Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Mob Rules

Being the good consumers that we are, Lily and I finally made a date with destiny and purchased a Costco membership. Really the reason we were there to buy in bulk was the party we were hosting at our house for Judah's birthday. The big 0-3! And 62 people had RSVP'd yes to our Evite, so we knew it was gonna be a rager.

So off to Costo were we to buy party platters, pastries, and paper towels. Among other things. And if you've never walked into a Costco, add it to your list of things to witness in life. It's insane. Huge numbers of people ambling around a huge warehouse with huge shopping carts, big enough for two kids to sit side-by-side in the kid seating part. It was only Thursday and it was so packed that it was hard to imagine what it would be like to go on a weekend when the regular folks aren't working. The place was so buzzing that there was barely enough room to maneuver the cart around without getting into a 20-cart pileup.

The packed atmosphere began to drive us mad after about 10 minutes. It seemed that no matter which way you turned your monstrous cart, there'd be somebody either barreling down the lane, or a cart in the middle of the aisle to go look at 1000 count bottles of Advil. I just wanted to pull over to get out from behind the "wheel", so to speak, and there's someone either staring at the warehouse ceiling standing in the place I want to pull into, or pushing their cart at a snail's pace while gabbing on the cell phone.

And then there's the samples. Costco likes to set up stations throughout the warehouse to cook up some vittles for the hungry shoppers to try out. Experienced Costco shoppers seem to know the drill and about how long things take to cook there, because it seemed that as soon as a dish popped onto a plate, five ravenous shoppers descended on the spot to gobble it up. I tried multiple times to get to the tamales, but I wasn't fast enough. Gotta go back more I guess. Or climb over people's carts like everyone else does.

As we meandered through picking up items for the party, it began to dawn on me how Costco really gets you. It's that EVERYTHING is there. You may go there to buy bulk food, but along the way you see a TV you like and think "yeah, I need one of those too", and you walk by a cross-training/treadmill-type machine and think "I'll pick that one up next time I'm here". You're at Costco, where everything is a little bit cheaper, so how could you go wrong?

We finally managed to get everything we needed for the party, and headed to the checkouts. The good thing is that Costco checkers are way more helpful than the ones at Trader Joe's. Don't get me started again. Costco likes to put your stuff in boxes instead of bags. I guess that's somehow better, but now we've got this influx of cardboard to deal with. The bulk goodies would hardly fit in the back of the wagon. As we left the equally insane parking lot, I couldn't help but wonder "is this the beginning of the end?" It might be, but I'm looking forward to that next grocery run so I can get the treadmill.