Jeff Hutcheson

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Are you giddy with excitement that as of Friday, our Atlantic bubble takes effect, and that means you can travel to Moncton and back without self-isolating for 14 days. Or, put another way, “get in the car honey, we’re going to Costco!” But is that really a good idea? Is it ever?

The last time you were at Costco was probably sometime before Christmas. If you played your cards right, you avoided the rush and went in mid-November, perhaps earlier. That means your membership has probably expired and you need to buy a new one. And that got me thinking about the actual cost of going to Costco, where, apparently huge savings, on hundreds of items we don’t use or need, but have to have, await us.

Let’s start with that membership. They call their regular membership a Gold Star membership for some reason, most likely to make you feel important. It’s $60. If you’re renewing an Executive membership, it’s $120. For the purposes of this discussion, let’s say you’re renewing a Gold Star membership. So, $60. We have just paid $60 for the right to spend money in their store.

Before you renew, you have to get there. According to the travel website Cost to travel.com (that’s an actual site, although it sounds like I simply made it up for the purpose of this discussion) you would use about $20 to $23 worth of gas to travel the roughly 160 kilometres to Moncton. A little  more for you if you’re further away from Charlottetown, a little less if you live in Borden-Carleton. 

Again, for the sake of discussion, let’s call it $40 for gas return.

Then there’s the bridge. The current toll is $48.50. I often wonder why there are no discounts of any kind at any time for the bridge, but that’s a political discussion best left to others. I do have some thoughts if you’re interested.

Hungry? You bet you will be after careening, and bobbing and weaving your way through the mass of humanity once you get there. One’s appetite tends to reach ‘growling stomach’ stage waiting in the checkout line for 30 minutes. And don’t forget, it took almost 30 minutes from the time you left the nearby highway exit to find a parking spot and actually get into the store. Thank goodness there’s free parking. I’ll assume there’s just the two of you, so it’s off to a restaurant to social distance your way to a $60 lunch (or dinner depending on how long the checkout line was) and, since one of you is driving, the good news is a lower alcohol bill.

Let’s total that up. You’ve got membership renewal, gas, the bridge and food. The total cost, just to ‘go’ to Costco is $208.50. I’m going to write that out in long form for emphasis. The total cost just to go to Costco is two hundred and eight dollars and fifty cents!

That seems like an awful lot to pay just to save 20 bucks on toilet paper and paper towels. So, the bottom line here?

Yep, I’ll see you there.

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