Bumper Carts

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View of Costco first floor from mid-escalator.

About once per month Tex and I are forced to take a journey to Costco.  Ok, we’re not exactly forced per se, but Costco has one thing that you absolutely can’t find anywhere else in Taipei (that I know of) – MEAT.  Glorious, glorious meat.  Regular grocery stores carry all kinds of meat, but the cuts are beyond weird.  A lot of meat here is used for hot pot – think steak-ums, or chicken elbows.  So, when you want a big, juicy, prime cut of American cow – you need to go to Costco.

“You dedicate an afternoon to meandering around the place at a snail’s pace hoping there is a scotch tasting instead of a soup tasting.”

Everyone is warned to go ‘first thing in the morning’ and ‘never on weekends’ to avoid the crowds. Unfortunately, we never feel like going to Costco at 9 a.m. on a Saturday or 8 p.m. on a weekday.  Entirely too many people shop there on the weekends, primarily because they serve small samples of gross food. 

Perhaps because people in Taiwan are used to a more local market shopping experience, or perhaps because there are just too many people that love Costco, the trip is always a nightmare. There seems to be no understanding of exactly HOW to use a cart.  Most shoppers don’t realize that the cart goes where you push it. They frequently use your achilles or your hip to know when to ‘brake.’ Additionally, this is a VERY leisurely trip for most shoppers.  There is no rushing.  You can’t ‘run in and grab’ something. You dedicate an afternoon to meandering around the place at a snail’s pace hoping there is a scotch tasting instead of a soup tasting.

Tex and I have adopted a “mission” style method of shopping wherein one of us guards the cart, while curious Taiwanese people stare into it, and the other gathers vegetables or other goods. “You get the salmon, cheese, and eggs.  I’ll just, uh, stand here since I can’t move the cart.”


Costco cafe menu

Not only do people saunter through the store for 700 hours, they then dine.  They don’t grab a hotdog.  They sit down for a very long time to eat their Costco cafe food after they shop. I don’t understand. I’ve been tempted to grab a snack myself but the lines and the seating arrangements always deter me.

Maybe they have it right.  Maybe the slow, meandering, seemingly pointless path is the one to take. Maybe all the rushing and ‘grabbing’ isn’t the way to go.  We should all stop and smell the roses more.  I’d just rather do it at the flower market than our nearest bulk grocer.

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Luxury dining at the Neihu Costco.




 Other things you can only get at Costco making the nightmarish trip worthwhile:

– frozen fish filets

– ground beef

– chicken breasts

– Fage greek yogurt