Sunday, June 01, 2014

Costco adventure

Naver had better not be fucking with me. It's done me wrong in the past.

Naver, for those who don't know, is a popular Korean portal site where Koreans go to find out... well, just about everything. It's got a Google Maps-style map function, news, dictionaries, and links to all sorts of new and interesting things. I often use Naver to find out local movie times, and on days like today, I use it to try to navigate to places I've never been.

In this case, that place is Costco, and I didn't see a Costco that was easy to get to. The nearest branches of the warehouse giant seem to be in Daegu proper, so I selected one branch and clicked on the route-finder function to figure out how to get there. Sadly, the route requires two transfers, which is always a pain in the ass: take a local bus to Anshim Station, take the subway to Ayang School (Bridge?) Station, then take another bus the rest of the way to Costco. Naver estimates travel time at nearly 80 minutes, which means I won't be hitting Costco for fresh meat or seafood: with travel time taking that long, and with late spring in Daegu reaching temperatures of close to 100ºF, any meat would spoil en chemin. Better just to stick with the local E-Mart. That said, there are things I can buy at and tote from Costco, like American-style bacon and cheese; these products would survive an 80-minute trip home.

So I'm off, in a few minutes, to find this legendary store and to obtain a Costco membership (yes, KMA paid me). If any fellow profs are reading this and know of a Costco that's closer and more convenient to get to, let me know in the comments section.

UPDATE: Success! Costco proved to right where Naver said it was: take any local bus to Anshim Station, take the subway to Ayang-gyo Station, exit out of Exit Number 1, then take the 323-1 bus right up to Costco's foyer. Getting my membership was easy, and it cost me only W35,000 (a little over $30, US, as opposed to the US cost of around $55 for the Gold Star membership). Alas, Korean Costcos don't sell some of the things I need, like armpit deodorant. Still, they've got a wide assortment of familiar, comforting, fabulously unhealthful American products, so I bought myself two huge briques of heavy cream, a tub of crumbled Gorgonzola, and a huge multi-pack of Kirkland bacon. I was delighted to see that Daegu's Costco sells Kirkland dinner franks as well as other US hot dogs, so I'll be going back for those sometime later. A good hunt today; the gods are pleased.



Charles said...

Congrats on your new-found bounty! Having a Costco nearby is definitely a boon. That's one downside to our recent move--no Costco in the vicinity! So we have to make do with other options and then make the occasional excursion to the Yangjae Costco on our way back from a visit to the parents-in-law. Very inconvenient.

(And I'm pretty sure Ayang-gyo is going to be Ayang Bridge; I can't recall ever having seen 校 by itself at the end of a place name.)

Kevin Kim said...

For once, I like the photo on my Costco ID.

Alas, the Costco is nearly 90 minutes away, which makes it a long haul, thus preventing me from buying super-perishable things like seafood.

The Maximum Leader said...

What about a thermal insulated grocery bag? We use ours all the time. I would imagine with an ice pack or two you might get meat home. Seafood might still be dicey.

Kevin Kim said...


It's a good idea, and Costco might even sell such bags. I'll have to check. Alas, this Costco doesn't sell armpit deodorant, psyllium fiber, or good old aspirin (OTC drugs are largely government-controlled in Korea; you have to buy them at pharmacies). That doesn't bode well for other esoteric items, like thermal grocery bags.

In other news: I was delighted to see that the Daegu Costco sells Brita pitchers, but I was initially shocked by the price: W39,500 for a pitcher-plus-filter set. (The pitcher has a 3-liter capacity.) Then I checked the equivalent at, and really, it's about the same price in the US, if not more expensive. An 8-cup pitcher (roughly 2 liters) is $25 at Walmart, and a set of four filters is $19, so that's $44 right there. Maybe I should invest.