Our version of a theme park

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Bulk stores fascinate me endlessly. Sundays after church we sometimes stop by Sam's to pick up a few things we need in bulk. I've made this argument before: why buy a box of 24 tampons when you can buy a box with a large enough quantity to outfit a small Midwestern town?

We eat lots of raisins, yogurt, and fruit, and can easily go through a massive batch of it in a week, so we get those things at Sam's. I also love how I have the option of purchasing a faux-fireplace, deer blinds, and economy size bottles of Frank's Red Hot Sauce. Going to Sam's is our version of going to the amusement park. It's free and they give you free food in the form of samples offered by the Sample Ladies scattered all throughout the store.

One afternoon while I was at a baby shower, Chris took the boys to Sam's to get gas and buy toilet paper. They spent the next hour wandering around the store, trying different samples of food, and basically made a lunch out of it. They took video of themselves on Chris's Centro and sent it to me. They do this so often that they are now recognized by the Sample Ladies, as I learned during Sunday's trip.

"Oh, hi, W," Liam said to an elderly woman in an apron and hairnet who was offering samples of some sort of Hot Pocket.

"Hello Liam," she replied. "Care to try?"

"Is it the same thing you had last time?"

"No, that was the pot pie. This is different."

"Oh, okay. Yes please."

Sometimes Sam's even has entertainment, as with the nice older gentleman with a belly laugh who did a quasi-Pirelli and gave a presentation on steel knives next to the spice aisle. Cris and Liam stood identically with their arms crossed and watched with the small crowd.

This past Sunday also marks the first time any of us has ever purchased an item of clothing at the retailer. They always have clothes splayed out on tables in the middle of the warehouse; it reminds me of the bazaars in the Bahamas. Chris, who believes it's fashionable to buck the dictates of fashion, owns only two pairs of jeans (and three pairs of pants total, including his dress slacks). One pair has given out and he needed to replace them. He was drawn by the rainbow of washes and brand names on the table, and spent a good 20 minutes searching for his size.

"You know," he said to me over a pair of faded Calvin Kleins, "I think it's really cool that I can get my jeans where I get my food but at the same time it also freaks me out to buy jeans where I get my food."

"I understand that. It would be hard to be the master of everything."

We paid for our purchases and I again got all flustered because I always feel like I'm being judged when I lay my life-in-products out on the conveyor belt. From this week's haul it looks like all we do is eat yogurt, fruit, menstruate, and like $20 Calvins. The guy behind us had two boxes: one diapers, the other was a knife set from the Pirelli man. Make your own assumptions.

As we loaded up our vehicle with our mass quantities I looked around and saw other families doing the same, loading up purchases fit for a bunker. We drove home feeling very American.

(This isn't a sponsored post, just so you know. I'm emphatically opposed to those. I simply dig the store.)

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I've gotten a lot of email about the Motrin situation and the title of my website; we're aware of it, no, it wasn't sanctioned and I'm not affiliated with them, and yes, as someone who wore both of her children, I found it pretty inconsiderate - even more so concerning what they chose to call their campaign.

12 Comments

We recently switched to Costco, but the logistics are basically the same. We actually did the lunch buffet ourselves last Saturday.

I also took my husband which meant we spent about double what I normally do there. He can't resist treats like the Martha Stewart pies and fig cookies.

As far as Mortin goes, they can bite me. I'm sick of women being degraded b/c they enjoy being a mom. It's not nearly the worst label I've heard.

Yeah, I bought tires at Sams once. And Cinnamon rolls. I ate all of the rolls while they installed the tires.

Can life possibly get better than that?

I'm all about the big box of breathe rights. I pay $40 / yr (or whatever the fee is now) just to get batteries and breathe rights. :/

I am a long time Sams shopper. When my husband and I were broke and dating in college we would go on 'lunch dates' at Sams on Saturday afteroon and cruise the samples. It was the highlight of our week. The one we went to also sampled out the muffins- which ROCK. Good times. It makes me feel very Amer'can that I can get batteries, a roast chicken and lady goods in one place.

We love Sam's. Sometimes we go wander around, then have a piece of pizza and a huge soda for dinner, if we're still hungy after all the samples.

I let my Costco membership lapse. We were going a lot for a while, but it is located too close to a house of ours that's been in remodel limbo for too long for me to go shopping without feeling depressed. So I stay away.

Plus, the picture on my ID made me look fat.

Oh my. I have been working so much I haven't had time to go to Sams in months. That is what I have been missing....I am almost sure of it. I am making a pledge to go this weekend. I'll sample some food and buy things in bulk. :)

I saw an episode of "17 and Counting" recently. The family always did their groceries at a store like Sam's Club (could've been Costco) and basically made it their intention to feed everyone lunch via free samples while they were there. Some of my colleagues do that too, since our office is about a five minute drive from Costco.

i banned my husband from sam's for a long time. bc it took me a year to finish of those cans of green beans. however, as all men are, it didn't last a long time.

we get cereal and TP there.

I just got a Sam's membership. I remember going there every week with my dad & spending an hour looking at all of the books. I'm always tempted to buy the huge box of amazing cookies in the bakery section. I love that I can buy a huge vat of feta for 7 bucks.

Your post made me chuckle and contains 2-3 quotations suitable for stealing for one of my many social networking sites. Which will it be? I don't know?

You know, this weekend is the sampling extravaganza known as **the holiday taste of sam's club** Goooood tiiiimes!

:)

Dang, Comrade Dana, this was funny! I really miss going to Sam's. I haven't been there in a year or two. I was always afraid to return multiple times to the sample ladies because I thought there was some sort of invisible law that said that a person can go no more than three times to the same sample lady. I always dreamed of finding ways to stick it to the sample man...er...ladies. I thought about just walking backwards with my face away from the table and just sort of reaching blindly backwards to take a fourth pizza roll. Or taking a shirt off one of the tables and putting it over the clothes I was wearing at the time and then stealing the forbidden fruit rollups. But alas, this never came to pass. One thing I wish to do before I die: find one of those fireproof safes inside Sam's Club, find a way to open it up, and then get inside and shut the door! Don't ask me why I want to do this. I don't really know, all I know is that I do!

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