Well, not really... the part about being a Suburban Housewife, that is. But I do love Costco. And I'm not sure how it happened.
But, I won't bore you with the banalities of my existence. No, I have a far more interesting post planned. I'm going to bore you with the banalities of my Costco Expeditions (note the capital letters; they are intentional. Because Costco Expeditions require pre-planning and forethought. Oh, wait, that's redundant.)
The Game Plan:
- Upon entry, head immediately for the Sinai Hot Dog stand. Purchase and eat one hot dog to ensure all hunger pangs are held at bay. Sauerkraut is optional.
- Heading back toward the entry, commandeer the first available shopping cart. Try not to beg another suburbanite for their cart as they load up their car - it makes you look weak, and they will take as long as possible to load, knowing that you are at their mercy.
- Enter, and avoid all the blingy, flashy boy toys and jewelry meant to slow your progress and inflate your bill. See, if you put a large ticket item in your cart now, it'll be much easier to justify the other multitude of small ticket items later ("Well, what's $19 for 72 boxes of macaroni & cheese when I am spending $2000 on a flat-screen tv?").
- Proceed to the right-hand aisles. Traverse them as necessary, avoiding such things as bamboo chopping blocks and 2.4GH cordless phones which will fuck up your wireless router's signal at home.
- As you reach the back of the store, select your wines (Gabbiano Chianti Classico, at $7/bottle, is a nice, dependable weekday pasta wine) and spirits (Tanqueray by the gallon, anyone?)
- Do NOT enter the fresh foods area. You must now traverse the center aisle. Do not be afraid. I will guide you through this.
- Avoid any merchandise that might need to be returned (e.g., apparel or anything that you want to "take home and see how it looks in my living room") - you will never do this and it will end up at Goodwill.
- Note: The baby section is an excellent place to stock up on gifts for baby showers, if you are so inclined.
- As you clear the center aisle, you may run into cash register traffic. Steer clear, but take this opportunity to gauge the checkout employees for speed & efficiency. You'll need this information later.
- Proceed to the left side aisle. Do not be tempted to buy brands other than your favorites because they are there. I promise, you'll never let your husband use that Axe deodorant, so why waste the money?
- Pick up that 3-pack of garlic bread you're eyeing. It'll be great with that penne arrabiata you're making tomorrow night. And, don't forget the Miss May's Almonds - they are little bites of sweet & salty nuts. Mmmmm. Martinelli's apple cider is also a good buy here.
- As you reach the end of the left-side aisle, avoid most everything in the freezer cases, but look for the party keg of Virgil's Root Beer. It makes the most divine floats (they say to drink it within a day of opening, but I can tell you from experience that it will taste just fine even 48 hours later. Really, trust me on that one).
- Now, we've reached the fresh foods. I don't need to tell you to avoid the produce, unless they have Vidalia onions. Then, you have my blessing to purchase a case... or bag... whatever.
- For the remainder of this section, exercise restraint. Sausages and cured meats are good. Any fresh meat that requires you to freeze it when you get home is not. I mean, what's the point of being able to feed a small army if the meat is all grainy and mealy. Now, fresh chickens, on the other hand, are just fine. You can freeze those. Especially if they have the good free range ones. And prime rib roast, at $6.99 is wonderful... but you must cook be able to cook it within the next day or so.
- Now, traverse your way to the front of the store, as quickly as possible, not stopping for anything or anyone (except the elderly, of course).
- Use that recon you did earlier to your benefit. The shortest line is not always the fastest - other, seasoned Costco shoppers know how to spot a slow checker, and avoid his/her line.
Clear checkout, show the nice (but wholly ineffectual) person at the front door your receipt and booty (no, not your rear end, your purchases, come on now...) and prepare to be accosted by another hapless soul looking for a cart.
Congratulations! You've just made it through your first Costco Expedition!