Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hell on Earth

For most Americans, hell on earth is at a little place called Chuck E. Cheese. For my non-American friends, imagine a place where they lock you in with 150 screaming, unattended to children, with games that beep and flash while requiring expensive tokens, mediocre pizza and a big fat mouse that dances and sings in an obnoxious manner.  Well move over Chuck E... I have found something worse -- Costco Japan.

Costco is really a money saver for expats. It is where we do the bulk of our shopping as it costs less than a 1/4 of the cost of buying everything in the regular grocery store. Plus it has a few imported items that we cannot get anywhere else. The best things to buy there are meat, cheese and wine.  However the downside of this little expat goldmine is the adoration the Japanese seem to have for this place. Imagine black Friday shopping (the biggest shopping day in the United States) everyday

Costco is set up similar to the ones we have back in the states. And what would be a visit to Costco without free samples?  These ladies were lined up for 20 minutes to taste some new maple syrup served on a piece of white bread. Yuck.  Yummy!

When I go, I always head for the meat and cheese section first. It is the area that always seems to get crowded first, so I try and beat the rush.  This is a typical day in the meat section of Costco.

The bakery section isn't any better.

The aisles are packed. People stand in the aisles and sections seeming to contimplate every item they put in their cart.  

 The only section containing a minimal crowd carries this interesting cooking item.

The most intriguing part of the whole Costco experience is what the Japanese actually purchase each visit. You will see the expats pushing overflowing carts and sometimes even two carts at a time (we typically go every 3 weeks or so) and as you can see here, the Japanese will have only a few items in their carts.

We almost always treat ourselves to a slice of pizza at the eatery at the end of the trip. By the time I am done I am begging for a date with the big furry mouse named Chuck E.


Terri said...

oh, oh, that just sounds terrible! I can't imagine the check out lines (always the worst at Sam's Club here in MI). You poor thing.

It's been a while; hope all is well with you guys and you are still having lots o' adventure and fun. :)

DeeDee said...

wow, I can't imagine the lines by the meat area. This looks like Walmart on the Fri after Thanksgiving! So glad you go every 3 wks. I bet it is nice to get some things you are familiar with at a better price. Wonder what the Japanese would do at a C Cheese?