Sunday, July 3, 2011

Adventures at Costco

Courtesy of
Going to Costco is our cheap date, where we can go shopping and eat free food.  Perhaps Costco is a California phenomenon or another sign of American “over-the-top” shopping, I don’t know.  But it is a place where one pays an annual membership due, and gets to shop in its monstrous cavern of a warehouse. 
As high as the sky...

The first time I went to a Costco, I had an anxiety attack, seriously.  The shelves went way up to the sky, disappearing in a metal vaulted ceiling. Products were at the reaching level, but above that were the fork-lift products: cellophane wrapped boxes of Scott ™ facial tissue, at least two hundred pounds of them; or, maybe another hundred bottles of olive oil ready to be put on the shelves.  These loaded shelves towered over me, the consumer, and I had an anxiety attack.

Would you like a sample, ma'am?
Nothing happened, but I sat down in the lawn furniture on display, did some breathing and discovered the real reason people came here.  It was the myriad of free samples given out by cheerful employees wearing disposable caps, black aprons, and disposable food service gloves.  Oh goodness me.  The samples they were handing out, with lines wrapping all over the store!  If one wanted to try some crème Brulee truffle cheesecake, well, ‘here you go, ma’am’.  Or if one wanted to try out the new frozen pizza, or the health drink, or the jalapeno artichoke dip on a rice cracker—line up here, it is only $8.99 for two, here-you-go-ma’am.

Do you think we have enough, honey?
We joined the sea of humanity pushing our way through the warehouse from sample to sample, soon forgetting that we did indeed need to buy milk, eggs, bread, and chicken.  By the time we got to the checkout registers, our cart was filled, our bill was $150, and we did not need to make dinner when we got home.

Happy samplers

Yesterday, we took our granddaughters to Costco with their mother.  I was in charge of the girls, thinking they were innocent in the ways of free samples.  But, no.  Each held my hand, and steered me from one sample to another.  “Sunshine” climbed up on a case of diced tomatoes, and called out to her sister, “Over there!  I see one—looks like pizza.”  When it appeared that I was getting overwhelmed, they dragged me into the “Fresh Produce” room, where a blast of 40 degree air surrounded the crates of blueberries ($5.99 for 2 lbs.) and a flat of strawberries ($6.99 for 2 quarts).  “You feel better, Grandma?”

After we spent about a million dollars, we all got some frozen yogurt ($1.50 for 12 ounces) and sat on the picnic tables outside.  The girls ate it all.  I was too stuffed to move—all that free food.


  1. Talk about bulk shopping. Wow!!

  2. oh the joy of Costco...we live near the Tri-cities in Washington State. They are Kennewick, Richland and Pasco. My 7 year old calls it, Kennewick, Richland and Costco...:)

  3. cute post! when I go to Costco it takes at most 45 minutes to an hour...when my Hubby goes he there for hour and a half+. He visits ALL the sample stations and the food court. cant beat those prices. :O)
    Blessings, Joanne

  4. This looks like one of the scariest places that I can imagine. AS one who HATES shopping, you are so brave!

  5. We have a Costco here in small city Harrisonburg, Virginia, but I don't have a membership anymore (or a second small refrigerator that I once had). I recently re-considered renewing anyway, but when I got there I decided there wasn't much of anything I wanted to spend the $50 fee for that I couldn't get somewhere else--like there's a General Dollar a few hundred yards from our duplex for toilet paper, etc. But Jen has always, like your granddaughters, loved the Costco samples, so she got a few and then we went home. This was last Tuesday.

    Sounds like you had a lovely family time. That's what counts, no matter where it takes place!

    (Thanks for stopping by my blog. I've taken a three-day break from writing and blogging, but tomorrow it's on to outlining my second memoir. Thanks for your encouragement!)
    Ann Best, Memoir Author

  6. We call it grazing. If we have nothing to do that day, we'll go to Costco, BJ's or maybe even Sam's Club (not my favorite as they are Walmart and I do not like their policies). We know the route from appetizers, to entre`, to dessert. We pretend we are interested in buying, but seldom do. However, my Irish guilt sometime takes over and that super large box of chicken wings may go in my basket. It will take us a year to finish it.

  7. Oh I am chuckling. My kids do the same thing every time! It's like a kids candy store. Every sample must be tried and given a rating on it's deliciousness or disgustingness. (I know I just made that word up.) It is lovely though around Christmas time. Who needs to spend money on food instead of presents? Just go eat at Costco.


Go won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!