Column: What am I doing here at Costco?
October 5, 2022
Many people often talk about how much they like to make a trip to Costco. Perhaps I’m bucking the trend here, but I don’t think I quite enjoy the gigantic box store as most people do.
Before moving to Montana, I had lived in a couple of places with a Costco but had only been a few times, and it was usually as a guest with someone who had to pick up a massive amount of one item.
After living in Montana for a few years, we decided to give a membership a shot and, if we did not like it, would cancel it after a year.
The day we purchased our membership in early 2021 was certainly not a day I will forget. Once we got to the service counter, I remember the employee trying to upsell us to a premium membership for an hour. Despite telling him I was not interested, he kept trying to sell the added services, and at this point, I just wanted to leave.
Once we finally got our membership cards, they seemed to ask for about every nine seconds in the store. We wandered over to the food. We were short on produce, but I quickly learned that this was not the place for that type of shopping unless I wanted enough onions for the remainder of my 40s.
We wandered around for what seemed like an eternity, throwing something in the cart every once in a while.
By the time we were done, we had spent about $400, and I still think I have spaghetti noodles in the pantry from this trip.
We would go three or four more times during the year but only get what we needed, which was a hassle because the store made me nervous.
I’m at a point in my life where crowds are not ideal, and unless it’s a concert or sporting event, I don’t want to deal with a bunch of people who always seem to be in a hurry and always seem to think it is a good idea to talk on their speaker phones in public.
Listen, I get taking a call but turn the speaker off. Nobody wants to hear that some critters got in your backyard and ate your plants.
Probably because I tuned out the person who signed us up, I didn’t realize my membership would automatically renew. I had no plans on signing up again, but after the autorenewal, I figured I’d give it another year.
After making one trip before September, I figured I better get some use out of the membership and went last week.
It did not get off to a good start when I walked in and fumbled through my wallet to find my membership card. After a near conniption fit, I found the card and went inside. I never thought the place could be so busy on a Thursday at 11 a.m., but it was.
I decided I should grab some lunch, and I had to give credit to Costco on their food court because it was cheap. I had two gigantic slices of pizza and a soda for under $5, and that is a deal you don’t often see these days. I have to admit their pizza is an enigma to me, either the best “worst” pizza I’ve eaten or the worst “best” pizza. Despite not knowing how to classify the pizza, I still downed two huge slices, almost as if I won’t be eating again for two or three days.
After filling up, I wandered around, thinking about buying some meat for better meal planning. Usually, when we do this, I can plan meals and fill in the blanks at the local grocery store, which is a far kinder experience. I like when the local grocer calls me by name. At Costco, they look at me like just another customer while asking me for the 50th time for my membership card or receipt.
The rush of people really got to me that day, and it seemed like every time I went around the corner with my Hummer-sized shopping cart, I would almost run right into somebody, who usually gave me a dirty look. I’m also not a person who enjoys strangers, so being badgered about samples can set me off.
It’s an impersonal experience and kind of like a rat race, not something I enjoy.
I’m sure I’ll try to once before the year ends, but I will cancel before the renewal. It’s just not worth the price for as little as I shop there.