Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Evil, thy name is Costco

Costco is an evil place.

I mean, how ridiculous is it to pay a vendor $100 just to shop at their store? Ditto for Direct Buy.

I've often thought that going to Costco was like going to the Rideau Carleton Slots. People have the same zombie-like stares are they meander through aisles and aisles of SWAG, or in their case, Stuff We All Don't Need. Then they come out into the parking lot with 100 unit boxes of candy bars, hot dogs the size of nuclear missiles, and nativity scenes that could fill the entire city of Jerusalem.

I, myself, am a slave to Costco. I've spent the budgets of some Third World countries at Costco some years, so I've had to learn to be frugal.

My strategy is simple: just buy the fresh stuff and you can't go wrong. I mean, you can only eat so many strawberries and so much salad right?

But a three-pack of mustard, well, that will last into the next ice age.

Anderson Cooper had a show on yesterday which presented strategies for shopping at Costco and, since most of you have lives and probably didn't see it, I offer you the following tips.

Don't take a cart. Try to hold on to everything you need until you get to the cash. This is not only a good money-saving plan, it's also an opportunity to get some weight lifting done in the middle of the day.

Shop the middle aisles because that's where the loss leaders are. The best buys are in seasonal where Costco is virtually giving things away. At Christmas, wait until December 1 to shop. That's when Costco slashes its prices.

If you're looking for sales, look at the price. If it ends with 97 cents, apparently, the product is on sale at close to cost.

Finally, buy the Kirkland brand, which is just as good as the name brand but much, much, much cheaper.

I have my own tips for Costco.

First, watch out for tour buses. Two summers ago, Scott and I had our Subaru run over in the parking lot by a tour bus from my old home town of St. Catharines. I mean, it was literally run over like one of those monster truck demonstrations.

Second, avoid anyone speaking a language not your own including folks who speak this country's second official language. You take your life into your hands getting between a foreign speaker and a bargain.

Third, if you value your heart health, avoid the meat department. I'm not sure who's buying the whole cows they sell in shrink wrap, but I'm pretty sure it's the guy who will be in the bed next to you at the Ottawa Heart Institute.

Finally, if you're buying books, leave your cart in the clothing aisle. I can't believe how many carts I've had to climb over to get to the new Maeve Benchley. People, move before I have to shoot someone.

You always know when you've spent too much money in a year at Costco.

They send you a cheque.

A reward for being a materialistic, aggressive, gourmand with a heart the size of Texas. Literally.

Hope this advice helps.

I'm here all week.

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