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Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Coscto Conundrum

The dreaded Costco coupons arrived in my mailbox yesterday. I eagerly perused them in search of great deals; it promised more than $1,300 in saving inside! Wow – $3 off eight boxes of Marie Callendar’s Chicken Pot Pies, $3 off 24 containers of Activia yogurt. They don’t tell you how much the item costs, just how much you are going to save … clearly they employ marketing masterminds to lure folks like me into the buy bulk and save money mantra.

I’m not good at math or comparison shopping so I don’t know if it’s cheaper to buy them in bulk or drive a block to the Neighborhood Wal-Mart Market and buy the two chicken Pot pies and 5 containers of yogurt I need to see me through the week. We don’t have a deep freeze so eight boxes of pot pies is out of the question anyways, never mind that our garage is overflowing with the stacks of paper towels, Kleenex and Charmin we bought using the last coupon book.

Sure I can blame the coupons but I get sucked in by all the samples too and just watch out when they combine coupons with samples – those darn marketing masterminds strike again! The new coupon book has a coupon for $1.40 off Jack’s Special Medium Salsa. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but it’s no coincidence that last time Matthew and I strolled the isles of Costco a kindly lady behind a counter offered us a quick taste Jack’s Special Medium Salsa, of course we had to try it, and of course we had to buy it!

A four year-old doesn’t really contribute much to the cost of shopping at Costco unless you count the year’s supply of granola bars and fruit snacks we have in the pantry and the eight foot Halloween bat he begged me to buy on our last sojourn. I can’t blame him alone, I always seem to find a book I can’t live without and Robb has been known to buy a flat screen TV … or two.

The conundrum lies in the fact that when you go to Costco, list and coupons in hand, you buy more than you need, you buy things you don’t need, but you still think you are saving money. After the eight foot bat buying incident, I no longer hold onto this truth … dare I say, this deception?

Don’t get me wrong, I love shopping there but I feel caught in the Costco conundrum; sucked in by coupons, samples and the allure of buying bulk I think I'm saving money but it sure doesn't feel like it. Please tell me I’m not alone!