Wednesday, July 01, 2009

All Costcos are not created equal

There were two Costcos in Tucson and they were more or less the same. The one closer to Marana was a newer, slightly nicer structure but the eating area (until recently) was outside, which only made sense about three months out of the year. The one on Grant Road had an awkward parking lot that somehow made it impossible to park anywhere near the entrance, but it was a slightly larger warehouse with older, more professional staff.

Still, though, both Costcos sold the same stuff. A good portion of that stuff was alcohol. I'm not kidding - a huge swath of the warehouse was given over entirely to wine. There were other aisles with vodka (including Kirkland Signature brand) and other spirits. Then there was a sizeable beer section over by the chips and crackers. I remember reading somewhere that Costcos tailor their merchandise to specific markets, which tells me that Tucsonians love their alcohol (not that there's anything wrong with that).

So as long as we're determining the preferences of a population based on what's in stock at Costco, I can tell you what Utah Valley shoppers enjoy in lou of alcohol: frozen treats, pop/non-alcoholic beverages, and children's clothing. I know for a fact that the American Fork Costco does not sell alcohol, at all. Jeremy and I went there and noticed that unlike in Tucson, half the warehouse wasn't taken up by wine, so we asked an employee if they sold any. "No, we don't sell alcohol," she told us ("Because we're righteous like that" was implied).

As someone who doesn't drink alcohol, I guess it's kind of nice to not have to wade through the aisles of spirits, and also to have more selection when it comes to popsicles and baby pajamas.

One final note: instead of adults going out to drink in Utah Valley, people take their whole families out to eat. Seriously, there are SO MANY restaurants here it's unbelievable. And they're all packed full of large families with children running around, at all hours of the day and night. On the one hand, it's great to see people engaged in such a wholesome activity. On the other hand, it means that going out to eat is not really a quiet, restful experience. But on the other hand, it also means that I can count on my kids never being the worst behaved. Excellent.


Britney said...

Your last comment regarding restaurants in Utah Valley, "I can count on my kids never being the worst behaved" made me laugh.

We just recently moved from a ward with a small population of children to a ward with a much larger population of children, and noticed the same phenomenon. Our kids never seem to be the worst behaved at church anymore. :)

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Our PDX-area Costcos carry more "health-oriented" stuff, like whole grain breads, a huge selection of vitamins & other health-related products, lots of outdoor gear, etc. Once in S. Cal I had to pick up scores of hamburger buns for a family reunion & in the entire store there seemed to be no whole grain (high fiber) bread products. I had to settle for regular white buns which taste fine, but are without much nutrition. My first thought was that, "Costco patrons in the Pacific Northwest wouldn't stand for such a poor selection."

Liz Johnson said...

No kidding. I have four Costco warehouses within 20 minutes of me (PRAISE THE HEAVENS!!!!) and I have noticed a lot of small, quirky differences. The one in the nicest part of town carries the more expensive, high-brow stuff. All of them carry lots of alcohol, too (hey, Detroit's been hit hard lately!).

We are always the spectacle when we go out to eat. I have had three separate people (at different places) comment on how "good" of an eater Nathan is. I think they are referring to the outlandish quantity of food he consumes, but I'm not positive.

I admit to being very excited to peruse the baby clothes at Costco in Utah later this summer. :)

Susanne said...

"I remember reading somewhere that Costcos tailor their merchandise to specific markets"

Great strategy for ANY business that wants to succeed ... government bailouts aside.

Alli E. said...

I have never seen alcohol at the Costco where I live. But they always carry "shade shirts" and lots of baby clothes!!

Kristen said...

And the Wal-Mart in Richfield Utah sold a wide selection of CTR Rings. I could not believe my eyes. WAL-MART.


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