Thursday, December 2, 2010

Do you really need that?

I love Costco. I truly do. If you ask me, it is the happiest place on earth. The great thing about Costco is that very few people really *need* to go. Unless you own a small restaurant, are a family of eight, or the parent of teenage boys it just isn't necessary. There is nothing there you need. Nothing. Not only can you get your industrial sized pack of paper towels or toilet paper at Target for about the same price, Target is closer and you are pretty much guaranteed it will have what you came for in the brand you want. And you won't walk away with two DVDs you had no intention of buying (what a great price, and on Blu Ray!)the new Rock Band III, a book on WWII with pop-ups, and the assortment of greeting cards pack.

That is not the case with Costco, which is what makes it wonderful. Once you get there you start to wonder how you ever lived without some of these things. Why yes, now that you mention it, I *do* need a velour Snuggie, some micro-fleece socks in garish colors and a pack of miniature flashlights that can be stowed around the house, never to be seen again because we can't remember where we put them. The point is you never know what you will find at Costco. Things you didn't even know you needed until you saw them there. And the prices - why they must be great since you are pushing your cart around a slab concrete floor in a warehouse with small birds flying about overhead. Of course the things are a steal - you don't even get a shopping bag to cart the stuff to your car.

I have found over the years that Costco can also break your heart. Why would you start carrying a brand of lotion that I fell in love with when I bought it from you (with a coupon!), only to cruelly stop six months later and now I must buy a bottle at Rite Aid that is half the size for the same cost as your super-sized item. It can also tease - maybe we'll have it, maybe we won't. You won't know until you get here. And oh yeah, just because we don't have it today doesn't mean we *won't* have it four days from now. And just because we have that best-selling book you have been considering purchasing as a gift for your mom *today* doesn't mean it will be in stock tomorrow, or ever again for that matter.

The pressure can be deadly, but not for someone like me who has been shopping there for over two decades. I am not one of those *newbie* Costco shoppers. You know, the ones that come out with the 5 gallon tub of mayonnaise because it's such a *great deal*. I confess that in my earlier years of shopping I would get caught up in the excitement of the samples and find myself the owner of a case of frozen pigs-in-a-blanket. That box of Flents Wipe'N Clear individual packets *seemed* like a good idea at the time, but three years after the purchase I still have more than half of the case left. And then there are the things that come in Costco sized containers that you can eat all of, but shouldn't. When is it ever a good idea to get a tub of gummy bears larger than your kitchen sink? And yes, if you ate steak every night for a week you could justify the pack of fillets for that amazing price. Just verify your medical coverage beforehand to make sure it will cover your bypass surgery.

But now I am older and wiser. There are items that I buy in the ridiculous Costco sizes, but they are honestly things I use in their entirety. Yes, my family will in fact go through this entire pack of 16 hot dog buns before they go stale. Yes, this giant pack of hot dog buns goes with the giant pack of hot dogs that is next to it (four packs of 12 dogs). And yes, the three pack of super-sized bottles of ketchup will be used within a few months. Trust me. So who am I to judge the lady in line behind me with the bottle of vinegar bigger than my first born child?


  1. My dad calls Costco the Home Of The $700 Orange Juice (huh?). Let me explain: you came in for orange juice, you leave with a new DVD player.
    I was sucked in by the giagantic beach towels. Do I really need 8 beach towels? Do we even live near a beach?
    Keep writing, funny girl!!!!!

  2. How sad is it that a. you didn't need to explain the $700 orange juice analogy because I live it, and b. those are awesome beach towels. I buy some every year. At this point I could go to the beach for a month and never have to do laundry to have a clean towel.

  3. if that vinegar was balsamic, that was me! i too love costco, and i never understood how people can leave with just milk or just bread or just kitty litter. who are those people?? i have a very specific costco list, and a strategy. i rarely throw out food, i'm really careful. but i'm also a sucker for the non-perishables. 742 cookie sheets? i would TOTALLY make cookies more, if i had more cookie sheets!