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I have a confession

I realize that I am probably going to find myself in front of the firing squad for this one, but here goes…I hate Costco. I have known this for quite some time, but for some reason, every few years I find myself wondering what it is I hate so much about the warehouse store that everyone else seems to love and so I re-visit, only to reconfirm what I knew all along. Costco is a hellhole.

Last week’s hate confirmation was spurred by the fact that I was hosting a party. My BFF, a loyal Coscto member, convinced me that one trip to the great Coscto would make the entire party planning process a cinch. I fell for it. We arrived on a Friday afternoon, and were pleasantly surprised that we quickly found a parking place only a half-mile across the parking lot. After picking up our double-wide cart, she flashed her membership and we were granted access. Almost immediately, my reasons for disliking Costco came back to me, but we were there…and truth be told, I needed the party planning to be a cinch, so for the moment, I kept drinking the Kool-Aid.

We made our way past the tvs and the engagement rings heading towards the booze. I got briefly waylaid by the books table and picked up a paperback en route to the alcohol. Once there, I loaded enough beer for a fraternity party into my cart. On we went, putting massive amounts of food and drink into the cart as we went. Around each corner, we were met with sample stations peddling bite-sized portions of highlighted items. We snacked and strolled. The whole place was at the intersection of fascinating and horrifying. I mean, it’s incredibly cool to see a vat of mayonnaise big enough for my children to swim in, but you see something like that and the cold, hard reality of why Americans are so overweight hits like a ton of…well, mayonnaise.

“This place is a hellhole,” I confirmed to my BFF as I loaded twenty pounds for $10 of the dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets I usually buy my children for $7 a serving at a local restaurant.
“What are you talking about?!? Look at all the great stuff you’ve gotten!” she motioned to my cart full of beer, chicken nuggets, a barrel of hummus and a crate of raspberries.
“Okay, fine,” I conceded. “For having a party it’s okay…but for real life, it’s ridiculous.”
“No, no,” she insisted. “It’s great. I only have to buy toilet paper twice a year.”

This was her argument? For me, buying toilet paper isn’t that big of a deal. In fact, I kind of like it because it’s an excuse to go to Target and buy cool stuff that I don’t need. If she told me that coming to Costco meant that I would only have to shave my legs twice a year, I’d seriously consider membership, but simply to buy a massive amount of tp? No thanks.

“Seriously?” I asked her, giving her a chance to come up with a good reason.
“What about the samples?” she challenged.
“You’re right,” I conceded. “If you want a slice of free sausage, this is the place to come.”
She remained loyal, and continued on the defensive. “If you have eight kids, you have to shop here,” she told me.
“Do you know anyone with eight kids?” I asked.
Silence.

We stepped up to the check-out and got at the end of a line worthy of a Disneyland ride. At last our turn came and we heaved our super-sized selections onto the conveyor belt. Once again, she flashed her membership card – God-forbid somebody sneaked in and tried to buy seven thousand olives without having paid the $50 annual membership. I swiped my credit card through the machine…but there was a problem. It turned out that only the member was allowed to charge things at Coscto. So, BFF, stepped up and slipped her Amex into the machine. My items were loaded into cardboard boxes and we headed towards the exit past offerings of garage doors and caskets.

I realize I’m alone. All my friends are card carrying members. They all gush on and on about the wonderful deals on high quality products. Blah, blah, blah. Even Bethenny, my newest reality tv obsession had an on-air love affair with Costco! But seriously, we’ve all seen her apartment. Where is she going to store a million rolls of Charmin and ten gallons of hearts-of-palm?

“Admit it, you had fun,” BFF cornered me as we filled the trunk of my SUV.
“Of course I had fun,” I had to be honest. “Who wouldn’t have fun where you can buy a swingset, lobster tails, and tampons in the same place?”
She looked triumphant.
“But I’m never coming back!”
She looked deflated.

Whew. There it is. The truth is out and it’s like a weight has been lifted off my chest. I know what you’re thinking…hating Costco is un-American. It’s like hating apple pie (which I’m really just so-so on) or hating butterflies (which I actually do like – I swear). I’m sure in a couple years I’ll start to doubt myself again. By then, I’ll probably be out of dinosaur chicken nuggets, and maybe by then the almighty Coscto will have stocked up on some industrial sized product that means I’ll only have to shave my legs twice a year…and that’s when I’ll join.

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