I already got one, so the title is the musing in your head. For some reason, I woke up Tuesday and decided to get a Costco membership. I was strolling around the giant store, thinking about how it kind of worked for me and kind of didn't, and I thought it might be helpful to offer my thoughts, just in case you were thinking of getting one. I always think of Polaris as being a drive to another city, and was surprised to find it took a mere 12 minutes to get from 670E/71N to the parking lot. Of course, there was no traffic, a bonus for those of us who work in the off hours and can do our shopping when everyone else is working.
First of all, watch your fingers around the sample tables - there are loads of greedy people who would probably knock you over just to get to the table of popcorn chicken first. The same goes for the parking lot, where those of you driving fuel efficient Civics might want to just park far away from the entrance, to avoid the dangerous rush or SUVs angling for the close spots.
Enough with the warnings, let's talk about the deals: #1 deal of the day was Copper River Sockeye Salmon for $9.99 a pound. That's right. I bought a 1.8 pound side and immediately brought it home, sliced off a 4 ounce fillet for my dinner, and turned the rest of it into gravlax (more on that later). Also, I bought one of those famed Costco rotisserie chickens for $5. It was really tasty. A very moist chicken, although the skin had a slightly burned taste to it, which was undesirable, but it did keep me from consuming an additional 400 calories in chicken skin, so there is that benefit. It was a big bird for $5, considering a Giant Eagle bird is about 3/4ths the size and costs $7 (I've gotten 4 meals for one out of it, by the way, and still have some left in my fridge). If Costco were on my way home from work, I would definitely be picking one of these up at least once a week. Of course, the Weiland's bird is better than both, but it's only available on Saturdays, and we aren't talking about Weiland's. I also bought 2 pounds of fresh mozzarella for $6, and a giant barrel of pretzel rods for $6. They also had large tubs of my favorite brand of hummus (Basha) and Tzatziki, which they also sell at Whole Foods, but it is almost always sold out no matter what day of the week I go, and strangely enough, although it would seem they would go through it fast enough, it's always on the verge of expiring. Costco's hummus is good through August 10. I have 6 weeks to shove it out of the way in favor of cheese. Perfect. Box of 20 Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches for $10? Yes, please. Costco is also good for people like me who hate buying things like paper towels every week. I buy so much kitty litter at one time that, inevitably while standing in line, someone looks at me with concern and says "just how many cats do you have?!" If it were up to me, my basement would look like a dry goods store, aisles of TP and lotion and dish detergent, simply so I wouldn't have to do shopping for dry goods every week. I will always buy the biggest package of paper towels, etc.
There was a giant display of flat screen TVs as soon as you walk in - screens so big I can't even fathom having a living room so large I might need one. I can't say how the prices were, as I have never shopped for a flat screen TV. They had a few digital cameras whose prices seemed in line with other retailers.
In some states, Costco is legendary for their amazing wine prices. Ohio's picky wine laws prevent Costco from selling anything at a lower price than anyone else can sell it for, so we are sort of luck out there. I thought their wine selection was okay IF you are interested in primarily big California names (Stag's Leap, St. Supery, Dominus, Mondavi, etc) which are big California wines - those "chewy" (read not ready to drink) Cabernets we are so fond of guzzling in steakhouses, and those overoaked chardonnays. That kind of thing doesn't really fly here at Chez Widow, but I did find a bottle of Magnificent Wine Company White Table Wine (you might know them for such nice things as House wine) for $11. My little secret is that I rarely have to pay retail for wine, so it's always painful.
And then there's the produce. Of course, while we like to keep things as local as possible, there are things that just don't grow in these parts. But then I'm left in the produce section thinking, "can I really use a flat of mangoes? a bag of 12 avocados?" There is a large selection of pre-cut fruit & veggies for under $20, which is really nice if you work in one of those offices where bagels and donuts show up on a regular basis - a quick stop to Costco on the way to work will help you get into your Speedo this summer.
There were lot of things at Costco that seemed good for other people - especially people with a lot of processed food their lives - just impractical for our small household - boxes and boxes of processed frozen food, giant packages of Lean Cuisine meals which seemed as though they could only fit in a commercial freezer, endless rows of giant boxes of cereal and juices, gallon jars of mayo and relish; a lot of these things are perfect for families or people with big freezers, but it's just impractical for me to buy hot dogs in 150 dog packs, just for that twice a year when we have to have one. For those who have to pack lunches, or for those who have a lot of kids to feed - I don't even have the energy to think about keeping enough food in the house for a handful of kids or the army of their friends running in and out of the house all summer, but if you have to, then the boxes of 225 count fruit snack packs and granola bars, I'm sure it's a blessing. Husband can go through a box of Popsicles in 3 hours flat, so the 200 count box makes perfect sense.
All in all, I think a case can be made that the $50 membership is worth it, particularly for those 100 roll packages of paper towels and flats of kitty litter.