My name is Diane, and I’m here to confess my addiction. No, not my addiction to tools. This is a different addiction altogether.
I can withstand it for long stretches of time, but it always drags me under in the end. The high is ecstatic. Then comes the slow sobering, followed by guilt and shame. After that comes the steely resolve to do better, and sometimes I vanquish the demons for a while.
But sooner or later, I succumb again. The longest I’ve ever stayed clean was several years. I really thought I’d beaten it that time.
I was wrong.
I’m talking, of course, about Costco. I gave up my membership years ago, but in a weak moment I asked one of my friends to take me this past weekend. It wasn’t the ugliest relapse I’ve ever had, but it proved that I am and always will be an addict.
For those unfamiliar with Costco, it’s a wholesale-style outlet that sells everything from food to electronics to furniture to clothing. In gigantic bulk quantities. Usually at lower-than-retail prices, and occasionally at screaming discounts.
I have a five-pound tin of baking powder I bought at Costco over fifteen years ago. It’s still good… but it’s also still half-full. In another fifteen years, I might actually finish it. I have half-gallon jugs of onion powder and cinnamon that date back to that period, too. There’s something about large quantities of food that I just can’t resist.
Maybe it’s because my dad was a child of the 1930s Depression years. Nothing was ever wasted in our household. The tiniest scraps of food were saved and incorporated into the next meal, and staple foods were purchased in bulk to get the best discounts.
So I harbour two horribly conflicting attitudes toward groceries: Large quantities are magnificent; and: Waste nothing.
You can see my problem with Costco. They have large quantities! Of everything! What could be better than five pounds of chocolate chips for the price of two? Three water bottles for the price of one? More toilet paper than you can fit in your car?
It’s magnificent, I tell you!
When I walk into their cavernous building, my pulse races and the demons begin their seductive chorus: “Look how much there is. And for such a cheap price! It’s an excellent buy! Large quantities are magnificent!”
Euphoria seizes me and I buy. And buy.
Then I get home and realize what I’ve done. Yes, I scored a case of my favourite Ataulfo mangoes for a fabulous discount. But Hubby doesn’t like mangoes, and I can only eat so many of them before they rot.
Guilt and anxiety kick in. I must waste nothing! I must eat mangoes morning, noon, and night!
I managed to avoid gross excesses this time. I bought what I needed and could use within the foreseeable future. (Except for the water bottles – I needed one, not three. But hey, it’s not like they’re going to go bad, right?)
And I split that giant package of cheese curds with my friend, so it was a good buy.
I think I’m improving.
Maybe I should go back again this week just to be sure…