Adventures in warehouse shopping

Despite the gray day and the pouring rain (our new grass is so green!), Mike and I decided to venture to Costco yesterday to try out our new membership. Mike’s boss added us onto his plan, or something like that. All I know is that he gave it to us, which was very nice of him. I had been to Sam’s Club before, but never to Costco. Warehouse shopping like that is not really my thing – I get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of product and I always feel as if I’m taking too long to do the math (is the price per unit really better, that kind of thing). However, as Mike said, we shop well together, so it was actually kind of fun.

I always like to look at what people have in their carts at the grocery store to see what it says about them. I got this from a book – I don’t know what the book was right offhand, but I remember that the lady had a lot of sugary snacks and a huge thing of laundry detergent in her cart, and the main character thought, “Her kids have bad teeth but clean clothes.” When you’re warehouse shopping, the combinations seem even more ludicrous, since there’s so much more stuff. There was a lady yesterday who had two big cases of Kleenex and about ten bottles of wine. I told Mike she was either just broken up with someone or she was going on a women’s retreat. Not long after, she passed us again, this time with two huge boxes of cookies now added to her cart. “Definitely a breakup,” I whispered.

Of course, the best thing about Costco is all the free samples. I didn’t think they’d have that many things on a Monday afternoon, but they did: ravioli, potstickers, mango juice, cheesecake, crackers, bruschetta, hummus, cheesesteak. And we had fun with that. We shouldn’t have eaten lunch.

We very meticulously wrote down prices, but we only bought a few things like toilet paper and shampoo. I wonder what that says about us? Clean hair and lots of fiber? After that, we went to Wal-Mart and compared. Everyone talks about how great the Costco prices are, and I guess they are . . . if you are used to buying name brands. But we buy Great Value (Wal-Mart brand) for so many things that the Costco prices were actually more expensive for most of the things on our list. The things where it was better were things like Cascade and Woolite and other name brands like that. So now we know that we can go to Costco for that kind of thing, but we feel good about our Wal-Mart purchases. (Except for the fact that we wish we could afford not to shop at Wal-Mart.)

I have to tell you, though, that I could not have done it alone. I would have given up. It was fun, though, to have the list of what the price per unit was and to have Mike dividing out the Wal-Mart prices on his phone (I didn’t even know our phones could do math). As we were finishing up, I turned to him and said, “I don’t think I could have done this with anyone else.” And it’s true. I would have gotten nervous that I was taking too long, and I would have felt like I was bothering the people around me, and I would have gotten frustrated with the length of our list. When I got home, I would have felt worn out. I think Mike would have been pretty exhausted if he had to do it alone as well. Instead, we laughed our way through my least favorite kinds of shopping, and when we got home I made French Onion Soup, which I don’t think I even made at all last year. It was quite good, if I do say so myself. And we relaxed and I read Kristin Lavransdatter and it was a wonderful afternoon. I definitely needed to take these days off. I am dreading going back to work tomorrow.

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