Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Consumer Heaven?
Or is it hell? My explorations in the inner life of America this time lead me to Costco. I assume all Americans out there now go "Oh", and know perfectly well what I am talking about. For the still unenlightened few, let me explain.

Costco is a supermarket. Or rather, the supermarkets of supermarkets. If you thought your farm-bred mother used to buy flour and sugar in huge amounts, forget it. This is commercial size amounts with all the things you never thought you would need. Feel like a snack? You can have buckets of cookies, crates of chocolate, dozens and dozens of doughnuts, but no, not one single snack.

Supposedly it is all cheap. Exactly. It becomes expensive very quickly because you buy in amounts you will never be able to use. Even at their most sugar addicted, my kids would not be able to go through one box of chocolates from this place before it would go bad.

I managed to keep the shopping lust somewhat in check. Laundry-detergent, shampoo, stuff that will not go bad and which my NYC connection claimed he needed. Although I have been eating chicken all week-end, trying to get through the over-grown beast they were selling. I don't dare think of what was in it to make it grow that big, I bought it to try the claim of my friend (zooming around in an electrical cart and enjoying unusual freedom of movement within what felt like endless miles of isles for me, she was constantly getting this, getting that, exclaiming over the quality of strawberries, the price of meat), that this was the best chicken ever and I would never forget it once I tasted it. I guess I won't, because, frankly, after three days I am fairly familiar with the taste of chicken.

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