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Monday, September 27, 2021

Column: Costco sampling 101

I’m gonna be Frank (not David). This article sucks because I’ve done no writing over break. The problem is I can never motivate myself to be productive over break. Unless, of course, your definition of “productive” is getting every single star coin in New Super Mario Bros. Wii – in which case, I would have to say I was very fucking productive.

Instead of Christmas carols, I got a chorus of complaints from my parents: “Did you shave-a-your terrorist BEARD? Vy not?!” to “Dave … all dis fast food made you gain eh TIRTY pounds! It’s time for you to get ‘out’ of In-N-Out for once in your life!” (I could imagine the “ba-dum-tish” in my head as my dad cracked that horrible one-liner. My father’s brand of comedy would move any respected comic to tears. Except Gene Shalit. Fuck Gene Shalit. He looks like Wario, Mario’s evil twin brother).

Despite my parents’ constant nagging, things turned out relatively fine. I got to people-watch for hours on end while I followed my parents in tow to their favorite locations in the cookie-cutter town that is Irvine, Calif. (I don’t know why anyone would want to go to UC Irvine. Shit is boring as fuck).

Visiting Costco is always an exercise in trust for my parents, who think the Costco cart-checkers are a symbol of Armageddon. I like to believe that I take the high ground on this one, and just accept the waiting and checking as part of the hassle, but the emotional side of me does not. Sometimes those fuckers take so goddamn long, I just want to burst out and say: “HEY, LAURA. Let’s just go through that motherfucking list one by one so you can feel satisfied. All right, let’s see here: big-ass container of peanuts – check. Thinly cut salmon that’s tightly packaged for some odd reason – check. Three packs of Kirkland signature tighty-whiteys – check.”

(I’m gonna go on a tangent now, so bear with me. As I’m writing this fucking article, I’m trying to write the word “tighty” in “tighty-whiteys” but it keeps underlining it with that red squiggly bullshit. I told that fucking thing to “add to dictionary” but it WON’T ADD THE GODDAMN WORD. Does this ever happen to you? I feel like I’m fuckin’ takin’ crazy pills right about now. And don’t tell me to use “ignore” or “ignore all” because that’s BULLSHIT. I want this fuckin’ word in the dictionary. I may use tighty-whiteys again, and it’s important that that shit is SAVED! I don’t like RED SQUIGGLY LINES WHILE I’M TYPING. IT DOESN’T FEEL GOOD.)

Anyway, back to Laura: “Tub of mayo that’s larger than most toddlers – check,” I say to her. “Mr. Yoshida’s original gourmet sweet and savory sauce – check. What’s that? You want to draw a smiley face on my receipt? FUCK OFF!”

While my fantasy doesn’t quite line up with reality, it’s still fun to imagine the possibilities. Besides, I enjoy the free samples too much. Shit is amazing. They stop giving them out at 4 p.m., so I make sure we always leave early so we get there in time. Oh, you don’t know? There’s a science to Costco sample hoarding. I’m telling you, Costco can single-handedly feed a family of four in over 30 minutes if you play your cards right. I’m talking about multi-course meal status here.

Here are a few tricks I’ve learned over the years:

The snipe: You’ve gotten about three samples of the Tyson chicken nuggets, you don’t want to draw too much attention from Betsy – after all, there is a limit to your obnoxiousness. So while you’re pretending to marvel at the aged cheddar, you wait for a group rush, then you snipe in for the kill while there is havoc. Betsy only sees a flurry of hands: (Say this next part in a Dr. Evil voice with the pinky on the lip) She’ll never know.

The chatter: If you ham it up with Betsy long enough, she won’t mind that you’re taking extra samples. You can say, “Oh wow … this quiche is to die for! Where can I get these?” And while she’s turning around to give you directions in earnest, you snipe another one (or couple more). Like P.T. Barnum once said: “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

The sacrifice: A timeless classic employed by the many greats of Costco sampling lore. You walk up to the sampling table, take up to three samples, and simply say: “I’m getting them for my family/friends.” At that point, Betsy is left speechless as she cannot object to that piercing, godly logic. What, is she gonna say “you can’t bring any for junior!” Ha! She’ll get her ass fired faster than you can say, “Do you have a Costco membership card?”

DAVE KARIMI got dropped from all of his classes (two of which are labs) because the registrar is a soulless monster wreaking its havoc via the bureaucratic mess that is an extension of the university’s massive ego. He paid on Dec. 27, but the registrar still said he paid late, and dropped his ass from those classes like a hot potato. Shoot him an e-mail at dkarimi@ucdavis.edu if the same thing happened to you.

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