Economics of convenience

First, let me say that I really feel sorry for cities that don’t have Costco or Trader Joe’s.  I know there are people who plan trips to drive an hour out of town to visit the closest Costco or Sam’s Club or Trader Joe’s.  I feel very spoiled that we have a nice Costco with a non-crazy parking lot less than 2 miles from our home.  I feel like a spoiled brat when I wish they would build a closer Trader Joe’s, since the closest one is a whole 5 miles away.  But, this post is about Costco.  I’ve already expressed my love for all things TJ. 

Our freezer gets stocked with individually wrapped chicken breasts (yes, lots of superfluous, non-recyclable packaging, but it’s convenient), salmon filets, and whatever steak we didn’t cook from the multi-pack.  Scallops don’t go in the freezer because we cook them the same night and T makes sure there are no leftovers (note to Mom: that apricot brandy/butter sauce was spectacularly delicious – thanks!).  Paper towels get stocked in the garage, but toilet paper is bought elsewhere because someone doesn’t like Cottonelle or the Kirkland type.  Ahem.  Organic dog cookies are purchased, but not the dog food because I don’t want to have to worry the next time there’s a pet food recall.  I also buy a lot of books at Costco.

Once or twice, I’ve brought home the roasted chicken or a package of the baby back ribs.  Both are good, and you can’t beat a $4 chicken that’s already cooked.  But we’ve never had the heat-and-eat meals that are all laid out: meatloaf, stuffed skirt steak, stuffed salmon, penne bolognese, etc.  Last weekend we went to Costco right before they closed to avoid crowds (which are still infinitely smaller crowds than at Carmel Mtn) and we had to decide what to do for dinner.  Do we pick up something to cook?  Do we pick up some take-out on the way home?  Do we eat canned tuna?  The roasted chicken was looking pretty good, but I wasn’t in the mood for chicken.  I don’t know why; I was probably already hungry which just doesn’t make me an agreeable person.  I also didn’t really want the crab-stuffed salmon.  In the end, we settled on the meatloaf and mashed potatoes (that come garnished with 2 generous pats of butter) and I picked up a box of brussel sprouts, too.  The meatloaf was $12 and the brussel sprouts were probably $4.

When we got home, all I had to do was portion out some meatloaf and potatoes and heat them in the oven (the directions say to microwave, but I prefer non-microwaved food).  Trimming the brussel sprouts took the most amount of time and work, but they went into the oven, too, for some roasting.  We did a freezer inventory (we’re such wild and crazy people) and then ate dinner after half an hour.  That food fed both of us for dinner, lunch, and then one more lunch (I ate it).  That’s $3 a serving!  I figure just the meat for a meatloaf would cost about $6.  Costco also saved me from cleaning up mixing bowls, waiting an hour for meatloaf to cook, and peeling and mashing potatoes.  It was very good moist meatloaf, too, with smooth buttery mashed potatoes. 

I’m usually a huge advocate for making meals from scratch, but I’m kind of sold on the Costco meatloaf.  It feeds the two of us forever, it tastes good, it’s fast, and it’s not that expensive.

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4 responses to “Economics of convenience

  1. I’m a pretty big costco fan too, I just discovered the tortilla crusted tilapia recently. Mmmm.
    They have great veggies and fruit and lots of other cool stuff I like and I’m under the impression that the staff get a fairly generous benefits package which I’m all for.

  2. All my friends who have moved back to Hawaii say that one of things they miss the most is Trader Joe’s.

  3. When we have relatives from Hawaii visit, a trip to Trader Joe’s is often on the agenda. I think I heard that the cost of shipping would prevent TJ from offering the low prices they’re known for, which is why Hawaii doesn’t have a store.

  4. I have a super duper warehouse nearby but I miss trader joe’s terribly. I used to shop at trader joe’s all the time!

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