Monday, May 03, 2010

Buying in Bulk

I should NEVER be allowed in a Costco or Sam's Club. NEVER. My sister bought a membership a few years ago and I went with her a few times and bought the dumbest shit. Keep in mind that my sister maintains a very healthy, strict diet at all times and I eat like a frat boy, with maybe every third meal a half-hearted stab at healthful eating. I do actually try to get in my fruits and veggies, though, because my parents never made me eat them and I hated vegetables until like five years ago, and I'm relatively sure I have undiagnosed scurvy or something as a result.

Anyway. Point being, my diet and my sister's do not overlap much and we don't share much food. When we last had a Costco membership, I bought a giant canister of cashews. Because nuts never go bad, right? No really, I thought that. We moved probably six months after I bought that bad boy and it was still 3/4 of the way full and I packed that bitch and brought it to our new place. (I brought a lot of food along using the logic "Hey, we're only moving three blocks away." Except I don't own a grocery cart so that food had to be moved just like everything else.) And here it sat, very rarely tended to, until Boulos visited last May and was like, "Um, those cashews expired TWO YEARS AGO." And I was like, bullshit, nuts don't go bad. But yeah, it had an expiration date. I rebelled and kept those cashews for a few months, every once in awhile making an "omg I'm gonna die" face and eating one. Just a couple months later, I threw out a half-full canister of cashews that probably cost $20 or some shit.

My issue with Costco is that I ALWAYS FORGET who is supposed to shop there. You know, little league teams and PTAs and people with actual families. Not little ole single me, who never even has people over because her roommate goes to bed at 9:00 p.m and her friends are loud. I do not need a two-pound tub of hummus, ever.

But buying in bulk is SMART, right? I'm getting bang for my buck here, correct? Of course, if you buy a big box of weird Kashi bars that you have never seen in the grocery store and only eat 10 of them and then, three years later, start looking at the remaining 20 with shifty eyes because they have nuts in them and you just recently learned that nuts do, in fact, go bad.... well, throwing out 2/3 of a product you bought at a slight discount is not smart.

My sister had similar, if less retarded, problems last time we had a Costco membership, so she let it lapse. But now she's on this really strict diet which involves eating the same things again and again, and buying in bulk is actually a good idea for her. And she convinced me to accompany her when she renewed her card. I didn't really need much in the way of groceries, but Costco was only open for maybe another hour and I'd just pick up some wine or something. Duh. I won't get pulled into this again, I'm no fool.

She waited in line to get her card and encouraged me to go browse. I swear to god she loves to watch me act like a dumbass. But it was boring up front, so I headed straight for the liquor section, where I picked up a bottle of whiskey -- I had NO IDEA if I was saving money on it, because I don't even buy whiskey other than Jameson or Jack Daniels, really. But hey, it MUST be a good deal, right? Then I chose a giant bottle of cabarnet sauvignon. Also not sure if I saved any money on it. At this point, I looked really classy.

My sister called me and I met her by the frozen food. Then we walked toward the produce. I picked out a giant bunch of bananas, which wasn't genius, but I make banana bread with overripe bananas and I have 1/2 a loaf sitting here on my counter right now to prove to you that no bananas were wasted. I also picked up a 12-pack of apples, which I've nearly finished. So BOO YA, produce.

But. The produce, where my sister spends a large amount of time, is right next to the cheese. Giant hunks of cheese all over the place. First I picked up this bag of snack-sized Cabot hunks. Unfortunately, I did not realize until I made it home that they are low-fat, and I have to be honest, cheese is the one food that I believe should always be full-fat. The unbelievable 0ccurred and I purchased a Cabot cheddar product that is simply mediocre. Sad.

On to the giant hunks of cheese. Obviously I could only purchase one -- I know that cheese goes bad. I was looking at cheddars, and had nearly settled on a manchego when this older woman turned to me and asked, in a gorgeous accent (French? Russian? Polish? seriously I can't identify these things) whether one could freeze cheese. I was like, I have no idea. But it probably wouldn't taste as good if you froze it and thawed it. She held up a giant wedge of gruyere and said sadly, "It's so much cheese. But they so rarely have gruyere." With the accent and the sadness over fancy cheese, I was convinced this woman was a former queen fallen upon hard times or something. There was a sense of faded glamour about her. I think she bought the cheese. I KNOW that this interaction prompted me to buy the gruyere.

This was dumb. Turns out, gruyere is not tasty when eaten in chunks, which I didn't know because I've only ever eaten it on sandwiches at restaurants. A good 1/4 of that wedge is still sitting in my fridge because I am sick of slicing cheese and eating cheese sandwiches and making cheese omelets. The one thing I know is that I, for one, will never be found standing at a discount store sadly contemplating a giant wedge of gruyere.

Other things purchased? A dried fruit and nut mix, which is convenient but maybe not the best idea because holy shit that stuff is high in calories. And a big package of corned beef, and another of sliced ham, which worked well with the gruyere for croque monsieur sandwiches, but which prompted conversations with my sister like, "NO I cannot eat turkey with you tonight, I have some ham to eat" and "I'd like to get tacos for dinner, but I still have some goddamned ham to eat."

All in all, I spent about $90 on a bunch of crap that kept me fed and liquored up for awhile, but which I did not actually, technically need. I'm probably going back this weekend.

I found this when I googled "gruyere." This little guy could really help me out with all the cheese I have right now.


samantha said...

chocolate is another thing that's GOTTA be fat. 100%.

k_ziz said...

I just stumbled upon your blog, and I totally agree with you and your view of Costco. It makes no sense so shop there unless you have a family or if you're having a party or something. I really enjoyed this post!

Boulos said...

Yeah, the last time Andy accompanied his sister to Costco, he came home with our TV. FYI, wife, gruyere is what's melted on French onion soup, so buy some & go to town!!