- Icelanders are obsessed with Costco. The wholesale chain came to the Nordic island nation in May 2017, arriving to a massive reception from locals.
- Over 91,000 people – nearly a fourth of Iceland’s population – are in a Facebook group to talk about their Costco purchases and deals. Thorey Sigurjonsdottir and Omar Magnusson met in the group in 2017 and are getting married next week.
- Their baby is known as the “Costco Baby” among their friends and other Icelanders.
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Every couple has a story. For Icelandic couple Thorey Sigurjonsdottir and Omar Magnusson, that story begins with Costco.
The couple met by chance in an Icelandic Facebook group called “Keypt í Costco Ísl.-Myndir og verð” or “Bought in Costco Iceland- Pictures and prices,” a space meant for Icelanders to speak about their purchases and the deals to be found at Costco.
Over 91,000 people – or nearly a fourth of Iceland’s population – are currently in this group.
“I made a funny comment, and he saw it and thought it was funny, so he clicked on my name and sent me a message,” Sigurjonsdottir told Business Insider. “It was something about the baby tomatoes. I don’t eat tomatoes, I never have.”
But Costco tomatoes were a different story, Sigurjonsdottir said. She shared in a post to the group that she had finished three whole boxes of Costco’s baby tomatoes, despite her tendency to stay away from the fruit – and Magnusson was intrigued.
The two began speaking and decided to go on a date a few days later.
“I just wasn’t expecting really anything,” Sigurjonsdottir said. Two years later, the couple is still together, with plans to tie the knot in a private ceremony on Saturday.
“It’s a weird one,” Sigurjonsdottir says of her love story.
She and her fiancé are often at the receiving end of jokes from friends and family. When the couple had their daughter in June 2018, the child was jokingly dubbed “Costco Baby” by their friends. Sigurjonsdottir’s friends even ordered a customised bib to present to the couple at their baby shower.
“[The bib-maker] said that it had been the weirdest thing she had ever been asked to do,” Sigurjonsdottir said with a laugh, noting that the Costco jokes have somewhat died down at this point.
Sigurjonsdottir and Magnusson aren’t the only couple to have their origins in Costco. An American couple who met in a Hawaii Costco recently celebrated their fateful meeting point with a romantic wedding photoshoot in the warehouse’s aisles. The photoshoot went viral.
But a “Costco couple” might not be the strangest thing in Iceland. That’s because for Icelandic people, Costco is more than a warehouse store – it’s practically religion.
When the US-based warehouse chain opened its first Icelandic store in May 2017, people went berserk. The Facebook group that Sigurjonsdottir and Magnusson met in had more than 62,000 members – or one-fifth of the Icelandic population at the time – within a week of the store’s opening, Quartz reported.
Sigurjonsdottir, like many Icelanders, had been anticipating Costco’s arrival in 2017.
“When we heard what they were going to offer, we were really excited,” she said.
She was at the store on its opening day, where search-and-rescue teams had been employed to manage the crowds.
Costco was exciting for Icelanders for many reasons, especially the low prices for food and vegetables.
But Costco – via its Facebook pages – has unexpectedly become somewhat of a matchmaking forum for Icelandic singles.
“I’ve met a lot of women because of Costco,” said Sigurdur Solmundarson, an Icelandic comedian who became nationally known as “The Costco Guy” after he posted a viral video making fun of Iceland’s Costco obsession in the aforementioned Facebook group. After he posted the video, he began receiving messages from admiring fans – many of them women.
“It’s much better than Tinder,” Solmundarson joked, though unlike Sigurjonsdottir and Magnusson, he doesn’t anticipate a wedding any time soon.
“I just want to keep my toilet paper to myself,” he said, adding that he currently has about 200 rolls.
Unsurprisingly, he bought them at Costco.