Adventures at Costco

So  I had to make a evening/night run to Costco the other day because I had no dog food.  When I say no dog food I mean I banged the bottom of the food container to get everything out so that there was enough for Pepper's breakfast.  (We had enough.)  I don't actually have a Costco card, my parents do.  We've got all the dogs on this natural, super dog food that they only sell at Costco.  Well, maybe it's at the PetSmart or PetCo by me (I can never remember which one it is), but I'm assuming it will be at least $10 more expensive so I've never looked.  I probably ought to look into that.

"Apples 1" - McKinney, Texas

Anyway, I don't go to Costco often because, well, I don't have a card.  Wait, for those of you who are unfamiliar:
Costco is a huge warehouse store.  They sell things that would regularly be found at a grocery store, a clothing store, a book store, an electronic store, a jewelry store, a car junk store, and I'm sure there are other things I'm forgetting.  In short, it is everything that you could possibly need at most any given moment under one roof.  Now, the items are 2 or 3 times larger than ones found at normal stores.  Jewelry and electronics being the major exceptions.  There's not a multi-pack of TVs, cameras, or pearl necklaces for sale.  Wouldn't that be great?  "Look at the 20 necklace set I just bought.  Buy 19 and the 20th is free."  Everything is supposed to be cheaper than you would find in normal store, this does include the electronics and jewelry.  (Oh, I forgot they now sell prescription glasses, and speaking of prescriptions, there is also a pharmacy.  Seriously, it's a bit ridiculous.)  So, buy more, spend less, waste hours wandering around looking at bulk versions of EVERYTHING under the sun, but there are sometimes free food samples so there's that.
"Apples 2" - McKinney, Texas

Back to the original story.  I don't go to Costco often and it didn't even occur to me to ask my mom where the dog food was located because surely the aisle will be labeled.  Nope, not labeled.  I get into Costco and am immediately distracted by the cameras.  I am looking for a new camera right now, so I had to test a few out and then remind myself that I was in the store using my father's Costco card so I couldn't buy anything I couldn't pay cash for, it was after 6 at this point, and I had a starving dog at home.  (In all fairness, Pepper ALWAYS thinks she's starving.)  I move on from the cameras and make a lazy circle around the jewelry because I can't just walk past that stuff.  My father says I have an addiction to "the shiny stuff."  It's true, I do, but I didn't buy anything, so good for me.  I then decide that if Costco is laid out similar to Sam's (which I do have a card for and they do label their aisle) then the dog food is probably on the opposite side of the store.  At this point I start reviewing the marketing and other business classes I took during undergrad to understand the rational behind not labeling the aisles.  I came to the conclusion that Costco has figured out that if the consumer does not know where anything is in the store then the consumer will wander through the whole store finding new items that he/she needs or doesn't, which is more likely, to buy.  I come to this realization as I pass through the clothing section and pick up new running socks, a 6 pack.  Ok, no one is going to be able to retire on my sock purchase, but I haven't even made it over to the other side of the store yet!  I linger over a few other things, but manage to get to the other side without anything else jumping into my cart.  Once on the other side of the store I discover it's all healthcare items and food.  Giant bottles of spices, boxes of cake mix the size of a small child, 20 piece boxes of frozen chicken breasts.  No dog food.  I restrain myself and walk along the outside aisle until I get the produce and deli section and then things start going wrong.  I pick up and put down so many different things and come out with a tub of chicken salad and enough romaine hearts to get me through the rest of the month.  Still not enough for a comfy retirement, but I'm only one person and I still haven't found the dog food.  I bypass the bakery and wine section at a distance for everyone's safety and finally find the dog food!  By the wine, why didn't I think of that?  I get my massive bag of dog food and head toward the front of the store to check out.  It's not a particularly busy night, but there are 3 lanes open (plus the self checkout and you can't pay cash at self checkout, so...) and it seems like every single person in each of these lines has decided to take on the challenge of trying to see how full they can get their carts.  I get in what appears to be a reasonable line and then take a real look at the 2 couples in front of me.  I think there must be some sort of prize for piling your cart the highest!  I move down 2 lanes behind 2 Asian gentlemen who are only buying one item and congratulate myself on my smart move.  Of course there is a family in front of them with a cart full, but that's one cart versus the 2 or 3 in the other lanes.  Then the guys get to the register and it won't take their Costco card because it's an international card and our trusty checker has never seen an international card.  My dreams of this adventure not taking more than an hour are fading fast.  The manager swoops in, they get the single purchase rung up, the guys checked out, and I'm up.  Check out is smooth and I head to the car.  So a bit over an hour and a stop at my favorite Thai restaurant later (because my night is running head long into 8 o'clock and I'm not at all interested in cooking at that point) I make it home to this:
"Pepper 4" - McKinney, Texas

I don't even think she noticed I was gone!

*"Apples 1" and "Apples 2" are for sale.  Please visit Diggin' It or contact me for information on how to purchase a print.  I don't think anyone wants a picture of my lazy dog sprawled out on the couch. :)

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