Thursday, October 14, 2010


A few weeks ago, Big Dave and I went to our local Costco after church. Brian wasn't with us, so we didn't have to endure the normal sackcloth-and-ashes routine that accompanies any unauthorized (in his opinion) stop. We consider ventures without him like training wheels for the empty nest that should occur sometime within the next two years if we're lucky. I mean, we love our kids...treasure them...and wouldn't trade them for love nor money, but we are ready for them to get off of our payroll. (And hopefully to enjoy having them admit how good they've actually had it. I'm not holding my breath.)

We entered the store after waving our membership card by the guy with the clicker by the door who was kind enough to hand us a cart. No offense meant, but I'm wondering if the person who wrote that job description in the Costco personnel manual actually got through it without laughing hysterically. I suspect it reads something like this..."Must be able to manage a clicker and hand out carts. Must not look too scary and possess the ability to say 'hello' to customers entering the store. Should be assertive enough to keep folks cruising for free snacks out...yet friendly enough to steer them to the membership desk and get them indoctrinated into the 'Costco family'. Complete and total lack of ambition considered a plus."

We steered past all of the electronics and jewelry because I draw the line at putting TVs in the bathroom and that's the only place that there isn't one. I am also SO over jewelry. Jill will just take it anyway.

We walked up the aisle and found the pool chemicals that we were looking for and hoisted the 40 pound container into the cart. Big Dave looked around and noticed that some of the "sample professionals" were getting items out, and so we slowly walked by the meat section and pretended that we were pondering the purchase of a package of ribeye steaks. We casually turned around and happily accepted a sample of some kind of ravioli that was very good but was extremely overpriced. Ravioli seems to be a big deal at Costco...and can be prepared numerous ways. My only experience with it prior to sampling at Costco was from Chef Boyardee.

We then proceeded to sample our way through the store. Because once he's had one sample...he's going to have them all. It's Big Dave's way of feeling that he's getting his money's worth to offset the annual membership fee.

I'm so serious.

It is nothing for him to have multiple samples and then to attempt to engage the person in conversation. He'll listen to their spiel and nod appreciatively. We don't just sample...we visit. Sometimes, they'll even give him some to take home if it is a bar of something...probably because they think that it will encourage him to move along.

Occasionally, we'll end up with whatever they are hawking. I mean, we've tried all sorts of interesting things as a result of these visits. Some of them have been really good like the peach mango salsa, some kind of vitamin water, and some multigrain tortilla chips that totally rock. Of course, some of them are now banned from the house - like the frozen baguettes - because we'll eat every one of them within days.

So, while he was gleefully checking out the samples, I went directly to my right and hung out for a few minutes in my version of nirvana. It is the refrigerated room that houses the vegetables and fruits. To someone who can never get cool is quite wonderful. I spend a little too much time in there, apparently, because a skinny little Asian woman stared at me like I was some kind of sick lettuce molester or something.

We browsed through the book section...which reminded me that I need a library card...and then took a cursory glance at the clothes. I glanced over at the floral section wistfully, and then moved onto the toiletries. I mean, there's just nothing like purchasing a package of Head and Shoulders that weighs more than a newborn. And then trying to wrestle with that sucker in the shower. I suppose that's easier than trying to house 144 rolls of toilet paper in your pantry, though.

But our visit was like most others...we got what we came for and a lot of things that we didn't. And we were checked out dutifully at the door by the lady with the highlighter who counted our items because heaven knows we can't be trusted to walk thirty steps from the checkout to the door (with absolutely no merchandise anywhere nearby) without being stopped.

Bottom line...I chilled out, Big Dave pigged out, and all was right with the world. Plus, I had the added benefit of walking what was probably close to a mile around that store to help offset those samples. Sounds like a win-win to me.

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