First Trip to Costco

Someone's Been to Costco

I just did my first shop at Costco. I haven’t joined; I went with my son, who has a membership. It has long seemed to me that despite the enormous savings, buying huge quantities of stuff for two who live in a condo doesn’t make sense. I finally decided that it does make sense to buy large quantities of certain things like paper towels, for example. Also, Costco has great labour practices and pays its employees nearly twice as much as Walmart pays. The Costco CEO is a big supporter of Obama. So shopping at Costco makes good economic and political sense.

It turns out that it is impossible to walk through Costco with a shopping cart and stick to a written list. Certain items that are not on the list—enormous jars and other containers of pickled herring, capers, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, snack crackers, almonds, peanut butter, bags of steel cut oats, Parmigiano cheese, and tomato paste —seem to leap off the shelves and into the shopping cart.

We now have enough cans of tomato paste to supply restaurants for a year or so. A huge block of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese at $20 is an enormous savings, except that we now use three times as much Parmigiano-Reggiano in recipes as we used to. I’ve had pickled herring for lunch every day for a week, and I still have plenty left.

But it’s the household and cleaning supplies from Costco—the items that were actually on the list–that really make a difference.  Laundry detergent, dish washer soap, freezer bags, garbage bags, compost bags, Swiffers both wet and dry, plastic food wrap, plastic food storage containers, aluminum foil, toilet paper, facial tissue, paper towels,—we have lifetime supplies of all these essential items, unless medical advances in things like organ transplants drastically increase lifespans.

Storage is a problem. Almost all the non-food items that we will never have to buy again are stored in the bathtub of the guest bathroom, hidden, of course, by the shower curtain. If we have overnight guests who will use the guest bathroom, we will have to move all the stuff to our bedroom, since the master bathroom has only a shower. Part of the Costco shopping strategy for condo dwellers is to stop making friends who are likely to stay overnight.

I had a dream about a lunch in our condo after my funeral. Lots of people are milling around the condo, and there seems to be plenty of room for all of them. Somehow I am there even though I am dead. As each guest leaves, I give them a can of tomato paste and a roll of paper towels. I hear my wife say to somebody, “We just can’t part with the herring.”

6 thoughts on “First Trip to Costco

  1. Love it!! You could always store stuff under the bed!! That’s where my mother in law hides her biscuits so “those boys” won’t get into them. “Those boys”? There are no boys!! She’s the one who eats the stuff! But yes, I hear you! Did one trip with Janice and Jerry when they were visiting in Victoria. I went to save money. $500.00 later … I think I’ll just shop at my local store and hope for the best.


  2. I really like your idea of handing out paper towels or tomato paste (if not herring) as ‘favours’ at your funeral.
    What is your take on this scenario: At the moment I buy 144 XL Depends at Costco (I, too, have to rely on friends or relatives – but this is great deal, far cheaper than at medical supply stores) for someone. When he dies, if he didn’t use up all the Depends, do you think it would be appropriate to ‘gift’ these at his funeral? This may seem slightly odd – however, a gardener in my complex puts a Pampers in big round planters to hold the water and prevent the soil drying out too quickly I think, so maybe there are people – if they got a note with directions – might be appreciative. What does your sense of etiquette, such as it is, tell you?


    1. Well, now I’m hoping that my dream will go viral and gifting stuff left over from Costco shopping at the funerals of Costco shoppers will become a trend, and as a result I will make tons of money from Costco running ads on my blog. But that’s my sense of greed, not etiquette talking. So yes, I think your idea of giving the leftover Pampers away to folks who attend the funeral is brilliant. Go for it.


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