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Glamourous Dining

October 18, 2010

Since moving at the beginning of September, we have been in desperate need of a Costco run so it was first on the errand stops today since a. who doesn’t love buying in bulk and b. who doesn’t like free food while buying in bulk.

Although I think I still have some self control when it comes to Costco, the parental units are obsessed, for them I think Costco=America, and since they live abroad, whenever they come stateside, Costco is their first, favorite and last stop on every trip. Glasses, Underwear, Shaving Cream, Craisins, you name it, they buy it, and bring it home to the Netherlands. I think they are still trying to use up Aspirin they purchased when I was five. I draw the line at buying underwear from Costco, but you can’t beat their optical department prices! Some of the obsession has carried over to me and thankfully my mother has allowed me on her Business Account, so I can keep up the Baker Girl Costco Run Family Tradition.

Several years ago when visiting me at college, my mom and I stopped by Costco to pick up some dorm room essentials, aka bottled water and pita chips, and committed what to this day my dad considers the worst act of family treason ever. We took my dad off of the Costco account and made me the second cardholder for the account. Since I actually live in this country year round I continue to argue that I have a great use for the card, but now poor little Buff Daddy (my father’s nickname) is Costco cardless, and must be escorted by either myself or my mom whenever we go to Costco. He’s founded a support group for cardless bulk buyers and is doing much better now, but one day at time.

But anyways that’s enough of the trip down memory lane, back to today’s experience. Many things were purchased in bulk, including a giant barrel of utz pretzel rods (UTZ NOT NUTZ), and enough dish soap to last us until washing dishes becomes obsolete. The highlight of today was however the free samples. I have noticed over the past few years with the economy what it is, that the free sample cart numbers have dwindled, but today the free cart brigade returned in full force. And as Grill Boy and I had yet to eat for the day, the free sample carts became our lunch, glamorous dining indeed. On the menu today:

7 Layer Dip (all spice, no flavor, weak performance)
Single Serving Chicken Pot Pies (not bad, too salty though)
7 Cheese Tortellini (DELICIOUS, but they only give you 1 tortellini in the sample, so I had to make a couple passes)
Kirkland Brand Toaster Waffles (just as good as Eggo, and when smothered in maple syrup you can’t go wrong, excellent portion size too)
Fruity Juice in 4 different flavors (not a big juice fan, but this washed the chicken pot pie down nicely)
Salad with spicy chickpeas (I was hoping the chickpeas were toasted and crunchy, but they were cold, gross and tasted like old spice)
Fishy Spreads on crackers (I hate things from the ocean so I neglected to sample this cart, instead I made a second pass by the 7 layer dip cart to get my fix of salty tortilla chips).

All in all, a great meal, especially when you get to experience breakfast (waffles), lunch (salad), dinner (tortellini and pot pie) with ample snacks (fishy spread, 7 layer dip) in a mere 10 minute time period. At least 4 times, Grill Boy and I became separated in our individual pursuit of snackage, next time we need to stick with the buddy system.

I leave this post with the newly devised Guide to Costco Dining, to assist you all on your future bulk-ventures:

1. Upon entering Costco, head straight the the intersection of produce and frozen foods and get the lay of the land, as this is where the highest proportion of carts appear.
2. Pick up several samples, and put in cart, hide them behind your purse (I picked this up from another particularly free sample savvy shopper)
3. Commence shopping, back in the electronics and housewares section, get all the batteries, paper, printer ink, electric toothbrush heads you need before moving again into the produce section.
4. At this point you will have finished your sample stock pile, pause next to the rotisserie chickens and consider what you would like a second helping of and then pounce like a cheetah. Just like driving in Boston, you need to be defensive or else some old bitty will snatch the last tortellini from your grips and you will have to wait 10 minutes for the next batch to be ready. Elbows out kids!
5. Make sure to find the lone drink sample cart after round two, hydration is key in Costco Dining.
6. Finish up your shopping, and head back to the carts for round three. Only go back for those things you truly enjoyed, you don’t want to be a cart hog.
7. Check out, pack up the car and drive off with a full belly of tasty free food.

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