The Hazards of Buying Things from COSTCO

In theory COSTCO is the perfect place to shop. By purchasing in bulk a person can reduce the number of trips to the store, allow you to often pay less by buying in large quantities. And as we approach summer break, COSTCO sells the gigantic sized packages of snack food required to feed all of the neighbor kids who hang out at your house all summer long.  

However, there seems to be a few problems with warehouse shopping. Many of us start with a list of staples we need like paper towels and garbage bags, but rarely do we leave with just those items.  

An accidental turn down the wrong isle can result in a new “themed shopping” trip. For instance, if a person adds a package of new “anti-leak” ink pens that were not on the list to their cart, it triggers them to question whether or not their is a need for printer paper and envelopes?  They end up browsing through the office supplies isle. They may see sticky notes and remember they have been meaning to pick some up, pausing only for a moment to acknowledge the fact that they probably don’t need a 1,000, but remind themselves that they are cheaper in bulk, so in the cart they go! Next thing you know you have 500 envelopes, a ream of printer paper and a 20 pack of legal note pads for your single person, at home office.

For me a trip to COSTCO often goes like this; I go in to buy a specific item like the shampoo my daughter likes, only to find they don’t carry it anymore. I can’t bear the idea of having to buy a smaller quantity at a higher price somewhere else, so I buy a different kind and pray it is just as good. Often it is not, so we end up with a gallon of foul smelling shampoo to add to our collection of “things Mom bought at COSTCO that no one liked but refused to throw out.”

But there is also the hazard of bringing your family along to shop. COSTCO offers free samples. This may sound harmless, but it is not. On more than one occasion I have brought my family along to shop when they are hungry. Who am I kidding, they don’t even need to be hungry, they just love getting free food. Unfortunately, when they find a sample they really like, they convince me to buy it and I end up with a lasagna big enough to serve 24 people. Then there are the occasions when they claimed to have really loved a sample, but after I bought a case, they decided it tasted a lot better when they had it in the store. Just add it to Mom’s collection.

In the end the COSTCO‘s positives outweigh the negatives. However, I believe I have identified the real acronym of the word C.O.S.T.C.O. – Convincing Oneself of the Savings of a Transaction of Collected Overabundance.

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2 Responses to The Hazards of Buying Things from COSTCO

  1. Joanna says:

    I call Costco “The $200 Store.”

  2. tgirl says:

    It’s the best and worst place to shop :)

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