Here in Southwest Florida, it isn’t unusual to belong to a club. There are country clubs and beach clubs and tennis clubs and yacht clubs, each one fancier than the next. I am no stranger to these establishments. Growing up in Pasadena my family belonged to the oh-so-chic Valley Hunt Club, where my sisters and I spent many a smog-filled summer afternoon sweating it out through tennis lessons and cooling off with long sessions of Marco Polo in the pool. My favorite part was ordering lunch at the snack bar where hamburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches magically appeared through the little window and all you had to do was sign your name. Ah…those were the days. Unfortunately for my kids, we do not belong to anything like the Valley Hunt Club. No, our club has a low annual fee that you can actually recoup if you go often enough. Lunch at our club is only $1.50, and that includes a hot dog AND a free drink. Our club, the site of many a weekend date for Mr. Marblejar and myself, is none other than Costco.
Laugh if you will, but where else can you get cheap gas, grass-fed beef, and samples of every type of frozen snack ever created all in one spot? Yes, we are Costco regulars. To be fair, I am in charge of the concession stand at the school where I work, so it actually does make sense for us to shop at Costco for those humongous boxes of chips, candy bars and other sundries that I have to purchase on a regular basis, but I shouldn’t have to explain myself because right now gas at Costco is more than 15 cents cheaper than anywhere else in town. I rest my case.
Anyway, this past weekend I needed to go to the Club in order to restock the concession stand and refill my supply of paper towels and toilet paper. What better way to start the year? Going to Costco during the weekend during the “season” months of January -March is risky here in Naples because we are a Mecca for snowbirds fleeing the frozen tundra in Columbus and Ann Arbor; but I didn’t really have a choice, so we planned made a sensible plan and arrived about fifteen minutes before the place opened. Who really needs to be at Costco on a Sunday morning right after New Year’s anyway? Well, as it turns out, a lot of people. You would have thought this was the entrance to Disney World. There were people with carts six and seven deep by the doors, and nobody was about to let me through to grab that monstrous flatbed thing that I need for my cases of soda and Gatorade. Oh, how they underestimated me. I pulled my stealth move and managed to wrangle a flatbed AND make it to the front of the line just as the big accordion doors slid open. I was home free, or so I thought.
Here is who SHOULD go to Costco:
1.People with business that sell all of that crap that they sell there.
2.People with lots of kids (that would be me).
3.People who are stocking concession stands (me again).
Here is who SHOULD NOT go to Costco, at least not on the weekend when people who WORK need to go and get their much-needed items:
1.People who have no idea what Costco is or how it works (and thus block the aisles as they stare in wonderment at the large containers of pickles).
2.People who just want the snacks and block the aisles as they wait for more bacon to appear.
3.People who have all 19 (and counting) of their children with them (and thus no room in their carts) and spend all of their time blocking the aisle as they try to wrangle their pack of unruly urchins.
Please people, get a clue. DItch your kids in the toy aisle and go get your shopping done. If you hurry you can load up the diapers and bagel bites and be done before little Jimmy has a chance to break his neck on the trampoline.
Here’s who hates ME at Costco. The people in line behind me. Why? Because I pay (it was over $300 this week) with the bills that come out of the concession stand cash box, and this week I had $165 in singles. How long does it take to count out $165? Long enough. Sorry about that. I honestly did have Mr. Marblejar try and trade them in for $20s at the service desk, but they don’t open the store with much cash in the drawers. Oops. Hey, if they just let me sign my name on that little chit and have my parents pay the bill I would, but I think those days are over.
Happy New Year. Have a hot dog on me.