Being late the party, what can I say about my first trip to Costco that has not already been said? The bargains are good, the quantities obscene, and the clientele value-driven. It’s only been a few years since I ventured into my first Wal-Mart, and Costco does not disappoint in taking that low price shopping experience to a higher, more frantic plane.
I was lured into wholesale paradise by the need to supply a party for 100+ people to celebrate my daughter before she heads off to the Peace Corps. She had a detailed list of how many pounds of strawberries, half gallons of salsa, towers of plastic cups, dozens of chicken wings and cartons of frozen hamburgers we would need. The experience aligned with my expectations, but greatly exceeded them. The warehouse atmosphere was charged; the palette stacks ominous, the sample ladies pushing nibbles at intersections ubiquitous. Still, Costco seemed to amplify my preconceptions rather than change them until I realized something I had not anticipated. Shopping at Costco is great exercise.
First, there is the walking. Costco has over a mile of aisles and my calves got a good stretch as we explored every one. Second are the carts; double size versions of their supermarket cousins, my shoulders pulsed like Rocky Balboa as I pushed pounds of frozen meat. Towards the end of our visit, when we left our carts in a central spot to scatter and fetch those final items we missed on our first pass, I found myself curling cartons of 24 count power bars. I got a lower back workout lifting all the items to check-out and then replacing them to our baskets on the far side of the cash. The only thing that got lighter was my wallet. We motored our goods, and our quads, to the car and chest pressed them into the trunk. When that was full, we stretched our torsos stuffing things into the back seat as well. Back home my gluts burned trudging quarts of condiments up the stairs.
Aside from the illusion that we are saving money buying more food than we possibly need to eat, Costco might just be the healthiest shopping experience in America.
My new gym?