Big Box Madness

I’m a pretty reasonable person but there’s something about Costco that turns me into a bit of a lunatic.

This morning I confidently strolled into Costco with a short list of staples to stock up on: paper towels, tissues, toilet paper, all items that one should buy at a store like Costco. As usual I ended up with a cart full of nonsense; a tub of cream puffs, five pounds of face cream and enough female antiperspirant to keep a small country of menopausal woman from sweating for the rest of the millennium. And, what long suppressed evolutionary imperative led me to buy thirty-two ounces of neon colored orange cheddar cheese balls? Cheddar cheese my tuchus!!


I love Costco but I’m not really sure what happens to me from the time I walk in the door to the time I walk out that causes me to abandon all reason.  There is something very seductive going on behind those giant doors and it’s a little baffling.  Let’s face it, seeing things in such large quantities is just terribly compelling. It can’t be those aproned, shower capped food giver-outers. Or can it? How else can I explain how I ended up with a life size bag of veggie straws?

And, I know it’s not just me.  When my oldest son was hosting some kids from Chile they wanted to go to Costco, of all places.  They wanted to go into New York City to see Times Square and the other famous tourist sites but mostly they wanted to go to Costco because of all the sights they saw Costco was the most fascinating.

Does anybody living in a normal size household really need things in those sizes? I think the answer is probably no and for me going to a big box store like Costco inevitably leads to impulse purchases and waste.  Five pounds of red licorice.  Really?  Well, the licorice gets hard but at least it doesn’t get fuzzy or hairy which is more than I can say for the twenty-pound bag of freakishly large potatoes, which will be rotting in my kitchen shortly.  I will probably wind up in traction from hauling them home, but they were such a bargain!!!


I’m no economist but I’m pretty sure that it’s not cost effective to buy 1,000 tablets of Advil even if you eventually finish the bottle. In the ten years it takes to finish said bottle we probably could’ve made a killing investing that money elsewhere.

I’m convinced that part of Costco’s appeal is that it envelopes you in it’s own little world.  Once you’re a member you’re one of the family.  There’s a feeling of belonging.   They greet you at the door and once you’re in you can do/get anything there. You can buy a vacation, an engagement ring, prescriptions, even eyeglasses.  ANYTHING. Costco can serve your needs cradle to grave, literally, crib to coffin.  Yes, they sell coffins but let’s not get maudlin.

If you get a bit peckish while you’re shopping you can snack on a hot dog or a slice of pizza and have a frozen yogurt chaser or you can make a lunch of the food samples being distributed in the store, if you don’t get trampled trying to get at them. They even have someone at the door saying goodbye to you as you leave, granted they are making sure you didn’t steal from them but still it’s a nice touch.

Some day I might graduate to wheeling one of those big pallets around but even I have my limits and I’m drawing the line at the fifty-pound sack of flour. Well…. it’s a really good deal…and there IS a lot a person can do with flour.


One thought on “Big Box Madness

  1. So much to say on this topic! You need to write a second article on the “post Costco effect”…. ie, the need for a storage closet dedicated to Costo products (ours is not-so-cleverly called the ‘Costco closet’) and the determined effort to make a million different recipes with the over-sized items and freeze them or stuff your kids until they are sick of said item. And of course, there is the gifting of Costo items to other unfortunate souls and to neighbors whose kitchen is also overstuffed….

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