I just wanted to alert fellow CHs to the fact that Costco, at least the one near me, is carrying vanilla beans at ridiculously low prices. I bought 8 ounces of vanilla beans, which translates to over 40 beans, for 12 dollars. They're Indonesian in origin, and of pretty good quality (ie. not dry and brittle). So far I've only used them to make a vanilla creme anglaise, but it was great.
Hope a Costco near you offers such a deal.