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I know people reading this blog will be shocked and may fall off their chairs, I assume no responsibilities if you do. When we returned to Ottawa in 2011, I was looking for bargains, Ottawa like many other Capitals is an expensive city for no reasons except that people can pay high prices. So I started going to Costco every 3 months to buy cleaning and paper products and some food items like cheese and peanut butter. I am an old pensioner and need to watch expenses. Which by the way reminds me that today I was walking down Elgin street, I passed in front of our pharmacy and saw a Walker with wheels, the sort you push in front of you, the price only $289.00 plus tax. This is nuts, absolutely nuts and unreasonable. I would be willing to pay $80. dollars tops, but luckily I do not need one.

To get back to Costco, in Ottawa the outlets are on the fringe of the City, but unfortunately have insufficient parking which I find strange given the large crowds and the fact that no public transit comes close to the store. Today was quiet being a mid week day with lots of easy parking, the joy of being retired. When you get in the store they give you a flyer with the specials of the week and they need to see your membership card. The flyer is in my opinion a waste of time and the membership card thingy is a tad silly since you cannot buy anything if you are not a member. Maybe it is to prevent silly people from coming, buying stuff and then discovering at the cashier station that they do not have their card with them.

The store is huge with mountains of stuff to buy, most in large, very large quantities, even a family of 8 people would be hard pressed to consume all of that unless you have a large freezer in the basement, the one where you can stuff a relative who annoys you or maybe such quantities are for people who give parties and need to buy 50 Salmon filets or giant Bday cakes for a group of 40 people. I never buy meat at Costco or any of the prepared foods. Cheese, yes because the price is far more reasonable than the Grocery stores in town. I just imagine that with such amounts of pre-package foods a lot of it is thrown out. I know what I need to buy and simply pass on the rest.

Olive oil is one item, they have a lot of variety, most of it is from Tunisia, Turkey or Spain. You have to read the label carefully if you want Italian Olive Oil, often it may look Italian but it is only package in Italy. Same with coffee beans, large bags of beans but coffee does not keep well and freshness is hard to keep, it will often go stale within a couple of weeks, unless you drink massive amounts which is not good for you. So I buy only small vacuum packed beans which will last me two weeks at most. Again the attraction is low prices, but that does not mean quality, so you are just wasting your money thinking you got a bargain. At Xmas time they will have boxes of fancy chocolates or large jars of nuts, cashews, brazil, macadamia, etc. again check the expiration date often it is just about to expire and has been sitting in a warehouse in all kinds of temperature for months, excess production that needs to be sold, no bargain there at all.

I also dislike all the tasting stations they have, I just find that a tad unsanitary and it is the sort of food loaded with salt and sugar, processed etc.. but so cheap to buy which is the selling point of course. Today it was processed bacon, smelled nice but I would not touch it, it just does not look Kosher.

Roaming the aisles with the giant cart is somewhat like the movie the Living Dead. You see people with glazed looks, kids are upset or tired and wonder what are they doing is such a dingy warehouse, everyone looks confused. The conversations are funny, some people will buy on impulse, oh that looks good, let’s buy some, what is it? Oh I don’t know but it looks good. Right now is Winter Tire Season sales, the prices are not competitive and I find that buying tires in any Season is a fools game.

I was in and out of Costco today in 25 minutes. However there is a new development at Costco here in Canada. It use to be that they had boxes to box up all those smaller items so it is easier to carry. Well now they don’t, you figure it out, which I find very cheeky of them. How are you suppose to carry all this stuff if they do not offer boxes. You bring your own or you bring big bags? Poor service but this is so typical of Canada. If you ever shop in the USA anywhere, my experience has been to be bowled over by the service I just can’t believe how good it is compared to Canada where service is usually crap. I cannot see Costco in the USA pulling the stunt of saying to customers, bring your own bags or boxes.

In other news our new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family are moving into Rideau Cottage on the grounds of the Residence of the Governor General, Rideau Hall. The cottage has 32 rooms, it was built in 1867 and completely re-furbished two years ago. It is in a secluded area of the giant park surrounding the Residence of the GG, not accessible to the public. Usually Rideau Cottage is the home of the Secretary of the Governor General. In this case he had to move out, there is another house on the grounds and Rideau Hall has 45 bedrooms and lots of other rooms so am sure the Secretary is not on the street. First time ever that a Prime Minister lives on the grounds of Rideau Hall, a case of force majeure since the Official Residence 24 Sussex Drive is finally being fixed up.


Rideau Cottage c.1867 on the grounds of Rideau Hall in Ottawa.