets each bundled together and now £2.10 off.  That savings makes them just £11.38 which is a great price.  Other retailers will charge you more than that for just a single pouch of 45 tablets, with prices between £12 – 16.00 for Tesco, Sainsbury’s, etc.  I love these dishwashing tablets too because they do such a great job at cleaning even really bad pots and pans while still leaving glassware spot free.

If you’re looking for school year supplies or even craft supplies, there are some great deals this month.  You can get the really fabulous Scotch Precision Scissors, in a three pack, for just £6.91 after £1.93 (25% off).  I’ve written about these before when I purchased them using a previous coupon from Costco.  They are wonderful and really make light work of cutting, not to mention they are a major bargain at Costco.  You can also get an assortment of Pukka Pads for £1.35 off, Sharpies, highlighters and dry erase markers for £1.60 off, and tape, Post-Its and glue sticks for 25% off too.  If you’re crafty, you might be very interested in the £4.25 off of a Purple Cows paper trimmer (£16.48 final price) or hot and cold laminator (£15.28 final price).  Also, there’s a coupon for £2.75 off a Brother P-Touch labelling machine, making it just £7.48.  I have an older version of this labeller and love it!  It is great for making labels for all kinds of things around the house from file folders to spice jars to organizer boxes.  I’m a label junky because of how simple this makes labelling now, but it has allowed us to be super organized.

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August 2014 Locations Update

August 6th, 2014 by Kimberly · 6 Comments

It’s new location update time!   This month there is a ton of good news for new locations. I’ve gotten a lot of requests in the last few weeks to check out specific locations and I am trying to keep up with them all and find information.  Sorry if the place you wanted to know about isn’t in here today, but I’ll keep looking and hoping that everyone gets the Costco they’ve been hoping for.

Locations opening soon:

HAYES, ENGLAND August 21, 2014
SOUTH JORDAN, UTAH August 28, 2014
CUMMING, GEORGIA August 29, 2014

 

Costco's new location in Dallas, Texas

Costco’s new location in Dallas, Texas

Dallas, Texas

It looks like Costco has finally identified a site within Dallas city limits to build a new location.  Restrictions on beer and alcohol were lifted recently, so it looks like that finally spurred a more focused search from Costco where they were able to find a site near the North Central Expressway.   The new 146,000 square foot warehouse will be built south of LBJ Freeway, west of North Central Expressway near Coit Road.  They still have to go through all of the planning, but hopefully this new Costco location will be opening next summer.

Lower Macungie Township, Pennsylvania

Any excitement over this finally getting approval, might be short lived.  It seems that the Township is now being sued by another shopping center developer, Cedar Realty Trust, over the tax increment financing plan that was given to the Hamilton Crossings project (where the new Costco will be located).   They claim that the approval of the TIF violate Pennsylvania’s TIF act and Cedar Realty’s due process rights.   The Township felt that the site for Hamilton Crossings is blighted because it will require extensive environmental remediation after years of mining on the property.   However, the Cedar Realty Trust  suit describes the site as “mostly an empty field in one of the wealthiest suburbs in Lehigh County, and not in any reasonable sense ‘urban’ or ‘blight.’”

Teterboro, New Jersey

Teterboro Landing, a 580, 000 square foot mixed use development on the site of the former Honeywell aircraft parts factory, is coming along nicely with several confirmed tenants.  Obviously, since I’m writing about it here, you probably guessed that one of the new stores located here will be Costco.  In addition to Costco, one of the confirmed tenants will be a Walmart, as well as several restaurants.  The site had $40 million in environmental clean up, and required some financing help from the state to get the project moving.  What really got the project moving though seems to have been the granting of special liquor licenses.  Teterboro Landing will include 422,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, 151,040 square feet of light industrial, and 8,960 square feet of office space.  As usual there are concerns from neighboring businesses about the competition from the new stores, and residents in the area are concerned about crazy traffic.  Hopefully, after they open though, everyone will be pleased with the end result.

Mobile, Alabama

There seems to be little doubt at this point that Mobile will be getting the fourth Costco location in Alabama.  The new 600,000 square foot McGowin Park shopping center will be anchored by a 148,000 square foot Costco.  McGowin Park will be located near Hank Aaron Stadium on Satchel Paige Drive.  Other retailers will include Dick’s Sporting Goods, Field & Stream, and Petco.  Contractors have already started work clearing the site before construction can begin in ernest.   The target opening date for the new Costco is June 2015.

Wichita, Kansas

It looks like this possible location is finally taking positive steps forward.  Costco has filed a development application with the Wichita-Sedgwick County Metropolitan Area Planning Department for the plot of land at the northeast corner of Kellogg and Webb Roads.  A sub-committee of the planning commission has already approved the plat which will now go before the full commission on August 7 (tomorrow).  The plat sets out some of the technical aspects of the site like road easements, utility connections, and drainage.  Following approval there, the Wichita City Council must accept the road right of ways in the plat before construction on the new Costco can begin.  If everything move smoothly with the project I would expect them to be open by next summer.

Oceanside, New York

Costco is looking to open their eighth location on Long Island, but is hoping to get a little help  from Nassau County with tax breaks.  The site that they are looking at used to be an oil storage facility, so will probably have some environmental cleanup issues, I would think.  Costco would like a $900,000 sales-tax exemption on the purchase of construction materials and store furnishings, and $162,750 off the mortgage recording tax.  Since there’s a 2013 law prohibiting tax incentives for retailers, it looks like getting this through could prove difficult.  If the store is considered to be a tourist destination though, they would be able to take utilitze the requested tax breaks.  I know Costco draws a big crowd from neighboring areas, but I’m not sure how many people is enough to be considered tourism.

Costco Headquarters – Issaquah, Washington

Costco would like to expand their campus in Issaquah by building three additional buildings with a height of three to ten stories.  These new buildings would be built on spots that are currently used as parking lots.  Costco’s 1987 master plan for the 47 acre campus had restrictions on building heights as well as commercial square footage restrictions.  Now Costco would like to change that so that they can have more space for their growing business needs.  If Costco’s new plans are approved, the development agreement would ensure Costco could grow its corporate office over the next 30 years with proposed buildings adding up to an additional 1.5 million square feet of commercial development to the property.  These new plans might require they provide the city with increased open space since the building regulations in the city require a penalty for buildings over four stores in the form of open space or money.  In the preliminary draft development agreement designs submitted by Costco, they have plans to create a connected system of open space and parks in the center of the parcel and on the eastern edge.  They would also partner with Issaquah on the street improvements currently underway in the north of the city.  The council’s Land and Shore Committee will discuss the proposed development agreement next on August 12. The full council is expected to hold a public hearing and possibly decide on the matter September 15.

Costco in Adelaide, Australia

Costco in Adelaide, Australia

Adelaide, Australia

The new store in Adelaide is making good progress and they’ve even started hiring.  If you are interested in working for Costco Adelaide, check out the available positions on their website.  They have a temporary office at the Churchill Mall where you can sign up for membership, collect a Costco brochure, or apply for a position.  If you would like to sign up for membership, you can also do so at Join Us At Adelaide, if you sign up for this new location your membership will be valid for 12 months from the opening of Costco Adelaide (so you’re not paying for membership time when you don’t have a store to shop at).

 

Upcoming Holiday Closures and Hours

  • Costco Australia
    • EKKA Day: Monday, August 11, 2014 North Lakes, QLD location Open 9 am to 6 pm.
  • Costco Canada
    • Regatta Day: Wednesday, August 6, 2014 all locations Open;
      • Exceptions:
      • Newfoundland CLOSED.
    • Labour Day: Monday, September 1, 2014 all locations CLOSED.
  • Costco US
    • Labor Day: Monday, September 1, 2014 all locations CLOSED.
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Calling all Savvy UK Shoppers!

August 4th, 2014 by Kimberly · No Comments

Share your savvy shopping skills!

Share your savvy shopping skills!

I think anyone that reads my blog knows that I have an appreciation for smart shopping, not just at Costco, but really for everything I buy or do.  I like to comparison shop and do my research before making purchases, it’s a fun challenge, I think.  And obviously, I like to share my love of savvy shopping with everyone here.  I know a lot of you feel the same way, which is probably why you shop at Costco too.  But if you’ve ever wanted a wider audience to share your shopping prowess with, I have the perfect opportunity for you.

Boomerang TV is making a program to highlight all of the super clever shopping techniques used by people across the country.  Whether you love to comparison shop and buy in bulk like I do, or you are crazy for coupons, you are definitely going to be interested in not only watching this show, but perhaps being a part of it too.  Currently, Boomerang is looking for savvy shoppers to be a part of this new program and share their shopping techniques, insights, and deal hunting skills.

So, if you are a deal hunting diva and are interested in being a part of this television show, you can email Boomerang at shoppers@boomerang.co.uk or give them a call on 0207 438 1867.

Personally, I can’t wait to watch it to get even more tips and tricks on saving money!

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