Thursday, July 14, 2016

North of the border, Costco Wholesale members say vive la difference

Two 3-liter bottles of extra-virgin olive oil from Greece are part of an extensive selection at the Costco Wholesale on Bridge Street in Montreal, above and below. I bought the Elara brand from the island of Crete, right, which is a great deal at $18.99 Canadian or $13.30 in U.S. dollars -- less than $4.50 a liter. I can't find an unblended EVOO for that price in New Jersey.

Avocado Oil and olive oils from Greece, Italy and other countries stretch all the way to the end of the aisle. Although they aren't marked, olive oils for cooking and salads don't contain genetically modified ingredients.


MONTREAL -- Costco Wholesale warehouses in Canada look exactly like the ones in New Jersey, but sell a few items I can't find close to home.

And with a strong U.S. dollar, there are some great deals to be had. 

I have a minor complaint: 

Costco warehouses in Montreal, where we were vacationing, take only MasterCard, and won't accept the new Costco Visa I use in New Jersey or even a Visa-branded debit card.

The MasterCard credit card I used to make purchases totaling $133 Canadian dollars charges a small foreign-currency transaction fee, but that was offset by the card's 2% cash rebate.

And my actual cost for the items was about $93 in U.S. dollars.

Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto is one of my favorite items from Costco. In Montreal, the price is $10.99 Canadian or about $7.70 U.S., compared to $7.99 in New Jersey.

Three large Canada-grown cucumbers are only $2.99 Canadian or about $2.09 U.S., compared to $3.49 to $3.99 in New Jersey.

I haven't seen shallots like these in the Costco Wholesale warehouse in Teterboro, N.J., or the Costco Wholesale Business Center in Hackensack, N.J.

Three pounds of shallots -- a type of onion with a hint of garlic -- were $4.99 Canadian or $2.80 in U.S. dollars.

When you figure in the strong U.S. dollar, fillets of fresh wild salmon, haddock and cod, above and photos below, cost about the same in Montreal and Teterboro, N.J. In Canada, fish is priced by the kilo (2.2 pounds).

If I ran out of Stanfield's Men's Briefs, which are made in Canada, I would drive the 350 miles to Montreal just to get more. They are the most comfortable I've found because they are cut generously, and come in black, gray or white. I bought two packages of five briefs for $21.99 Canadian each or about $15.40 U.S. I have a 38-inch waist, and buy Extra Large to allow for some shrinkage in the wash.
Two things to avoid buying at the Montreal Costco are gasoline and wine. The warehouse doesn't sell the inexpensive Kirkland Signature house brand wines and sparkling prosecco from Italy you can find at the Costco warehouse in Wayne, N.J. On July 4, Costco members paid $3.94.8 Canadian for a gallon of regular gas or about $2.77 U.S. The sign shows the price per liter.

Costco Wholesale, 300 Rue Bridge, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; 1-514-938-5170. No pharmacy.

A second, larger Costco warehouse at 105 Marche Central, Montreal, has a pharmacy; 1-514-381-1251.

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