written by Norm:
Ten secrets of shopping at Costco
Your comments about this column are welcome ~ e-mail Norm at
We have become expert at shopping at Costco. We go there so often some of the sample ladies know us. So in an effort to make your Costco experience more meaningful, we pass on these ten secrets of Costco shopping.
One disclaimer; not every Costco is the same. You may find different conditions at your store.
1. Never, never go to Costco before one oíclock on a weekday. None of the food sample ladies will be set up yet.
2. Always park near a shopping cart station. This usually avoids other people leaving their carts in the space you want to occupy and you wonít have to walk as far when you are finished loading all those huge packages of toilet paper into your trunk.
3. Our Costco paints letters on each parking lane. Donít memorize the letter of the lane you park in. It is much more fun trying to remember where your car is. If you canít remember your lane letter on your way out, ask the young man who checks your receipt. He will look at you as if you are nuts.
4. After you show your membership card, duck over to the Membership Desk and check out what people are returning. This will give you a hint as what not to buy.
5. Once in the store, bypass the food shelves and go directly to the food sample ladies. This will allow you to fill up on samples so you arenít hungry when you shop for food and thereby save you lots of money. Immediately head for the meatball and sausage and cheese and bread samples. Then take a pill cup of green ice tea or super soda to wash down the entrťe. Finally you can have the ice cream or cookie sample to complete your meal. Always push your cart right up to the sample table to block other people (mostly Costco employees and street people who have snuck in) from getting there ahead of you. Be polite and ask if you can take an extra sample for your wife (husband) and six kids.
6. If you need eggs, always reach for the carton in the back of the display that hasnít been opened. You know people open the cartons and fondle the eggs to see if any are stuck to the box. If you find several cracked eggs, do Costco a favor and fill one carton with broken eggs and leave it in the front of the display. This will perplex the next shopper and leave lots of cartons with only 17 eggs. Donít linger too long in the egg department or you will get frostbite and have to go into the hearing aid test room for an hour to thaw out.
7. When you approach the book tables always leave your cart in the next aisle. Most people park their carts up against the book table while they read the first three chapters and block other carts from getting to the books. While they are engrossed in their book, move their cart to the meat department to teach them a lesson. If you donít agree with the current political books on display, turn them over so people donít see the titles. Be careful not to let that elderly lady see you do this, she may belong to moveon.com.
8. When you are ready to check out, carefully scan the length of the lines. Research has proven that it is not the amount of merchandise in the cart; it is the number of people in line. If some guy has two flat pallets carts with six cases of soy sauce, ten gallons of cooking oil and fourteen cases of Top Raman noodles, get behind him instead of the four people in line, each with a 36Ē HDTV or a paperback book. This last person wonít have a cart as she lost it at the book table. 8a. Never get in line in back of a mother with a kid in the cart who is chewing on a Popsicle. The kid will begin crying when the cart gets turned around and the mother disappears behind the cash register. The cashier and packer will stop everything and try to calm the kid down and the mother will take three minutes looking for the pacifier in her purse. 8b. Never get behind three ladies who look like they are friends. Odds are they will each pay separately for their quiches. One with cash, one with a check and one with a cash card that is overdrawn. By the time it is your turn you could have eaten a Polish dog and a slice of pizza.
9. Donít forget to order a hot dog so you can go to the express line and then get to the drink dispenser fast. Look out for the little kids and the employees getting their third refill. Be sure to save your cup for your next visit. I have a three-year-old Coke cup I keep refilling before I shop. We take the hot dogs home because we donít like eating next to the tire department. We add cheese and nuke them in the micro.
10. When you hand your receipt to the door checker (Iím still mystified as to why they are the only store in the world to do this), remember to ask him or her in which lane your car is parked. When you encounter that blasted yellow rumble strip. Sometimes known as Blackburn Bumps, here is the best secret of all. Take out your drink cups. Carefully put the left wheel of your cart on the ramp just to the left of the bumps. Guide the right wheel in between the bumps. Now slowly push your cart forward voiding the bumps and watching for the SUVs loaded with toilet paper and cooking oil. If executed correctly, only the right side of the cart will hit a minimum of bumps and you will glide on to the wrong parking lane.
Good luck and donít tell Costco I told you.
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