Unlike most of my mom peers, I resisted joining Costco. Too commercial, I said. Prevents me from supporting my local retailers. Forces me to hoard bulk quantities of planet-destroying consumer goods in my New York City apartment. But a year or so after a friend shared her shopping strategy of buying mass quantities of organic milk and other staples for her small children (mine are four and six), and how that freed her from all but an occasional stop at her local market, I moseyed over to my wholesaler and signed up.
And my life has never been the same.
Sure, ounce-per-ounce, the shampoo is a steal compared with buying it in smaller bottles at the drug store. And the giant sacks of raw sugar save me, like, four cents per cup of joe. That’s all swell.
But what I really love — why Costco adds true value to my life — is that there is little choice. When shopping at my local middle-market grocery store, if I want butter, I must stand in the chilly dairy aisle and contemplate whether I want salted, unsalted, light, name-brand, generic, whipped, spreadable, sprayable, Irish, Danish or organic — and a half-a dozen brands for each sub-variety.
I stand there in that chilly aisle, one hand on my hip, the other scratching my head as I feel overwhelmed, confused and fearful of making the wrong decision.
At Costco, the choice is five pounds of salted butter or five pounds of unsalted butter. I grab the shrink-wrapped mega-package of salted and merrily shove my giant cart on to the 40-pound sack of kitty litter — one of two options in the category. Costco makes my life easier not so much that it saves me money, but because it saves me time. My time is more precious than money. Also: reducing my butter choices from a bazillion to two reduces my stress and frees up headspace.