Monday, November 3, 2008

Lunch at Costco

Is it an oxymoron to say, "I save money at Costco"? The fact is, they have an amazing marketing program that convinces me to pay them $50 per year just for the privilege of shopping in a warehouse environment with a concrete floor. Nordstrom's it is not. Macy's it is not. It's not even a shoe store, for goodness sake!

Now that I think about it, I PAY them to let me push around an over-sized cart with squeaky wheels that leads by brute force in a direction that I do not aspire to go. I fight with all my upper body strength to keep the vehicle headed toward the Diet Cokes, bottled water, toilet paper (can I say that?) and paper towels. No soft music, no pretty displays, no sale racks.

But they do have free snacks. I struggle with this. I have my snobbish reputation to protect, after all. What do I struggle over? Why do I struggle so? I battle on several levels.

There is the obvious: Do I really want to stand in line for free food? If there happens to be no line and I can walk by and pick up and consume the bite-sized morsel in an inconspicuous fashion, that's one thing. I can have it in my mouth and swallowed before I pass the trash can to dispose of the tiny napkin and toothpick. But when there is a line, I am faced with a decision. How long will I stand and wait for a one-inch square of microwaved pizza? Will I wait for the one person in line in front of me? Perhaps. But three people and a child? Absolutely not! I have my standards.

There is an upside. If I am just a bit tolerant and make my rounds, I can have a fairly fulfilling lunch within an hour of wandering from station to station. Sometimes I may even hit the same station two or three times if I think the little lady will not notice.

Oh, but do not underestimate these little sample ladies. True. Some never look up or acknowledge my presence. But there are those friendly ones who, on my third pass, say something like, "These little wienies really are tasty, aren't they? You can find them on aisle 7 next to the chicken nuggets." Then I feel like I have taken advantage of her generosity and should go buy the 25 pound package of cocktail wienies that will fulfill my party requirements for the next 12 years...ok, longer than that. (I know you are thinking, "She gives parties? I've never been invited.") Truth is, I threw a party in 1982. No one came. I haven't tried since.

But the struggle continues. Do I buy the 10 pounds of Cheerios in the plastic bag? Do I really need 5 pounds of face cream? But its such a good deal...think what it would cost at the cosmetic counter in Macy's!

The guy at the door counts the number of items in my directionally challenged shopping cart as I'm still trying to figure out how I saved so much money if I just paid $352 for Diet Cokes, bottled water, toilet paper, paper towels, party wienies and moisturizer.

Oh, well! At least I won't have to stop for lunch on the way home.


Kristen said...

i just love your blog! You hit the nail on the head with this one... i had the same experience this week i spent like $70 and came out with face cream, deoderant, cheerios, paper towels and toilet paper. haha but it's such a good deal right?! Thanks for the laugh today!

Joy said...

Thanks, Kristen!

Anonymous said...

And you want to teach your aunt how to shop!!! I didn't know it would include lunch on the go!!!

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