It’s true, I’ve never run a marathon, but shopping at Costco in the winter sure makes me feel like I had. This is probably an indication that I should never, ever run a marathon, but really, that wasn’t on my list anyway.
Because even the thought of Costco during the month of December makes me curl up in the fetal position and rock back and forth, I generally make a large shopping trip in November and then avoid it until all the Costco related items in the house are essentially gone. Today, I found myself pushing a part with a few hundred pounds’ worth of groceries through the soft slushy snow in the parking lot, then doing the requisite dozen trips to get it all into the house and up and down the stairs to put said items in the basement pantry and main-floor kitchen. I felt like I had an actual intense cardiovascular workout, and to be honest, I probably haven’t done one of those since I took up “spinning” and step aerobics, back in the nineties. Whew! The good news is, I’m all warm. The bad news is, I need some Robaxecet. Lifting giant flats of sparkling water and boxes of coconut milk is core-strength building, I kept telling myself.
There is a group of people that I find amazing – everyday heroes, if you will – and that group consists of people who can go to Costco and purchase one item. How this is possible I do not know. An elderly gentleman was behind me in line, holding a single package of hydrating hand cream. I implored him to go ahead of me, me with my 300 pound cart, and he courteously argued with me for a moment. “I’m sure you have much more to do today, and I don’t.” he said. After a few moments’ conversation, he DID go ahead of me and we chatted happily about the need for super hydrating hand cream at this time of year.
A few weeks ago, a friend mentioned the “stages of Costco shopping”, and I found it brilliant, to be honest.
Stage One: NO COSTCO
At this stage, you do not think that you will actually purchase enough groceries to warrant the membership fees.
Stage Two: Reluctant Member
After some deliberation, and possibly spousal pressure, you relent and get the membership. You go through fear, loathing, and denial every time you go, but still you cannot turn down the giant wheel of cheese for $10.
Stage Three: Over Purchasing
This stage can last a while. Wow, that’s such a good deal! you may think as you purchase giant vats of everything from Greek yogurt to shampoo, which leads to….
Stage Four: Regret
At some point, we all purchase something we instantly regret, we know we’ll never use up, and that our grandchildren will have to deal with when they are cleaning out our homes for the estate sale. In my case, this is an enormous two-pack of plastic wrap and a gigantic box of 100-calorie packages of Snapea Crisps.
Stage Five: Acceptance and Reality
Happily, this is the stage I’m at now, where I can actually bypass an item – no matter how great a deal it is – by thinking that I might end up on one of those hoarding reality shows, with thirty tubes of toothpaste stashed beside 100 bars of soap. This doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t currently have two giant jars of coconut oil and three enormous bags of chocolate chips in the pantry. What, I bake a lot! I’ll use it! Really! I don’t want to run out!
Speaking of running out of things, the other day I noticed that I had almost run out of hand sanitizer, which filled me with great panic. At this time of year, and especially with the insane media play about the flu – which has led to mass panic and vaccine shortages – it feels like one can never have enough hand sanitizer. Here’s a tip – Costco only sells hand sanitizer OVER THE COUNTER and also, it’s alcohol free. Why does it need to be over the counter? I don’t know. Maybe it’s like in my local old-people Co-Op, where they have to keep the tooth whitening strips at the customer service desk because of thievery. Are people making off with the giant bottles of sanitizer? This seems unlikely, but maybe during the cold and flu season there is a hoarding problem that would lead to – like the flu shot – shortages and panic. Well, I can understand that.