Let’s go ahead and establish the tone for this article right now. Costco might be the best thing to happen to the general shopping experience since the first person set up a store. Your shopping trip could easily include picking up socks, dinner, a new computer, flowers for the garden, and filling up your gas tank. Plus, it doesn’t come with all the guilt of shopping at other stores like it. Where Wal-Mart hosts food drives for its employees and actively suppresses workers’ efforts to improve their job experience, Costco is routinely ranked one of the best places to work. The company treats its employees well, has ridiculously low turnover because it actually rewards employee loyalty (and reciprocates that loyalty), provides benefits to the vast majority of workers, and voluntarily keeps markups low on products to save customers money. It’s a wholesale club with the labor philosophy of a family-owned corner store.
The company’s excellence carries into its Kirkland brand as well. Everything with the Kirkland logo on it is guaranteed to be a quality product, and that guarantee doesn’t come in the form of some corporate disclaimer or marketing stunt. It comes in the form of Costco making way better stuff than they ever needed to. Next time you find yourself in a Costco, or maybe we’ve just convinced you to start doing your weekly shopping there, make sure you give these Kirkland brand products a shot.
There are a ton of rumors flying around about Kirkland brand spirits and they’re incredibly difficult to verify. People have said Kirkland vodka is Grey Goose’s overflow and that Knob Creek and Macallan regularly supply the brand with whiskey. The prevailing theory seems to be that when high end distilleries of any number of alcohols have spirits they aren’t happy with or made too much of, Kirkland swoops in and swallows it up. Again, we can’t verify this, but if there’s truth to those rumors, it would explain a lot. For example, it would explain why Kirkland vodka costs next to nothing and doesn’t make us hate ourselves in the morning. In fact, it made us a lot more confident in vodka’s potential to be good, an opinion that’s backed up by the opinion of people who drink a lot more vodka than we do.
This isn’t a “better for the price” situation. Kirkland spirits are a high quality alternative to dropping a couple hundred bucks at the liquor store. In fact, the cult following of the brand is growing all the time and we might be saying stuff one of your friends has been saying for years. As what might be the ultimate sign that Kirkland booze is an excellent choice to stock your house, check out this post on Reddit. In a rare display of unity, every top comment is a recommendation to try their brand, and that’s if it’s not a glowing endorsement. Obviously still go ahead and get some top shelf stuff, but for everyday mixing and sipping, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with keeping a few of these bottles handy. If anything, you’re going to find out exactly which of your friends are spirit connoisseurs and which are just posing.
The butcher at Costco is one of the more appetizing to walk through. At some locations, you can watch the butchers work and they are consummate professionals. Their cuts are clean and precise, they’re more than knowledgeable, and they’re happy to help customers, even if that means recutting or redistributing what they’ve already done. They’re great at their jobs and they clearly enjoy what they’re doing, which are the two main things we use to evaluate the people who sell us stuff.
Their product is excellent too. It’s great meat and here’s another place we won’t cheapen that sentiment by adding “for the price.” The price is great too, but neither detracts from the other and you don’t have to rationalize eating one of their generic steaks the way you might have to at cheaper grocery stores. Provided you cook it right, you and your guests will be more than happy with your burgers, sausage, ribs, steaks, pork belly, hot dogs, chicken, turkey, or whatever else you buy.
Here’s a personal anecdote as support for a larger claim. Kirkland dog food made my dog happier. I brought home a few sample bags on one of my trips to the store, because it was a sample bag and the lady offered me enough to feed the dog for a few days. In those couple days, the dog looked healthier, had more energy, and was generally far happier than he had been in weeks. From then on, that’s what he’s eaten and it’s been a sustained difference from the previous food.
That also taught me that maybe the people on all those TV commercials aren’t full of shit. The paragraph I just wrote could have easily been ad copy for an annoying Blue Buffalo ad. But those are the genuine results of Kirkland dog food, at least for my own personal pet and there’s also no way for me to make it sound like I’m not currently writing a couch testimonial for a shitty ad, so I’m just going to close this by saying at least take the free sample if the lady offers you one. $39
We find it a bit weird that they don’t list their sunglasses on the Costco website. They only have two types, one athletic and one casual, but they’d be so easy to pack and ship that not listing them online seems like a missed opportunity. Especially since these are the perfect sunglasses for everyday use. They’re polarized, sturdy, and come with their own cases and microfiber cleaning cloths. The pairs we’ve seen haven’t cost more than $30, which is the perfect price for buying a decent pair for leaving in a car or by the front door. They’re stylish enough that they look like they cost more than $30. Not hundreds of dollars more, but still. More.
A Giant Wheel of Parmesan Cheese
We’ve never had the need for 72 pounds of Parmesan cheese, but now that we know it’s so accessible, we’re going to work pretty hard to find one. If we have to spend a month eating pasta and Italian soups, that’s a sacrifice we’re willing to make. Plus this isn’t a big tub of American knockoff cheese. This is genuine, imported Italian parmigiano reggiano aged for 24 months possibly in a cave. For nearly a thousand dollars, sure, but people have spent more on weirder, so we don’t think this is such a crazy thing. And when we looked around for comparable products, the best we could find was price quotes from high scale websites. Fine Italian dining is finally within grasp. $900
The attraction of this is more that it makes Costco a completely one stop shop for anything and everything you’d need in a week. You can get your shopping done, then pull the car around a corner and fill it up too. It’s probably not anything to go out of your way to get, but if you find yourself at the wholesale club and also a little low on fuel, there’s no harm in pulling around and topping up. This is going to be a specialty thing not every Costco offers, but if yours does, take advantage. Link
Outland 18” Portable Propane Fire Bowl
A wood burning firepit is a great piece for a backyard hangout, but it starts to get inconvenient when it comes to tailgating or portability in general. But switching out the wood for propane means your tailgates can still have all the charm and warmth of a healthy fire. It’s small, only about a foot and a half in diameter, but that’s more a reason to buy it than not buy it. You also don’t have to use it only for tailgating. Any event that would benefit from a small fire is a totally viable venue for this thing. Camping, poolside, even apartment balconies are perfect for this. We also like that the bowl comes with a ten foot hose for the propane tank. That’s enough that you can keep the tank out of sight while you and some friends gather around the fire. $125
Kitchen Pots and Pans
Unless you’re one of the only families in the world to pass cast iron cookware from generation to generation in a tradition stretching back hundreds of years, everyone needs to buy themselves a set of pots and pans for their kitchen. When you do, you’ll want a set that’s durable, versatile, and affordable, all words that can be and are being used to describe Kirkland’s set. For less than two hundred bucks, you can outfit your new apartment, house, vacation home, RV, cabin, or whatever other domicile you’re furnishing with every pot or pan you’ll need for good home cooking. Plus everything can be used on the stovetop or in the oven too, so you don’t even have the limitations that cheap, plastic handled pots and pans have. In fact, we may have just talked ourselves into buying a backup set. $160