I swung by CostCo during lunch today. For those of you who haven’t heard me talk about Costco in the past, it’s like a giant WallMart with free food samples.

I went there for only one thing: cheap memory for my camera. 128MB for $60! How you can beat that? At any rate, I rush into CostCo, evading slow, dim-witted customers like a running back. I delay my gratification by speeding up and down the other electronics aisles, pushing various buttons, turning knobs, opening and closing CD/DVD trays, until I stumble upon my quarry. Quick double-check that this is indeed the right version, and I’m golden.

“But wait,” I think, “it’s lunchtime and there’s food here, I might as well troll for freebies.” I start to walk, still quickly, towards the food section. I feel a little conspicuous skulking around without a cart, so I grab an abandoned one to fill out my customer disguise.

“Hmmm, free smoked salmon, gooood.” I marvel at the lines of people gathered around free samples of beef jerky and apple juice. I’m not desperate, if I can’t just roll by and stick my hand out, I’m not standing around like a chump.

“Oh, bread! I’m almost out of bread, I should grab some.” I like buying bread at Costco. The kind I get comes in a pack with two humongous loaves, and the words “Institutional Size” printed on the front. I like the idea that the bread that I’m eating is the same bread that the split-personalities in the insane asylum are eating.

“Hmm, that reminds me, I’m out of chips and salsa, too.” I’m leaving for a week of vacation on Friday, but chips will keep. Plus, I haven’t been buying groceries for the last two weeks in deference to the aforementioned vacation, and chips could sustain me for the next few days. Grabbing the gallon size salsa, and the 5 pound bag of chips, I briefly entertain getting the 3 pound bag of mini-marshmallows simply because I can. I, however, am not going to be made a Tool of the Man, simply because They advertise a much-loved product at a reasonable price. I move on.

“Pepsi! Life blood, god’s nectar, 30-pack goodness!” Check. Friends are coming for New Year’s, too, so I almost pick up a bottle of Courvoisier as a joke, but decide to wait until they actually get here.

“I might as well check out the DVD’s while I’m here.” I spy nothing of interest (save for the hot girl looking at cookbooks), although I do see a Johnny Mathis Merry Christmas CD for $6. My mom wanted Christmas music, and this used to be an old fave on the record player. I actually audibly say, “6 bucks?! Can’t beat that!”

I swing one more time around the food area to see if the smoke salmon guy is open. He’s in between the repetitive drudgery of thawing out salmon and putting the pieces on crackers, so I speed by instead…as I said, I’m not waiting around like a sucker.

“Mmmmm 2 pounds of cheese…” I eat a lot of nachos when I have a lot of chips; but, I’m too smart to fall victim to the cheese. I know that I’m going back to work, so I just need things that don’t need to be refrigerated.

Shopping done, I head to the registers. I round the corner of a Snickers mountain, and survey the lines, when it hits me:

I walked to CostCo.

Then something else hits me:

What the hell am I doing with all this stuff?!

15 minutes of standing in line later, I walk out with my memory and the Johnny Mathis CD secure in the knowledge that I really stuck it to The Man by leaving my cart in the men’s underwear section…

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