Rheya Tanner

The Cost of Co

A grocery store hater talks shop about Clermont’s newest institution.

For years I’ve had this recurring dream where I’m at a store, never the same store, looking for an item I can never find. Someone else is there, an aisle over, someone I know and very much do not want to talk to. I need to get out of there before they spot me, but I can’t leave until I find this one thing. So I’m stuck scouring endless shelves and avoiding a vague, unwanted interaction for eternity.

I don’t know what made me think of that. Anyway, I got a Costco membership a couple months ago.

Not something I ever thought I’d do, since there’s never been one close by. But that new one in Clermont changes everything, doesn’t it? Sixty smackaroos later, my boyfriend and I are Gold Star members with the exclusive privilege of breathing that blessed Costco air and partaking in what has got to be my least favorite shopping experience.

Now, I don’t want this to read like a Costco roast, because at the end of the day, I mostly dig it. The savings really are great, everything we’ve tried has been pretty tasty (shoutout to chocolate covered almonds), and I’m severely into the jeans I bought there last month. Nevertheless, I have preexisting store-themed trauma, so Costco’s fate was sealed before I ever set foot inside.

Here is a free sample of our typical Costco experience: We grab an absolute school bus of a shopping cart and flash our member card to the Costco Bouncers so they let us in. We traverse the “products for rich people” department, dodging booth barkers who want us to look at their $40 hypoallergenic pillow cases or whatever. And then, we finally see it— the massive, obtuse shopping arena that takes great pleasure in being massive and obtuse. Buy a canoe. Buy a 50-gallon drum of baked beans. Buy a whole-ass shed. No, we don’t label our aisles, have you tried using your eyes? Here’s a free thimble of ravioli.All while playing shopping cart chicken with 10,000 other people who I’m pretty sure don’t exist outside these warehouse walls.

Once we’ve stuffed the cart with all those sweetheart deals we paid $60 to get, we take on the second-to-last border control checkpoint: the checkout line.We flash our card to the cashier. “Only Gold Star? Why not Executive?” She scans our stuff faster than should be humanly possible, but does not bag it. They don’t do that here.

At last, the final stretch: the “services for rich people” department and one last bouncer who checks our receipts to make sure we aren’t trying to steal any of the dirt-cheap products that we (I cannot stress this enough) paid $60 to buy. If only there was some way for them to tell at a glance that our items properly cleared the checkout line, like, I don’t know, bags?

OK, look, I completely understand why they have people posted at each entrance to keep their membership sacred. I get that it’s all about the “Costco experience.” It’s not their fault that experience is the stuff of my actual nightmares. So, we’ll be going back next week to do it all again. Remember, Rheya: you’re doing it for the almonds.

More Articles

To Dine For

Mouthfeel’s nouveau style of catering is elevating local events.

To Dine For

The Pointe Orlando is your passport to a wide world of taste. Take your taste buds on a trip.

On The Cover

Chef Barbara Alfano and Raul Lecuona on finding love and family in the passionate pursuit of food.

Get each issue delivered straight to your inbox.