Popping the Costco Cherry

Ok, friends, I have something to admit. It’s shameful, really. I don’t know how I made it this far in life without experiencing this one, truly American thing:

Today I popped my Costco cherry.

My friend JP and I had to pick up the necessary fixins for a fiesta tomorrow (read: booze and pickles. You know, the essentials). I asked him if he had a Costco card. Many of my friends have spoken of this magical land where you can buy hundreds of cheesesticks for mere pennies. This must be a good place to go shopping for a party. JP, being the reliable friend he is, had a Costco card. And naturally he thought I knew what I was doing.

Boy, was he wrong.

First off, let’s talk about the parking lot at Costco. I’ve never dodged more obstacles in my life. What is it about Costco that makes people think it’s perfectly fine to saunter about while their fellow Angelenos gun their engines to find the closest spot?

After talking myself down from a parking induced panic attack, I quickly found JP. How else would I get into this exclusive club without the man with our passes? JP flashed his “Executive Card,” which I was initially impressed with, but then let down when he told me everyone is an Executive at Costco. It’s like giving a trophy to every kid on the Little League team- even the kid who picks flowers and his nose and who knows what else in center field. Lame.

But once I walked in it was walking into a dream. A dream filled with anything my little consumer’s heart could possibly desire. I found so many things I didn’t know I needed. Sure, I don’t surf, but a board was only $99?!? That sounded like a steal. WANT. But, alas, we had serious shopping to do. On to the booze we went.

Upon arrival at the wine section I was distracted by nice ladies in hairnets offering me free samples of food. Now THIS I could get into. JP then informed me that the samples were better on the weekends. I felt slightly cheated, but I still nibbled on everything I passed. Who cares if I kinda hate stuffed chicken. It was free, and free is delicious.

JP and I found everything on our list. He was careful not to let me wander, which was quite wise. I may have ended up buying an air conditioning unit, not because I need one, but because it was cheap. And oooh, look at that 12 person tent! Who cares if only a handful of my friends camp and I have nowhere to keep it. It’s CHEAP!!!

While checking out I discovered that Costco is the land of cognitive dissonance. Why? Because you have to pay with a debit card, AMEX, or cash. What?!? This is America, where I can buy a tub of mayonnaise for 50 cents. What do you mean I can’t buy now and pay later? My credit card felt shunned, like it was a college boy who got into the Playboy Mansion, only to be kicked out for wearing the wrong pajamas.

Everything worked out, though. JP came through and rescued me in line (thanks, buddy) and said he would buy me dinner. Oooh, I thought. Where would JP take me? (JP is known for picking the best restaurants). We walked outside, put our booze and pickles in the car, and walked right back to Costco.

And this is where Costco exceeded all of my expectations.

We got two hot dogs, two drinks, a weird giant hot pocket thing called a Chicken Bake (more stuffed chicken), a turkey sandwich, and a churro for the whopping total of $11.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!? AWESOME.

Ok, it was awesome at the time. Now I just feel like I have a brick in my stomach.

All and all, I would say our trip to Costco was a success. And I feel better knowing now that I am more like my fellow Americans.

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