When I was in my 30’s, I really didn’t count a trip to Costco on a Friday night as a particularly special outing. More likely a fate worse than death. There were a lot more exciting things to do on a Friday night in the 90’s than going grocery shopping! How things change when you are parents of young children. Our kids love going to Costco! Why, you ask? Is it the giant jars of pickles? Is it the food samples? Or the books and DVDs? Nah, it’s all about the hot dogs. And the pizza. They love having dinner at the Costco concession.
It works out pretty well for us as well. We have learned that Friday night is a great time to shop at Costco. The place is half empty, no long lineups at the tills, and empty tables at the concession area. And really, what’s not to love about a buck and a half for a hot dog and a drink? Refillable, to boot! Where else can a family of 4 dine out for under 10 bucks?
We have a bit of a strategy, Heather and I. One of us takes Zach and Beth-Rose to the concession and has dinner. The other takes the list and the cart and gets the groceries. And once the goods are purchased, the shopper eats while the kids go check out the toys, the books and DVDs, the video games, and anything else that catches their eye in the seasonal department. It works out pretty well. Other than the fact that, this is how we are spending our Friday night. Heather calls it Friday Night Date Night. And she’s only half-joking…
Considering how much effort has to go into going on an actual date, doing the Costco date night is pretty straightforward. No arranging for a babysitter, no making sure there is something for the kids dinner, no forking out the money for the babysitter. You get the picture. Of course the one big drawback is, it’s not really a date. It’s a trip out with the family. You see, Heather has a knack for putting a positive spin on everything! Even something so mundane as grocery shopping.
I don’t want you to get the idea that I’m down about grocery shopping. Au contraire, I actually enjoy it. And grocery shopping at Costco is always interesting. It’s all about the people. I enjoy watching the people. And what I notice about shopping at Costco, compared to somewhere like Wal-Mart, is that the people have a much happier disposition. You hear laughter in Costco, and people smile. The staff always seem to have fun, and they treat the customers like friends. And the customers, for the most part, appear more content, or at ease. I don’t see that in Wal-Mart. I don’t know why that is. It certainly isn’t the ambiance. After all, Costco’s a warehouse!
When I shop at Wal-Mart, I get in and get out, no dilly-dallying. But Costco invites a more leisurely approach. It’s nice to linger over the seafood display, or see what’s new in the frozen food section, and browse the book table for the latest weight loss guide. There’s a lighter atmosphere in Costco, and it shows in the faces of shoppers and staff alike. While I sit and have my hot dog or slice of pizza and observe the good folks around me, I have a contentment, an ease that feels like fresh air. I know that may sound a little loopy to most, but it’s real.
Heather and I love going to movies, we enjoy our local restaurants, and we take advantage of the outdoor opportunities that surround us. But we also love a good Costco Date Night with our kids. As long as they want to spend that time with us, we will continue to share it together. With a Costco hot dog!