Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Costco, You Beautiful Bastard

People ask me all the time why I, a single woman working at a company that provides 10-14 free gourmet meals per week, has any need for a membership at a bulk superstore.

Personally, I'd like to know why any person, single or coupled, would opt out, assuming there's a Costco location within a 100 mile radius.  Where else can you find an eight person inflatable raft, 2 carat diamond earrings, and a case of coconut water all in the same place?  The moment I step foot into this big beautiful bastard's entryway, my adrenaline starts pumping.  I flash my membership card to the retiree at the door, lock a cool grip on that school bus of a shopping cart, and I’m off.   I navigate my way through aisles of appliances, produce, paper goods, and freezer food.  Bulk bargains! Organics! Luxury! Consumerism, hooray! And long after I'm home, and I've found the last nook or cranny in which to squeeze my wholesale haul, the savings satisfaction still courses through my veins.

Not sold?  Let me share with you what it is I buy, and why it's worth it.

Shampoo/Conditioner: The Kirkland brand is top grade.   I have been to enough shi shi salons to know this stuff is the real deal, and it costs nearly the same per ounce as most Suave products.  It’s like having the choice between the McDonalds Dollar menu, and dinner at Le Cirque, for $1.15.

Q-tips: When I was little, my mom used to tell me the generic brand of Q-tips, ("cotton swabs" for those of you who wouldn't even know what the hell to call those things if it weren't for the name brand) were just as good as the box with the capital Q.  This was, of course, a bold faced lie, but my therapist tells me this is something I should stop holding against her, so let's assume some consumer report fabricated the claim.  My own inability to avert penny pinching left me with substandard swabs for many a year.  That is, until Costco entered my life.  If you come to my home today, in need of ear canal cleansing, you'll be swabbing with the good stuff.  You're welcome.

Booze: If you're looking for premium vodka, find the Grey Goose at Costco, then shift your gaze two feet to the left.  There should be a tall bottle of Kirkland signature premium distilled.  Put that in your cart and never look back.  If you're looking for microbrew beer, pick any variety case, then find a friend who likes the 4 bottles of stout that come in it  (or I guess you could just like stouts....).  If you're looking for party drink, (Bud Light, Coors Light, Miller Light) grab a 36 pack and scoff at the thought of paying eight more dollars for six fewer cans anywhere else.

Cupboard staples: You don't need a quart of vanilla extract, or a pound of bread yeast?  Who cares?  Even if you throw half of it away, it's STILL one quarter the price you’re paying the McCormick Mafia.  Consider cooking from scratch more frequently, or reverse cup-of-sugar your neighbors.  Just start knocking on doors asking if people need baking soda for anything.  Clarify that it's baking soda and not cocaine.  Maybe reserve this activity for when the cable goes out.  Actually, this sounds potentially dangerous.  On the record, I don't recommend this.  Off the record, I don't even have cable so if you want to do this, record it, and send me a link to the video, that'd be swell.

Organic Spinach:  Spinach is the only thing at Costco that is actually sold in a week supply container for my household of 1, which confuses me.  The spinach tub cooks down to about 4 servings.  Based on literally every other consumable good, I would expect them to sell the stuff in garbage bags, but they don't.  And it's still 75% cheaper than the grocery store, go figure.  

Active Apparel: Spending a ton of money on clothes you sweat in is stupid.  Sporting dumpy schweaties next to the one straight man in your spin class is a wasted opportunity.  Throwing a fashionable, though brandless zip jacket into your cart next to the 30 pack of toilet paper is nothing more than logical.

Underwear: I get how parents dragging their screaming tiny humans might forgo the socks and undies aisle at Costco, opting for the extra five minutes in line for a dollar ice cream cone the size of their tot's head because 1.  it's delicious, and 2.  these aisles are narrower and more prone to product/tiny human avalanches.  Single people, however, have no excuse.  I own Costco camisoles in every color of the rainbow, and my underpants drawer is quickly rotating toward Felina, a brand I've never heard of but that rivals Victoria's poorly kept secrets at one fifth the price.

It should be noted that I am in no way affiliated with, or compensated by Costco Wholesale. Additionally, it occurs to me that I have more to say about a store than I do the environment, world politics and modern medicine combined, which makes me question whether a reassessment of my life choices may be in order.