Costco Craziness – LivingMini®

Costco_ErinFor the record, I got rid of my Costco membership years ago –partially because it was tainted with bad memories of someone taking me on a “date” to the food court. Really? Really!

Of course, another reason to ditch the Costco card is my Living Mini philosophy, which isn’t anti-stuff, just anti-too-much stuff.

That said, I was in Costco a few months ago. My friend Marianna got me a card on her account so I could buy massive quantities of food for the Super Fiesta #43.

Note: We only had 15 guests, so I really didn’t need “massive” amounts of food. Which is pretty much my point with super stores – you end up buying much more than you really need.

Anyway, at the end of September, I found myself strolling the Costco aisles. Since I hadn’t been to a super store in a while, I was dumbfounded. I mean, it was like I was in a cartoon, with everything not just super-sized, but gi-nor-mous-sized.

Wasting Food

I understand if you’re cooking for a platoon of men or a classroom of 5th graders or a church BBQ. But the rest of us? Why do we need with a bathtub of peanut butter? Or BBQ sauce in 5-gallon buckets. All that food was bordering on obscene.

The experience reminded me when I was in a graduate program at the University of Cape Town, South Africa with10 American students and 20 African students from different countries. The students from Zimbabwe were speechless as they walked up and down the supermarket aisles. They had never seen so much food before.

In fact, in their home country, everyday they had to make the decision whether or not to stand in a bread line for 6-8 hours or attend class. Food was so important to these students, that they all saved their daily stipend of cash and just ate 2 meals (breakfast and lunch were provided free) – which was far more than they were used to back in Zimbabwe.

Their appreciation — and literal “hunger” — for a basic necessity like food was sobering. In fact, we took up a collection from our NYC-based students to send them some money once we left the program. It wasn’t very much, just a couple of hundred dollars, since we were poor-by-NYC standards graduate students ourselves. I’m sure it helped though.

Wasting Money

I’m sure most of us aren’t saving money by buying extra-large quantities of food, since we’re buying way more than we can eat. Five pounds of bananas is no bargain if they go brown before we eat them.

So I think shopping at Costco and other super stores is a waste of precious food. I also think it’s a waste of precious money. And it wastes time. Whoever gets in and out of one of those stores in less than an hour?

There that’s my piece. I’m personally offended by the waste of it all. And possibly I’m still traumatized by my polish hot dog date….

Do you shop at big box stores? What do you buy there? Are you saving money?

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010 and is filed under Hearth.

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