Coffee heat rising

good-BYE, Costco…and dammit, this time I mean it!

You realize…if you want to buy 89 tons of cheap individually wrapped candies to hand out to the Poor Kids who are bussed into your neighborhood for Hallowe’en, you can get that stuff at Target. Or Walmart. Or for that matter at Safeway, Albertson’s, Fry’s, or Walgreen’s. You don’t HAVE to go to Costco to buy a lifetime supply of junk candy. Or of…well…of anything.

Costco is where I went today, though, by way of stocking up for this year’s onslaught of kiddies and teenagers. The ‘Hood is flanked on two sides by low-income districts, meaning that every Hallowe’en we are flooded with hordes of cutie-pies and silly teenagers in costume. This makes for a great neighborhood party: everyone hangs out on their driveways to greet the panhandling kids, and a grand time is had by all.

So today I was despatched to snare a cache of individually wrapped candies for the coming shindig. Costco seemed like the logical destination, since while I was at it I could stock up on a few things that are running low here at the Funny Farm.

But…maybe not…

Alas. They have decimated their cheap wine offerings. They used to have a wonderful selection of wines in the $8 to $12 range — I mean, awesome. No more. Want a drinkable bottle of wine there? Prepare to spend upwards of 15 or 18 bucks,

No, this is not inflation. Albertson’s, Sprouts, Fry’s, Trader Joe’s, and — hevvin help us — even the ritzy-titzy AJ’s all offer a generous selection of cheapo wines, highly drinkable. Prices are about the same (in the $8 to $12 range), and deliciousness is highly comparable in all the other stores.

The Paradise Valley Costco’s layout is damn near non-navigable. In addition to our communal supply of Hallowe’en candy, I wanted to buy one of Costco’s lifetime-supply bottles of aspirin. Into the pharmacy dept. Search high. Search low. Search medium. Search high and low again. CAN. NOT. FIND. A. FREAKIN’ BOTTLE OF ASPIRIN.

Since this is a commodity you need by the time you get out of the place, presumably my fellow customers have cleared the shelves and gulped down all the product.

Did find a nice package of rack of lamb, one of the things I went specifically to that store to buy.



AJ’s also has superior rack of lamb. And you don’t have to do battle to get to the meat counter for the purpose of grabbing a package of it.


But the main issue with Costco shopping is…well…Costco customers.

You think Walmart customers are characters? Jayzuz! Take 45 minutes or an hour to watch Costco customers in action! They leave Walmart People in the dust.

Honest-ta-Gawd, I do NOT understand how Costco employees who work the floor in those stores keep a grip on their sanity! WHAT a job!

Today, as is invariably usual, I got stuck behind some stupid woman who, mesmerized by the glory of the stacks and stacks of merchandise, was rolling her cart right up the middle of the aisles. She would stop, stand there, and stare…while everyone on both sides of her, coming and going, waited for her to get the hell out of the way.

This is not a “sometimes” occurrence. It’s something that seems to happen every time I go into a Costco store.

Y’know, aisles in a grocery store or a drugstore are no wider. If anything, Costco’s aisles are considerably more generous than a Safeway’s or a Walgreen’s. But people don’t seem to pull that stunt in those stores. For the life of me, I cannot understand what gets into people who do that!

Why this is happening — whether it’s because there’s so much variety of merchandise people zone out as they search for what they want or whether a particular type of chucklehead is attracted to Costco — I cannot imagine. All I know is it makes me crazy. And I think I’m not gonna go back there, unless it’s under exceptional duress.

There are things you can’t get in these parts except at Costco or at Amazon. For that reason, it makes sense to maintain a membership, either in order to go there oneself or so as to send Instacart runners. But…if the only time I shop there is when I need something that’s not sold anywhere else and I don’t wanna wait for Amazon to deliver it, I’m surely going to shop there lots, lots less.