Costco: Or Why I Might Be On A Terrorist Watch List

Costco exhausts me. You know how the elderly have to distribute their obligations across an entire week (laundry on Tuesday, drugstore on Thursday, etc.) because everything is so damn tiring? That’s how I am with Costco. I walk into that warehouse and, I’m not just wiped, I’m done for the day.

Management realizes the stamina required to get from hygiene to produce and then back up again to computer supplies— that’s why they set up sample stands at every aisle. Those noble men and women in their red hats and aprons dispensing bites of dumplings or pizza bagels are as essential to the process as are the individuals handing out cups of water along marathon routes.  And that, of course, makes me the runner. I’m bent at a forty five-degree angle in order to push the oversized cart, which by the time I reach the cereal section is already piled with goods, and setting my sights on the next table equipped with a mini oven and toothpicks is the only thing fueling me from section to section.

By the time I slump my way to the cashier, my cart is teeming— one sharp turn away from a wreck— but there’s no getting around the sheer amount of product. There might be only four items in the carriage, but it’s the quantity of those four items that demands such space. If I want to shave my legs, I have to buy 52 razors. When I walk out with that many blades, I know the cashier is wondering what manner of forestry I’m hiding under my cardigan. And their Parmesan cheese container has such a circumference that it requires two hands to palm. When I’m topping off my spaghetti, I feel like a baby gripping its bottle of milk. (Costco sells 50% of the world’s supply of cashews. Half of the world’s provisions at one franchise!) Caskets may be the only item Costco sells in moderation, although I’ve honestly never looked into it. They very well might come in twelve-packs.

Despite what my local grocery bagger might think (every time I pull up to checkout, he says, “Big family, huh?”), I am part of a small household. The second smallest possible, actually. Two. Costco was not made for families like ours. The toilet paper I bought in June 2011 is still in reserves. We live in a one-bedroom apartment, and I have a roll of toilet paper in every cabinet, nook, and drawer. I continue to find toilet paper like parents continue to find Easter eggs they forgot they hid. Then there’s the canola oil. Olive oil is our oil of choice; it’s what we use to sauté onions and garlic, which is the foundation for pretty much every meal. But, occasionally, I bake muffins, so when I spotted the industrial sized canola oil at Costco, I thought to myself, that would be better for muffins, and without due process, I bought it. Do you know how many batches of banana walnut muffins I’ll have to bake to get through that vat of oil? 320. Breakfast at my place?

And this is why I fear that I might be on a domestic terrorist watch list.

The FBI has labeled bulk food purchase (more than seven days worth) as potential terrorist activity, and God knows it’s going to take more than a week for my Phil and I to eat our way through three pounds of almonds.

I don’t blame the Feds. I’ll be the first to admit that my behavior is suspicious. What do I, a childless woman of 25, need with twelve pounds of peanut butter? The authorities would sooner assume that I’m improvising some manner of Skippy Super Chunky explosive device than that we eat the creamy protein by the spoonful to stave off hunger pains. (Government suspicion may be heightened by my recent Google search, “Can you make a bomb with peanut butter?” The scary thing is– somebody already asked that question on Wikianswers.) I can just see myself cordoned off in a small, stark room with nothing but a metal table and a spotlight, an agent over me screaming, “But twelve pounds of it? Cut the bull***t. Why do you need that amount of whipped nut?”

The truth is, of course, that I don’t. I don’t need 25 lbs of potatoes, 500 Ziploc sandwich bags, 5 quarts of liquid plumber, 2,400 sheets of computer paper, 700 coffee filters, or 10 cans of water chestnuts. But I can’t resist. I can’t resist the idea of never having to shop for water chestnuts again, and I can’t resist the suggestion that, by purchasing my year’s supply of toilet paper upfront, I’m saving. That is the allure. It’s why Costco has 58 million members worldwide, and why its security is tighter than an airport (they demand to see your membership card at the door, screen your receipt on your way out, and last week the cashier asked me for three forms of identification). It’s why customers will put up with quirky eccentricities like only accepting American Express and, despite stocking boxes of 200 count kitchen garbage bags, that there is no plastic in sight at the end of checkout, so after being fatigued by towers of goods, you now have to face lugging all of your purchases from cart to car and from car to home without the help of handles.

Nevertheless, four Sundays a year I devote to my Costco pilgrimages, because wholesale prices and eliminating extraneous shopping excursions is a gift worth subscribing to.

256 thoughts on “Costco: Or Why I Might Be On A Terrorist Watch List

  1. I gotta say I am so glad that I have NEVER been to Cotsco. I do my grocery runs weekly and honestly I need to keep it that way. Bulks and bargains are my friend hence why I am always at savers but I dont need more than I have. My mind however likes to only think about savings rather than need. So thanks to this post I will avoid Cotsco like the plague so I dont end up on a terrorist watch list right along side you ;)

      • Of course, who is to say that I won’t consume a 12 lb tub of peanut butter in 6 days? Despite being a wiry little son-of-a-gun, I can steal eat my way through a 2 lb bag of taco chips in less time than I’m willing to admit.

        If shopping for more than 6 days worth of supplies is a crime, consider me guilty. I like having things on hand so that I don’t have to run to the store for every little thing. Besides, isn’t the saying “buy bulk and save”? If you constantly have to buy small sized containers of everything, you’re killing your pocketbook, the environment, and your car with all the trips to the store.

    • On the plus side (I’d like to swear in advance that I didn’t intend it the way that’s going to sound in roughly two more seconds) we’re talking food portions as defined by an American organization, so Costco shopping trips are probably on the safe list. :D

  2. Check out my post: Costco Totally Made My Day… the Costco jokes are endless :) Did you know that toilet paper is actually their top seller??

  3. LOL! I especially like your perspective on why the “sample people” are there; sustenance is essential for walking the vast distances of a Costco warehouse. And if you need a helper to plow through all those banana muffins (perhaps you could add some of the peanut butter to escape the nefarious clutches of the FBI?), I will cheerfully volunteer. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! :-)

    • Agreed. That was a unique take on why there are so many food samples being handed out in Costco. I will never pass a stand without trying a sample anymore.
      I must admit I am happy to avoid the Costco madness after moving to Europe. Here nothing is sold in bulk, nor are prices cheaper when you buy in bulk. Considering how much food and supplies I ended up throwing out every time I moved house in the US, due to these bulk purchases, I think I spend less money on groceries in Europe, as I waste much less.

      • I like shopping in Europe, too. For me, something as simple as wandering around a grocery store is an adventure, because I like seeing what’s the same and what’s different. European packaging seems to be smaller overall, but as you said, you’re less likely to waste what you buy.

      • I don’t know where in Europe you are, but I can assure you we *do* have such places! France has Carrefour and the UK has Makro. I have learnt to be disciplined about my trips to Makro…cat litter (it’s half the price there to anywhere else), toilet paper (my hot water tank is insulated by the toilet paper packages packed around it) and J2O (when on offer) are my main purchases there. I try not to look at too much else.
        It’s the special Makro Mail deals you have to watch out for….!!

  4. Hilarious piece…I myself am I Cost-Co shopper and feel like I am saving, although I’ve never checked if I actually am! I also have my toilet paper in bulk- I can sleep peacefully knowing that we won’t be running out anytime soon. :-/

  5. Awesome post! I totally agree with you. Have you tried their chocolate covered almonds?! They are fantastic! If you limit yourself to 11 almonds (1 serving) a day, they will last a long time! (that’s healthy, right?)
    I tried their peanut butter, but I’d rather do mine at home, so I buy peanuts in bulk! Is that better?

    Let us know if the feds take you in for questioning, I might have to adjust my buying habits at Costco if they do.

    • I wouldn’t mind shopping there for – of course! – toilet paper, as you can stash that stuff anywhere, but their obstinate refusal to install a 10-items-or-less aisle or two keeps me from going there more than a couple times a year. I reeeeeeeeally hate pushing their carts around, and – as I tell myself every damn time I walk in there – “I only need a handful of things!” Then I stand in line and entertain everybody else by unsuccessfully juggling a pack of toilet paper bigger than me, ten pounds of chicken breast, an industrial sized box of feminine hygiene products, and a large box of chocolate bars (because.. you know… they’re cheaper that way… so I’m saving money by buying… an entire box… at…SHUT UP!)

  6. I’ve never been to Cosco, but I have shopped at Sams, however, which seems to be similar.

    In fact, I think I still have some of the Tide I bought there 10 years ago–the detergent that keeps on giving. Sure I have to hammer out the lumps to use it, but damn–it was a bargain.

    Very funny post!

    Hugs,
    Kathy

  7. I grew up in a transitional family. Three kids during the week, six kids on the weekends. We were big Sam’s Club shoppers. When my husband and I lived in Hawaii, Sam’s Club was one of the few grocery stores with mainland roots, and I would go just for the comforting trip down memory lane. But it got out of hand. Pounds of frozen General Tso’s chicken, pounds of white rice… I didn’t know how to cook then, suffice it to say. It was a huge source of our overeating and overusing habits. I don’t miss it!

      • It’s a problem of a privileged society. :) My husband recently did a project for school and found research saying we end up discarding something like 30% of our usable food. I have a pineapple and green beans in my refrigerator right now that need to be eaten quickly…

      • You don’t really have to worry about expiration dates! They DO NOT indicate spoilage, but a possible loss of vitamins. Unless you are talking about lettuce or milk…?

        I wrote a whole post on expiration dates and what they all really mean… that just might help curb your overindulgence! :-)

        And it is wise to stock up on food that will last for far longer than a measly seven days! My husband has been unemployed for the past two months and our “stockpiled” supplies (including that precious toilet paper!!!) have kept us from needing to purchase very much. That is a good thing, since we has NO income for 8 l-o-n-g weeks. The Feds are just trying to control us even more… and THEY need to stay out of MY pantry!
        Blessings, ~Mrs. R

  8. 7 days? Really? I do my grocery shopping online, and to qualify for free delivery I have to spend >£50. I am a one person household! How fast do they think I can eat £50 of groceries?!

  9. I live for Costco. We have five kids, 11-19 – I bring them along to help carry the stuff. I get my membership money’s worth in the sheer amount of samples these guys put away, and then on the way out, we hit the lunch counter. Six hotdogs and drinks for 9 bucks! You can’t beat that. And nowhere else can you find the huge 4lb. jars of peanut butter for $4. When that stuff’s on sale, I get 10!
    Now, though, every time I hear a siren, I will panic. I didn’t know about the seven day thing. We’re pooched.

  10. ha! I am suspicious of your behavior…although, I was out of toilet paper for a day and would have given anything to have a year supply of it right when I went to reach for it!

  11. We wind up in Costco twice a month – we try to time it so that our Sam’s Club trip is on the same two days of each month. Toilet paper from Costco, when one has a husband, three teenagers, and assorted friends, as well as rescued and fostered dogs, cats and puppies, in and out of the house on a regular basis, is a necessity. I also buy milk, cereal, ravioli, Log Cabin syrup, fruit, ECO laundry soap, Ziplock baggies, aluminum foil, olive oil, all meds (RX & OTC), & pistachios at Costco. You can get FIVE POUNDS OF PRE-SHELLED PISTACHIOS FOR $18 at Costco!!! Sam’s Club is my provider for white vinegar (great in laundry & for cleaning crates, kennels, and floors with mysterious yellow puddles), eggs (though in 6 months my hens should be laying – I hope), cheese, canola oil, and peanut butter.

    Come to think of it, with that shopping list I’m probably on the watch list too. I’m pretty sure my phone is tapped…

    (Sneaks off to hide under a desk & think paranoid thoughts)

  12. The FBI will use any excuse they can to put people on a watch list. As long as you don’t successfully spread peace, freedom, or independence, they will refrain from assassinating you in your sleep like they did with Huey P Newton.

  13. Clearly, every farm family in America qualifies for the watchlist. Most farmers I know buy enough food to last a month or more. It’s why THEY are all Sams or Costco members. Sheesh. We’re out of control.

  14. I’m sure you could allay the FBI’s suspicion of your bulk food purchases with a trip to the gun store. That ought to prove you’re a good ol’ Amurkin! :-)

  15. I hate the places and I go. I don’t go to Costco. I have a membership there too but I prefer the icky Sam’s. Why? Because all the other “moms are at Costco. I go with no makeup on and we hair because I am going to need to take a nap after. Great story.

  16. Four Sunday’s a year? I wish I only had to go that often, we’re one-a-month er’s. And last month I made the mistake of thinking I could carry two very large stuffed bears without the assistance of a cart. Those damn things were bigger than me and had to weigh in at about 15 pounds each. I was not visible, it was just twin bears walking down the aisles of Costco.

  17. Congratulations being Freshly Pressed. Are you having a heart attack yet looking at your daily stats? LOL. I feel ya on the Costco. They should have rickshaws at all Super Wal Marts and Costcos. Those dudes could rake in some serious cash when we need to go back 32 aisles for the gallon of ketchup we forgot, LOL.

  18. My wife and I used to shop at Costco, but we seemed to always buy more than we needed at that time. I mean, I only need one tube of toothpaste, not 6. So chances are that we are no longer on the FBI’s list :)

  19. Many congrats on being Freshly Pressed. Ah, Costco. It’s sort of its own country, isn’t it? Even citizens of the real world become Costcoized and grab tiny samples of food they don’t even like just because it’s free. And purchase 12 lbs of flour at a time even though they don’t bake.

  20. I’m actually on my way out the door to shop there now. I will be laughing the whole trip thanks to you. Hilarious!

    What always gets me about Cost-co is how they move things around. Every time I go I have to hunt for what I want only to find out they don’t have it anymore. At least I get my exercise.

    Congrats on being freshly pressed!

  21. “When I walk out with that many blades, I know the cashier is wondering what manner of forestry I’m hiding under my cardigan.”

    I have tears of laughter and my colleagues wonder what the hell is so funny. :-) I use the sample stands as bribery to get the kid to go into Costco with me…he sometimes refuses. Great writing!

  22. Haha, hilarious! I lived alone in Vancouver and felt like a freak walking out of Costco with industrial-sized bottles of shampoo and enough granola bars to feed an elementary school. Especially considering I had to take the bus home. :)

    Great post!

  23. Hilarious…because it’s so true! We just went to Costco twice in one week and have a freezer full of sticky buns because we could not resist them. We have also started having to be inventive finding places to keep toilet roll.

  24. This post has inspired me to leave samples around the house for my children, who seem to think it’s a chore to walk up the steps to put their own socks away. I really want Costco to give me one of their carts as a gift for being such a great customer, but alas, they cannot be persuaded, even though I wrote them a lovely poem and posted it on their FB page. http://fiveintow.com/2012/02/16/ode-to-the-costo-cart/
    You should send them this post as well. :)

  25. Oh my how the gov’t has changed – I seem to recall reading about how they used to encourage people to store extra food in case of emergencies and that’s why my grandparents had a huge pantry full of food “in case we get storm stayed or there is some sort of emergency and we can’t get to the grocery store you know! they always tell you to have emergency supplies on hand!” of course those pantries would have weeks worth of food in them, and what about the people with fully stocked bomb shelters? I guess they are all terrorists now ;) and I hear you about the Costco trips. I am also part of one of those tiny 2 people families, and while we don’t buy much there, there are still some things that are just way cheaper there (like Jelly Bellies – I was shocked when my bf pointed that out to me, but he loves them and yes they are disturbingly cheaper there… not that they are a necessity but if it’s something you were going to buy anyways, why not buy it for less?) and some energy bars that we like for lunches, many stores will only sell them individually or in small boxes for very high prices, Costco sells them in huge boxes for what works out to a less than a dollar a bar, so we’re pretty thrilled! But the parking lot is always nuts, the people in the store always seem half crazed, it’s on the opposite end of town from where we live, and it’s generally a mad house so you really have to want to go there… plus now as you mention – all Costco shoppers might be on a list some where as suspected terrorists ;)

  26. This post is ingenious! Extremely clever and I am kicking myself for not making the connections, myself.

  27. This had me in hysterics Thankyou! I love Costco, sometimes (abit like IKEA) we go just to have an excuse to have the pizza! The security is crazy but I kind of like it…as if you could smuggle 200 toilet rolls out of there… X

  28. That is hilarious! Even funnier because IT’S TRUE! It’s good to know that I am not the only one shopping in Costco when, really, I could stock my family’s cupboards just fine at 7-11. You may have also helped solve the riddle of the nondescript white van parked two doors down for the past week. Hmmmm….

  29. I have a similar post about Costco, but mine focuses more on how they hawk stuff at you even though you PAY THEM good money to shop there!! I mean think about it…we pony up $60 of our hard earned money each year, for the privilege of walking into the store and, apparently, being little terrorists-in-training! Not to mention the sample ladies that hawk at you like carnies as you walk by. And then, to me the ultimate insult is coming up to the cash register and plunking down money for your two years supply of TP, then there’s a gal that comes by and scans your card, then hard-sells you on an Executive Membership of an American Express card. Really?? REALLY?? All I want to do is shop in peace and be left alone. Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE shopping at Costco, but I still can’t believe I have to run the gauntlet people pushing things for you to buy. Makes me crazy. I would think that by paying $60 a year I could shop without being harassed. But then, let me tell you how I really feel. LOL Great post. :)

  30. What makes me crazy is how they hawk stuff at you even though you PAY THEM good money to shop there!! I mean think about it…we pony up $60 of our hard-earned money each year for the privilege of walking into the store and, apparently, being little terrorists-in-training! Not to mention the sample ladies that hawk at you like carnies as you walk by. And then, to me the ultimate insult is coming up to the cash register and plunking down money for your two years supply of TP, and a clerk comes by and scans your card, then hard-sells you on an Executive Membership of an American Express card. Really?? REALLY?? All I want to do is shop in peace and be left alone. Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE shopping at Costco, but I still can’t believe I have to run the gauntlet people pushing things for you to buy. Makes me crazy. I would think that by paying $60 a year I could shop without being harassed. But then, let me tell you how I really feel. LOL Great post. :)

  31. lol In my area, Costco is the place to be. lol It is like a club. My mom also works there. She is one of those food demo people. Fun. :) I love Costco myself. :)

  32. Ahhh hilarious! The toilet paper in every closet of your one-bedroom ha! That sounded just like me, even had some in the closet next to my sweaters in my one-bedroom. That Canola Oil … that was too funny.

    But as a mom with two kids under the age of three I love Costco for the diapers, wipes, and OxiClean. As for mom she loves those brownie bites Oh…. I eat the entire tub by myself. Chocolate at Costco can be dangerous for me.

    Great, great post! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed … well deserved.

  33. Free samples always gets me too! Sometimes when I’m too lazy to cook, I just go to Costco for the free samples. I always end up having too much of everything after my monthly Costco run. Loved your writing! Too funny!

  34. Now that’s a lot of stuff to get. I think I’ve been in a Costco maybe once or twice. I don’t have a membership though. I went to pick up something for a past job I had. Lol…Do you really hide the toilet paper in different places around the house? If you do, can I ask why that is? Your post is pretty funny!

  35. Wow! I couldn’t stop laughing at the memories your laugh-provoking entry aroused from my trips to Costco with my parents. That infamous cart and pushing it around at a 45-degree angle…and the samples, those wicked models of necessary sustenance for a long trek around the store, cart in tow. Thank you for brightening my day with some much-needed humor.

  36. There truly is no dignified way to buy some things at Costco. Scratch that. There’s truly no dignified way to buy ANYTHING at Costco. Your post highlights an absolutely ridiculous truth about the American shopping experience. Try not to destroy any sensitive government offices with all that grated parm, ok? Thanks for the laugh :)

  37. With that much toilet paper, you’re clearly planning some terrorist activity, like TPing somebody’s house. Call in the SWAT team.

    If I buy five pounds of hummus for a party and you never hear from me again, you’ll know why.

  38. ‘ I can just see myself cordoned off in a small, stark room with nothing but a metal table and a spotlight, an agent over me screaming, “But twelve pounds of it? Cut the bull***t. Why do you need that amount of whipped nut?”’ LMAO Brilliant post, thanks! And congrats on getting Freshly Pressed!

  39. That’s the way it is in Aus too! If a person buys more than 3 packets of toilet paper in one shop, then they’re on the list, same with bottles of bleach. As important as security is, sometimes, it’s a question of realistic thought! Great post!

  40. Very entertaining indeed. All my co-workers rave about Costco. they even swap stories in the mornings before we begin work. I have actually never shopped there. Sort of a “don’t encourage big businesses taking over small businesses” thing….but that is my own personal war. Fantastic post!

  41. Very funny post. I have never seen a Costco, but I know how easily one can get out of hand with bulk purchases. We became members of BJ’s when my first daughter was a baby (solely for the diapers)… but then we realized that we were spending money on things that we didn’t necessarily need, just because it was a ‘savings’. After a while, that kind of theory just didn’t ‘add up’! lol. By the time our second daughter came along, they were selling bulk diapers in the regular grocery stores… or we may have ended up on that list as well.

  42. Love your post! But, really people (posters), isn’t blaming our overspending on Costco a bit like blaming the nation’s obesity on McDonald’s? Whatever happened to self-discipline/self-restraint?? I gotta admit that I love Costco and go there whenever the mood strikes me. We just had a new Costco open up not 5 miles away, and i went to their grand opening today. It was awesome… Like going to the “Taste of Costco” with all the free samples and yummy new selections. Just buy what you need and walk away, my friends. Fun post! Thanks!

  43. I just remembered I did an entire post about one of these stores too. Ha ha! Great minds. My kids thought ALL of the people who were in the “missing” pictures on the way our of Sam’s Club had all gone missing in that very store. I couldn’t figure out why they hated going there! Ha ha! Such a boring place to have so many stories! Mine is called “Child missing, store is eating kids again.”

  44. Is it wrong that that post makes me want to go to Costco even more? :) Have never been, but it sounds worth a trip just to gape around, or do a Homer Simpson and grab a free lunch of samples!

  45. I have never been to a Costco. Now I am sad. I NEED 12lbs of peanut butter and a box of 300 tampons! NEED! And I’ll stock up on some caskets, too. I know I’ll need at LEAST one.

  46. Now I want to respond to the person on wiki.answers. (And now the government is going to be after me too, since I had to find out if you were right.)

  47. Well done! I myself found it very comforting to know I had an endless supply of Goldfish crackers in the basement. When my local warehouse store closed I was distraught, but somehow found a way to survive. And now at least I know I’m off the FBI’s list – thank goodness!

  48. We moved to Viet Nam for 3 years. Two shops we miss the most? Costco and Target. I will be buying their stocks! Great post. You’re hilarious.

  49. Congratulations on being freshly pressed, thanks for the good read! This post was funny, and thought provoking. You are right in asking if it is really necessary to buy everything in bulk!? or even good for the environment? The statistic you gave about Costco selling 50% of the world’s cashews is nuts! :)

    We are raising three boys under the age of 5, and I am constantly going to the store. Costco’s produce is actually pretty affordable, but at what cost?

  50. My family say Costco has an entry fee of $200 per half hour as that’s what the seem to spend each visit. Great value runs out when you purchase so many things you don’t need!

  51. You crack me up. I think I spent more money at Costco before I had children…I just can’t imagine taking two little boys into a warehouse full of food, toys and non-essential items that come in bulk. I, like you, can’t resist the 26 pairs of socks per pack for my kids, even though they will outgrow them by the time they wear the 11th pair. Cheers to your terrific post!

  52. Very funny post! On a more serious note…the two of us shop at Costco once a year and mail our groceries to ourselves in the Alaska bush. We LOVE it! It takes three days to get it all together, and, yes, we do save money. We blogged about the whole process -http://wp.me/p1305P-Dj. I know it doesn’t sound fun…but we really enjoy it. I think we enjoy it because we do find Costco products to be high quality. And their employees seem to be well taken care of. And the snacks are Yummy!
    Greetings from north of the Arctic Circle.

  53. Wasn’t there a MacGyver episode where he converted a Costco 5 lb. brick of Philadelphia Cream Cheese into enough C4 to vaporise the enemy’s compound using the brine from a barrel of Kalamata olives?

    Great post!

  54. Great post. I live in Korea and I travel intercity with an empty suitcase to my nearest Costco for a vague taste of home – always ending up with such ridiculous purchases. My freezer’s now jammed with a 7lb bag of frozen strawberries and 72 breakfast muffins, but I can’t fit much in the fridge thanks to a jar of pesto I bought the size of a doll’s house!

  55. Hysterical. This is superb writing. But, for those of us who ARE preppers, doomsayers, anti-obamanites, WE are PREPARED for the “end of the world.” I mean, I’ll ‘wipe up’ bigtime (gold coins only, please, no FedReserve notes) when all the toilet paper in my municipality is gone, and we are all using outhouses or latrines, once the grid goes down. Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha.

    50% of the world’s cashews? really?

  56. I like how you wrote that Costco is “high security”. I find it funny that they have to check your receipt against what is in your grocery cart before you leave the store. How do sneak 25 lbs. of peanut butter out the door anyways? And I also find it funny that like you and your husband, my mother and father are the only ones in the household now, yet they keep going to Costco as if they still have 3 kids living with them. Thankfully, Costco has the free sample carts dispersed throughout the store to keep customers’ energy levels up during the tiresome shopping in their big warehouse!

  57. Here’s one nefarious use of that 25lbs. of peanut butter you may not have thought about. My ex-husband stalked me for a number of years. After we separated and were living apart, but before my divorce (my state requires a year of living separately before you can officially file for divorce), he hacked my email account, and found out I had a lover.

    He tracked this man down, who I had been seeing for about fourteen months, and because of reading our email exchanges, he knew that the most important thing in this man’s life was his beloved pet dogs. My ex then went to Costco (presumably) and purchased an enormous amount of peanut butter, and D-Con rodenticide. He mixed the poison and the peanut butter, then dumped it inside the large fenced in yard that this man had on his property to exercise his dogs. Yes, he was convicted criminally, and yes he appealed, and it was upheld. He was stupid enough to think that dogs would be capable of snarfing up twenty lbs of peanut butter, with slow acting poison, and leave no evidence behind. It’s not like it melts away in the rain, or kills quickly.

    Also, the feds are tracking bulk purchases in case they need to come and confiscate goods, should something dire happen to us. That’s why guns and ammo are in short supply, along with pallets of toilet paper and giant bags of flour and rice. Happy shopping.

  58. I think the previous owner of our house in Florida must have been a COSTCO addict. They left behind 6 giant packs of toilet rolls in the cupboards. I’m still wading through them, a year later. ;)

  59. COSTCO!!! I love Costco…at least most of the time…except when all those other annoying shoppers rudely block the aisles and run into my heels with their carts, of course. Have been a Costco shopper since 1989 – and darn proud of it! – although I certainly don’t “need” to shop there nearly as much since my kids are grown. I actually know where Kirkland (the town) is…and have been by the original Costco headquarters many times. Had to get a club membership at another similar store (which shall remain nameless) since Costco wasn’t in Oklahoma when we lived there…I called that store the imitation Costco.

  60. Did you know that there is an hour long tv show about Costco? Showed things like how they manufacture and test the toilet paper and their wine buying process. Did you know that they are the largest fine wine buyer in the world? I think the fact that I watched the whole thing put me on the You-Might-Need-More-Excitement-In-Your-Life List.

  61. Reblogged this on Live&Learn and commented:
    This is my family every week. I don’t know if we’re on watch for potential terrorist activity, but I know, every week when I walk out of costco, I come out with at least $300 worth of stuff…

  62. I’ve avoided belonging to the group of Costco goers… but just the other day I had two friends (who can’t believe I don’t Costco) say with a glint of something dark in their eye… we’ll have to take her. She must endure the smell of tires while buying bulk spinach! I’m just worried that the moment I walk in the door I’ll be lured by the snacks and the cost savings and I’ll become a Costconian just like everyone else I know!

    Great writing – thanks for sharing!

  63. Also a family of 2, but my husband is a bottomless pit. Those 3 lbs of nuts would go in a day.
    The other day at 6 p.m. I bought 3 lbs of strawberries (normal grocery store, obviously not enough for a Costco purchase) and he’d bought the Costco pack of ice cream sandwiches. We cooked up some 12 oz rib eyes for dinner with salad. By 8 p.m. Dinner was over, 3 ice cream sandwiches downed by the hubby, and all 3 lbs of strawberries gone. I didn’t get a single berry. Frankly I expect to be a widow in less than a decade. Especially since he works 1 block from the wonderful superstore and it’s frequently where he eats his lunch.
    Great post!

  64. that’s the horror of costco all right. I always bum off my friend’s membership cuz I REFUSE to pay for this kind of crap! As a single girl there is essentially NOTHING that I need from Costco, ever. Yet there’s always that draw. These days though, its because I live abroad and its sometimes my only taste of home.

  65. Thank you for the amazing LOL.

    It’s just me and my husband, and we are probably on the terrorist watch list for the same reason. But to be fair, no other grocery store around compares in quality when it comes to croissants or seafood (in my area), so Costco is our go-to food store.

  66. OMG!! that was too funny but oh, sooooo right! I will most definately read your blog more often,,,,now I’m on my way to read why your pretty sure strippers don’t like Indian food ;)

  67. The terrorist watch list wasn’t designed with terrorists in mind; it was introduced as a way to keep tabs on the Mormon cult with their 72-hour kits and years supply of food requirements. Any group of people THAT prepared for disaster HAS to be up to no good. ;-D

  68. So, so funny! I am actually afraid of Costco, even Wal-Mart—it’s all that expansive space plus the enticements. I spend more but the smaller local grocery makes me feel warm and cozy. However, at four times a year, I might venture in there!

  69. My mom is an avid Costco member – she once went in “just to buy a container of salad” and ended up walking out with an $800 espresso machine. She might also be on that watch list…both because even though she lives on her own she still buys enough for a family of four (herself, myself and my husband, and my brother), and because her maiden name is a Muslim one…just sayin.

    This post was hilarious! I totally resonated with the “samples” too…you can get full off that shiz! And if you don’t, there’s always the fries at the snack counter too ;)

  70. EXACTLY !! Every time I go there I will have a list but do I keep that list – no of course not. So EVERY time I leave that place my trolley is ALWAYS full up LOL !! Loved your post on pole dancing too – funny stuff !

  71. I so need to start buying toilet paper there. I don’t care if it seems too expensive…. It’s like TP gets eaten in my house… I swear the TP elves come in the middle of the night and use it all.

    P.S. I love Costco… Every Saturday-ish!

  72. lol I love Costco though because even if you’re getting a lot of items for a low price, you still have to pay the same price and get less elsewhere so in the end sure I’ll take a couple of extra toilet paper rolls.

  73. omigosh! funny, funny, funny post! Now I want to make a sketch comedy scene of the FBI agent questioning you under bright lights “Cut the b__ sh__ 12 pounds?! ” hahaha!!!! hilarious. Or maybe you’re using the “manner of forestry” under your cardigan to make the bomb…yes, you are indeed suspicious.

  74. Hilarious! There was a comedian who once joked that when he shops in Costco he asks himself questions like, “Will I die before I use all of the toilet paper?”

  75. I’m sorry but apparently when I left my last comment I clicked the “notify me of future comments” and my email has been slammed with notifications since. Bad for me but great for you.

    So, I’m commenting again an unclicking the notification button & hopefully they’ll stop.

  76. Congratulations! on being freshly pressed. Love your sense of Humour… had me laughing at the ““I know the cashier is wondering what manner of forestry I’m hiding under my cardigan.” and “Do you know how many batches of banana walnut muffins I’ll have to bake to get through that vat of oil? 320.” I cant believe you kept track of it.

    We started REALLY shopping at costco after the children came along. It isnt the place to shop if you are single or just a couple. The only thing that I decided never to buy at Costco was Conditioner…the first one, and the only one I ever bought, is now over 7 years old and doesnt seem like its close to empty. I stopped using it but I keep it as a reminder to never buy it.

  77. Years ago when we were poor my wife and I would meet friends at the local Costco for “Lunch”. There were usually enough samples to make a meal.
    Table service was lacking and never, ever ask to see the wine list! :)

  78. My mother is obsessed with Costco. This is where we get our toilet paper–my family also stocks up on other random items like napkins and what not. I used to get my contacts there, but then I realized the eye doctor wasn’t that great there so I decided to switch over to a “real” one.

    The one thing I love about Costco–their pajama pants (you buy two for the price of one) and their croissants. I know this is so random and I feel like it’s their best kept secret–out of all the croissants I have eaten in the US (my father is French) Costco has the best!

  79. I live in a townhouse at a cost of $1.43 per square foot per month + utilities. I can ride my bike to the grocery store, and usually do it daily. I like to eat fresh :) For me costco is a waste of a membership.

    The more expensive your space is the less sense it makes to shop at costco, especially if your space is limited.

  80. My mother is a Costco and BJ’s fanatic! She’s obsessed with multi-packs of anything, from spaghetti sauce to listerine! I just posted about it last week. Thanks for really getting to the essence of a Costco trip! :)

  81. I, like others mentioned in the replies, am obsessed with Costco. It has quality food. I am semi-quasi elderly with very bad knees so I use the handicap cart to scoot around the enormous warehouse of bulk products. Like you, there are only 2 of us — children are grown and out of the house, so we don’t need what I buy but my obsession keeps me buying.

    I have a routine when I arrive, I hit their concession that sells pizza, hot dogs, ice cream and more. I always buy a fat free yogurt twist that would fill up Shaq. From there I begin my shopping experience. By the time I hit the food aisles, my cart is beginning to show signs of overcrowding. I usually have someone from customer service transfer my products to a regular cart and hold it until I refill and am ready to check out. Sometimes I am there so long that the yogurt wares off and I’m ready to sample the many aisles of sample food being offered as a consolation for being there so many hours.

    Checkout is a breeze because bulk is big but fast to check out. 25 items may cost $300 or more but as you said, you’ll be eating for several months between visits. Costco is 43 miles (one-way) from me so it’s a 86 mile (round trip). Oh how I wish they would build one closer to me. Did I mention my obsession?

    BTW: That was a fantastic article — very funny but true. The FBI must be extremely busy since Costco is always packed with terrorist!

  82. Classic America! I was talking to a friend last year, and she told me that the first time a lady she knew from Russia went to a grocery store in the United States, she threw up because of all the excess! If you want to use up some of that Canola Oil, it’s good for greasing frying pans. :)

  83. well, since you brought up terrorism in the form of Skippy peanut butter….

    our family was once travelling to Egypt, right? And this was like one or two years after 9/11, when xenophobia was at its height and suddenly airports could be mistaken for prisons.

    so we were a middle eastern family, on our way to a middle eastern country. double whammy. Doesn’t help that one of the clan’s name is Ahmad. So yea, i don’t have to tell you they were extra wary of us.

    Then we went through the suitcase-scanning, when i found them taking us all aside (i would’ve loved the looks the rest of the people around us were giving if i wasn’t just as shocked). They opened the suitcase, ohh so slowly. They found something suspicious-looking wrapped carefully in a plastic bag under a bunch of clothes. They took it out and unwrapped it, oh, so slowly- and they found an unopened jar of Skippy. My mom was telling them how you never know when you’ll need the tiny things. They were awkwardly dismissing us. So yea now we’re The Peanut Butter Terrorists

  84. Oh my goodness! I’ve not been to Costco but have been to Sam’s Club and its the same way. The writing of your experience is too funny! Thanks for the giggle this afternoon!

  85. I don’t go to any grocery store that would have me as a member. I am the type who would take a sample, then get in the back of the line for another one. I seriously basically eat dinner that way sometimes. Very humorous, you’ve earned another subscriber. Check out my blog too.

  86. This is probably one of the funniest things I’ve read in a very long time! Seriously! I love Costco, we are a family of 5, and I only go to Costco 4 or 5 times a year. I’ve lived in my house for 3 1/2 years and I’ve only gone through 2 boxes of their kitchen garbage bags. hehe

  87. Thank you for the great and humorous read. I had to share with a number of friends who are in the same boat and will appreciate your stand.

  88. This is hilarious! I also live in a house of 2 and have to say I do the majority of our shopping at Costco. I love the idea of having large quantities of things I would need to be buying frequently anyways. But they certainly suck you in to the “deals”

  89. Well written and made me laugh :) I was a Costco shopper at my first year in the US and I was exactly like you. Childless couple in 1B/1B apt. with 24 rolls of toilet paper and a bag of flour over 12 lb. But one day I noticed that, this bulk shopping style had changed our eating habits. Finally I decided to sign off, but I should admit that Costco Mixed Nuts is the best of all!!

  90. Love the Costco comments, but seriously LOL’d at the first paragraph. My dad is 82 and (God bless him), still very independent and living on his own. Getting the oil changed in his Ford Taurus (2005 car with 53,000 miles on it) is an ALL DAY affair. He calls me to weave his tale of car maintenance woe while I (a single mom of two, business owner and Girl Scout troop leader) cook dinner, check homework, empty my dishwasher, etc., etc., etc. It is hard to be sympathetic to his plight when I am so darned busy, I hardly have time to…..breathe. But, then I remembered that my dad was one of the first Costco members and once upon a time, he braved those scary aisles like it was child’s play. We all get tired sooner or later.

  91. As I haven’t been in a Costco since I migrated from Oregon to the Midwest about 10 years ago, your post provided a hilariously accurate walk down memory lane…thank you!

  92. Loved it! Peanut butter can be such a good multi-use product; it’s the culinary equivalent of duct tape.

  93. Our household is almost as small as yours (there are three of us: My husband, me, and my mother-in-law), and we go to Costco about every other month or so, usually for cat food, dog food, and cat litter. We have five cats and two dogs. Uh-oh, we may be on a terrorist watch list too!

    Thanks for the funny/interesting post!

  94. You are not right!!
    I laughed my way through the the whole thing only because I’ve been there and some how used the same distorted logic to spend half my paycheck!

    Thanks for this and congrats on being Pressed!!

  95. I’m a Costco fiend and have been since 1992! I love it and yes, purchases are not always justified but I can not help myself! I think I spend several thousand there a year :( Great post, like your writing style! Congrats, my Freshly Pressed neighbor!

  96. Entertaining post, and I can relate to what you mean. My mum loves shopping at Costco, and I know when she’s made a recent trip by the colossal jars of honey and chili sauce stacked up in the cupboard. Do you think shopping there only encourages us to hoard?

  97. Pingback: Is Costco the new drug for hoarders? « See Cairo through my eyes

  98. Loved it! I have friends that revolve every Sunday around going to Costco…which I never understood. Only two of them live in their house. What the hell do TWO people possibly need to buy once a week? I do know though that if there’s ever a nuclear emergency, I’m heading straight for their house. I could probably survive on their chicken pot pies alone for at least 6 months! ;)

  99. We don’t have a Costco in my area, but we do have a Sam’s Club, which is pretty much the same thing. If the FBI has a terror watch list for bulk purchases, they must have a blast down here in coastal Texas during hurricane season, when people stock up enough provisions for 2 to 3 weeks.

  100. The FBI needs help. I know that some religious groups (Mormons for example) try to have supplies for long periods of time. I do a good bit of my shopping week to week, because milk, veggies/fruits and bread go fast… but I love bulk shopping. I love knowing I could make whatever sweet I want, or a special meal. I also love buying my paper towels, diapers, wipes, that sort of thing in bulk…. it makes it all worthwhile to know if mayhem insues I have toilet paper!!!

  101. While I don’t often go to Costco, I am horrible for hoarding food whenever it goes on sale. “Welp, it’s cheaper now and I’ll use it eventually!” Much to the dismay of the pitiful storage space to be found in my apartment.

  102. Thank you for this. From the minute I read the title, I knew I was in for a treat. You made me snort which is the highest compliment l can make.

  103. As if we don’t have enough criminals aka politicians already. Considering buying 7 days or more of food, carrying ten thousand in cash etc. a crime is what lazy law enforcement officers due in order to prove their worth while stealing from the very people they are sworn to protect.

  104. Reblogged this on AfterAmerica's Blog and commented:
    Pay cash for your items that you are storing and do not buy our items from big box stores. Give the business to local companies or just buy online.

  105. Of course, you are on a terrorist watch list, if you are a Patriotic American. Only terrorists are afforded the protection of the ACLU and left off the list.

    The progressives love it that way.
    ;)

    Wayne

  106. I didn’t read all 220 comments but am sure I probably agree with most of them!! I don’t go very often, but DH has become obsessed since we got a card a year ago. We are actually very careful. We mostly only buy what’s on the list. We haven’t been sucked in my all those huge boxes/containers of cookies and sweets.
    Last weekend I had the ultimate Costco experience. Myself and another woman went shopping for three days worth of food for 67 women at a retreat! 3 meals a day plus snacks. We filled 3 buggys to over flowing. $1077.00. We did it in two trips as we couldn’t do the third buggy on the first trip. We used the same checker both times and he was amazed. The best part is I brought cloth bags that we filled when we loaded the stuff into the 2 cars.
    They sure have a good thing going and I suppose Costco will be something we do once every two weeks until we can’t push a cart anymore. do they have motorized cards yet?

  107. Haha, my boyfriend and I would love to have a membership at Costco (because we’re living on a college budget right now) so I could definitely relate to this!

    Be careful not to get on that watch list. ;)

  108. I loved this! So well written and totally paints the picture of a trip to the warehouse! My boyfriend and I are exactly the same as you describe your little family to be. We too buy toilet paper and nuts in ridiculous quantities, and often go in with the intention of getting a couple of things but leaving with a cart full of other random items as well (again in huge supply.) We have been going more often recently to buy Movie Theater tickets, the AMC ones are $15 for two tix at Costco, we went to see a movie the other night and I was astounded to see the regular AMC price for that showing was $19 per ticket..definitely a saving for the Costco ones! The caskets always concern me, I mean are there people who specifically think ‘We need to go to Costco to buy a coffin?!

    Anyway, totally related to this piece. Great job!

  109. I only go to Costco for the free food, I use my Sister-in-laws card. So if I buy in bulk. Will she get arrested by the Americans, arriving hotfoot in the UK waving till receipts?

    Just wondering,

    Jim

  110. Ha ha! Great post – I’ve always found that Costco is consumerism at its finest. Truth be told, those huge containers of oil or laundry detergent don’t fit into my cupboards, so they sit on the floor, and are too heavy to use.
    Christine

  111. Great blog. I prefer to daily trips to small groceries, to buy a small quantity of what I need. Especially when I’m buying items for meals. I like to show up with my partner, look around and get an idea for what we are going to eat that day, it’s a nice ritual for us.

  112. As a former sample lady, I loathe anyone who comes in just for “free food.” Did you know the sample ladies are a full separate company? We work for the vendors, not for costco. Thank you for calling us “noble women,” that’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said. Next time any of you go to costco I suggest maybe thanking the sample ladies for that free food you’re cramming in your mouth. You’ll make their day, since most people are just plain rude and treat us like less than humans .

  113. I hate to say it I love Costco…But I do have a big family so it comes in handy since I hate grocery shopping! Funny the FBI must be watching me cause I go once a month and buy a month to 2 months supply.

  114. I LOVED this post. As a 28 year old, in a family of two, I might be joining you on this FBI list. My new plan of attack is to not get a cart and to buy only how much I can carry. It saves me money and a lot of “what the hell did I buy this for?” later. I do have near-permanent red marks and indentations in my skin for the hour following the escapade, but it does help.

  115. Well-written! We have no Costco near us in our part of Maine…we do have Sam’s Club and BJ’s…just as bad! So they have coffins? Wow! Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  116. Geez…..I buy tons of cat litter…..I think the locals might clamp down on me very soon if they think I’m running an illegal zoo.

  117. I’ve been found out. I’m clearly a major league terrorist as I have a year’s supply of food stashed in the larder cupboards. Even worse, much of it’s home grown and home preserved. Then there’s that huge six-gallon keg of home-brewed beer. How long before I’m renditioned?

  118. lol i dont shop at costco much, but have you ever thought how awsome it would be to spend a whole night there alone! i mean you could do whatever you wanted to!!! oh well some dreams are best forgotten. can you check out my site please!!

  119. Very funny, very true, very appropriate as hubby & I consider a cosco membership to deal with our rising tide of disaposable diapers. Let me know how the PB-bombs work out;)

  120. Great post. Made me laugh a lot. Have you heard about the recent directed advertising companies have been implementing? Colbert did a report on it a couple of weeks back.

  121. My husband and I are on that list. We are 30 and almost 30 and have no children (unless you count 2 cats, 1 dog, and 4 fish). We buy toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning supplies at costco. We buy food supplies, and paper, as well as personal products. I swear, we will never use all that tooth paste, but the toilet bowl cleaner does get used, we have three bathrooms and my husbands friends use them all!

    But, I feel you on being worn out after a trip to Costco. It is an experience! I have started going on a Tuesday afternoon, there are never any lines at the registers, but then I have to go alone since hubby is at work…so it’s a coin toss LOL

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