I must confess that I have been to Costco before. In February 2020, my husband, Scott, and I decided it was time to join a warehouse store. It turned out to be perfect timing. While others were experiencing a toilet paper shortage, we had bought so much on our first trip that we were even had a few extra rolls to share with our less fortunate neighbors when the pandemic hit.
Since then, I have only been to Costco a handful of times. When my husband retired, he took on the responsibility of grocery shopping. But now that I too am retired, I decided it was time to join him.
I could tell that we had different approaches right from the start. Scott said he wanted to start with a $1.59 hot dog from the concession stand so that he wouldn’t be tempted to over shop. I thought it sounded like a reasonable strategy, but I really don’t like hot dogs.
So, I went to grab a cart. Scott said we did that after the hot dog. I already had the cart in my hands and said. “That’s ok, I’ll get it.” The problem occur when I realized that the cart and I were on one side of the registers and the hot dogs were on the other side.
Scott gave me an “I told you so” look. I smiled and suggested that he get his hot dog and I browse since I hadn’t been there in such a long time. The look he gave me then could best be described as slightly fearful, but the hot dog was calling his name.
So, I wandered. For those who have never been to a Costco, it is truly an amazing place. Of course, I had seen the TVs before as I entered, but there were also mattresses, dining room tables, kayaks, lighting…really anything you can think of. I was mesmerized.
Next was the bakery, meats, cheeses and the first sample station. There was a young (well maybe not young), pleasant (well not unpleasant) woman giving out samples of tortellini. At Weight Watchers, they tell you to stay away from samples like this because the calories add up. But I truly felt I needed to indulge in order to actually embrace the entire experience. The tortellini was creamy and delicious.
Suddenly, my husband was next to me. I guess the hot dog needed some company, because he was also gnashing on some tortellini.
Then he looked at my cart. Apparently, on my journey through the store several items had jumped into the cart of their own volition. “I’ll go find the things that are actually on our list,” he said and picked up another tortellini.
I was somewhat surprised he trusted me to continue on my own. Instead of continuing to shop, I decided to follow the lead of a spry 70-year-old who was moving from tasting station to tasting station gathering his lunch. I could have done without the kombucha. It was like a fruit vinegar, but overall it was yummy and I wondered why my husband needed a hot dog with all this other yummy food around.
I caught up with my husband in the snack section. He had his phone out calling me. Apparently, he thought I was lost. I knew where I was. I was sampling cashews.
The best part about being retired is going to Costco during the week when no one else is around. Check out took no time at all.
But being retired, I had to hit the restrooms before we left. When I came out, my husband said he also needed to use the restroom. So I found a place to sit down and I waited.
“Is your membership on automatic renewal?” I heard someone say. I looked up and she. was talking to me. “Is your membership on automatic renewal?” she asked again.
“I’m not sure,” I said.
She took my receipt and said, “I can tell by your receipt.”
I wasn’t sure what this was all about being as unfamiliar as I am with the inner workings of Costco.
“Yes, it is,” she declared. “You get a free case of water.”
“Really,” I said. She put a sticker on it and motioned for me to pick up the 40 bottle case. Luckily, I workout.
Just then, my husband came running towards me. “What’s this? We don’t need any water,” he said. I felt like grandma being talked out of signing up for a timeshare.
The woman turned to him. “It’s free.”
“It’s free,” I said joyfully.
He still didn’t seem convinced, but I think the whole experience of having me along was more than he could handle and he just wanted to go home.
But I’m not sure why people think they save money going to Costco, I was surprised at how high our bill was.
Still, I got free water, free lunch and racked up a few thousand steps on my Fitbit. It was a win-win for me.
Since that trip, my Costco card seems to have disappeared and there have been no other invitations forthcoming to join him. Still, I think another trip is in my future. I hear that’s where all the cool retirees hang out.
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