Costco and the age of materialism

We were in Costco today, and among the three packs of salsa and chips, there was an actual toilet.

I was reminded of the movie Couples, when Vince Vaughan’s kid pees in the demonstrator toilet at Home Depot. But a demonstrator toilet belongs in Home Depot, not in a place where I buy my meat.

Just sayin’.

I’ve been thinking I could make some money acting as a shopping consultant, teaching people how to shop at Costco. Have you ever seen people buy this level of crap? They actually have to borrow dollies to hump twelve packs of gum to the cashier.

When I was raising my kids in Oakville, I nearly bankrupted myself at Costco. I was addicted.

I’d go five, six times a month and never walk out without spending 500 bucks. My pantry was stocked with industrial sized ketchups and mustards in three packs. I used to serve hot dogs the size of weapons of mass destruction. Everything was so damned big.

Fortunately, this was before Interac cards, so I’d have to carry a wad of cash with me, which helped stop the economic carnage.

This was the era I’ll call Rose’s age of materialism.

I was greatly influenced by Mr. Big and his French Canadian family who brought consumerism into the platinum age.

We were early adapters, so we had to buy the latest CD player or television. We bought big velveteen sofas and fine bona china and those ugly balloon curtains in a variety of pastel colors.

In the spirit of French Canadianism, our first sofa was crushed velvet and it was green.

So Costco fit perfectly into our lifestyle.

Part of my own problem was that I grew up a poor kid and I was always envious of people who had more — like an indoor toilet — which may have attracted me to the Costco toilet demonstrator today. There was an inner void in me, a bottomless pit, and I used Costco to fill ‘er up.

The fact that Mr. Big made so much money and I had my own stash of cash from consulting didn’t help my addiction.

Now that I’m married to an aspiring bus driver — eat your hearts out ladies — I have had to learn to live within my means. 

But, of course, means is a relative term.

We still buy lots of stuff, just only what we can afford on our limited budget.

Out are the velveteen couches. In are gigantic packs of nuts and Jelly Bellys, roasts the size of car tires, pies that are too big to put on the traditional pie plate.

My stuff addiction has now become a food addiction.


Yesterday, we bought a television, a big one, a Sony Bravia. Not because we needed a new television, just because our old flatscreen was having difficulty keeping up with the pace at which I used my PVR and we needed extra HDMI plug ins for Scott’s video game addiction.

So down in the basement the old timer went, into Schnick’s lair to ensure that Shyla does not go completely insane once Wheels is born.

Let’s say we were regifting our flatscreen as a baby gift.

Today, we were back at Costco for a gigantic potato salad, apple pie, gloves, a video game and tires.

I’m kidding about the tires.

I would say that I have reached the age of enlightment. I still buy big at Costco. I just don’t buy expensive stuff — except for my computer and the flatscreen.

Over twenty years as a Costco shopper, I’ve learned a few things, a couple I’d like to share.

The best strategy with Costco remains leaving your credit cards at home and giving yourself a time limit.

But if there is a good deal, like on the gloves today, you bloody well better take it.

There is nothing more depressing than putting off that impulse, realizing it wasn’t an impulse and you needed the item after all and going back to Costco to find the damned air brakes are gone.

Or the demonstrator toilet.

Cause everybody knows that a crap waits for no one.

Especially a girl who used to take a crap outside.


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