They were sold out of Ahi tuna at Costco. I didn’t realize that just like deep-sea fishing you have to start out very early or the Ahi has moved on. Deep inside the warehouse, portable fry pans were giving birth to bite sized edibles.
The sample servers looked like lab techs in their snappy opaque gloves. The first sample was crab dip served on a buttery cracker. There was no real crab flavor, but I could definitely identify lots of grease product. I figured they could call it crab dip because during shipment it came over a body of water where crabs live. For the most part I ignored the samples. There was that one time I lost control with raviolis. I had been off of carbs, and the pillowy pockets of bliss stole my sanity. But something was different on this trip, I had become what I disliked. A crazed Costco sampler, aka: My Mother.
“Hey wanna do a quick Costco run?” —Mom’s favorite query. The notion of quick when you are talking about a warehouse o’ food, where the parking lot and checkout lines are both super-sized, is ridiculous. When I shop with her, a glimpse of a pleated paper cup can put her in a trance and take us off our shopping course.
On this day I was alone and I had slipped over to the dark side, my Winnebago Costco cart was empty except for the crumpled up remnants of my nibbles. I knew that eating and not buying was wrong. I looked down at the mobile crime scene and ditched the cart. If someone asked why I was wondering around with grease stains on my shirt, I could tell them I had come to Costco with someone and they had the cart full of our oversized goods! This is what I would project if someone looked at me while a mini taco slid down my gullet.
I was winding my way out of the store when a very large treat caught my eye; a huge chunk of French bread pizza. In sample land this was the Holy Grail. I politely leaned in as the last one was snatched off the table. The sample lady pushed her shower cap farther back on her head and continued slicing. This goody was worth a detour. I would come up the other side of the aisle; for a grab and run. (I had such disdain for my mother when she would cut in front of a waiting shopper to get her gift with purchase: anything greasy on a cracker.) When I got my pizza the little white cup couldn’t contain it, it plopped over both sides. It was the best of the day.
My Costco graze was over. I walked to my car enjoying the afterglow of free snacking. I decided my sampling was different than my mother’s; I almost always waited my turn.
Randi Cee is a bandleader and a swing and hot jazz vocalist living in LA. Her CD, Any Kind of Man, is available through cdbaby.com or via randiceemusic.com. For booking information: firstname.lastname@example.org .