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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cosco in Taiwan, What You Can Buy and Membership Information


So you decided to move to Taiwan and can’t find things that you used to like in your old country? Well, probably local Costco will have it – for a price of course.
This article will mention basics of applying for Cosco membership.
The basic Gold membership will costs you about $1200 NT (about USD 40) a year. For this you will receive your master Costco card and will be able to apply for extra one for any of your family members – be it your wife, child, parents, or siblings. You will not be able to apply for more than two cards – but that is not a big of a problem here, just read on.
There is also a business membership card, which is priced at $1000 NT a year. This will get you a business Costco card and if you want to give your employees Costco card, it will costs you extra $500 NT a year for each additional card.
For your application you will need to provide some kind of ID – it can be practically anything. You will be asked to look at their webcam and the picture will be taken of you in instant. The entire process takes about 3-5 minutes, and then you are free to go off shopping. If you planning to get additional card for a family member – be sure they provide their own IDs and if the name is not the same, some kind of proof that you are related (such as marriage certificate.)
When you are at Costco, you will need to use your newly acquired card plenty of times – at the entrance, at the pharmacy, at the photo and optic centers, and at the cashier.
The limitations at Costco are that you can only bring 2 people with you per card. However, it seems like nobody follows this rule and you will often see family of 10 walking together. Also, if your family is large enough and someone wants to borrow your card – they should not have any problems shopping at the center. Workers there almost never check the picture, and if they have any questions, just mention you’re a family member. It is Taiwan after all, things are done with ease.
Just one more thing, I have read that one Canadian was able to use his Costco card in Taiwan. However, here their system was not able to read his card (probably systems in Taiwan and Canada are not connected to each other) and Costco cards do not have any date on them. So, if you have a Costco card from your own country, bring it with you. Even if it is expired, you should still be able to use it here and save yourself $1200 NT a year.
Is NT1200 worth for being a member? That would depend what you like to consume. Personally, I go to Costco three times a month and I save quite a fortune on things like bread, sausages and milk. Milk in local supermarket cost about NTD120 per liter while Cosco sells for NTD185 NTD215 per gallon, so if you do your math correctly, it will save you up around NTD260 per gallon of milk. It is also very easy to overspend money shopping in Costco – you need to buy in large quantities - will you really be able to drink up almost 4 liters of milk in 10 days? There are also things that tends to be more expensive than in your local morning market (such as vegetables, fruits) – so just buy with caution, and enjoy saving where you can!
In short:
Cosco yearly membership: NTD 1200
Milk: NTD120-180 per liter in local supermarket; NTD 185 NTD 215 per gallon in Cosco (1 gallon ~ 3.79 liters)
Edit: (July 14, 2001) I have decided to start adding list of items from Cosco that I purchase frequently. This post will be often updated.

Food and drinks:
Milk: 215NT for a gallon
Barista Coffee: Instant, 100 satchets, each 20g: 679NT (they tend to have promotion 1-2 a year for 499NT) - same satchet in 7-11 costs 30NT per 1Coca-Cola: 6X2L: 192NT (32NT per 2L bottle)
Mini hot-dogs: 96NT (those are half sized of the regular hot dogs, I am not sure how many inside, but looks like way over 50 pcs)
Lactaid milk: 155NT per 2 liter (100% lactose free)
German Wieners (small sausages): 275NT for 2 packs (11 in a pack)
Bacon: 299NT for 2kg (cheap! considering supermarket sells only like 10 slices for about 100NT!)
Deluxe Bacon, Maple Bacon, Canadian Bacon: 599NT for 2kg
Toast bread: 32NT (it is about 3 longer than toast bread you get in the local bakery)
Frozen 17 inches pizza (square): 269NT
Very large bag of potato chips (such as Lays, Ruffles, Dorritos) - NT99 to NT129.
Healthy potato chips - NT199-249
M&M XXL bag (56oz, little over 1.5k) - 399NT
Crackers: Anything between 100NT to 250NT, really large bag. I personally like soda crackers, 169NT for 1200g.
Frozen Steam Bums - choose from bork and vegetables. 15pc inside, 119NT (about 8NT per one, great for breakfast, 7/11 charges about 25NT per one)

Animal needs:
Dog food (dry): 969NT for 18kg

Electronics:

USB Flash drive 4GB Sandisk Cruzer X3 579NT (193 per stick) + 100 free pictures to develop
Electric guitar set - 7499NT

Food court:
18 inches pizza (round): 300NT, 1 large slice: 60NT
Hotdog and drink: 50NT
Drink: 20NT
Coffee: 50NT
Bulgogi: 79NT
Salad: 149NT
Clam chowder: 45NT

Personal Care:
Toothbrush - NT315 for 8 toothbrushes - good quality ORAL-B, supermarkets tend to charge 120-150NT for 2 toothbrushes
Mouthwash - 3 large bottles of Cosco brand - 299NT
Sanitary napkin for ladies: 329NT for 12 packs

Clothing:
Women pack of underwear: 355NT for 6 pairs

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