Mike Buzzelli

Shopping with the Marquis de Sade

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I entered a special level of hell last Saturday. I chose to go to Costco on a Saturday afternoon.

I was out in the area, and I thought I’d drop in and buy a few things. I would like to admit that I am not normally clueless, but that might be a lie. Maybe it’s more a denial than a prevarication.

My niece Chloe was dancing in Robinson Township for a Christmas-themed dance recital smack dab in the middle of the mall, which guaranteed the maximum amount of spectators. She jazz-handed her way to the finale, and I decided I was near enough to the mega box store to buy a few things.

It took 15 minutes to go 15 feet, a minute a foot from the top of the street, past the Chick-Fil-A and into the Costco parking lot.

I entered the Costco parking lot, and it was a lot like accidentally walking on stage in the middle of a ballet; drivers were performing deft zigzag formations to get the best possible spots. I chose to park far away from the entrance to avoid a collision. However, walking from my spot into the building was even more dangerous. It was like a live-action Frogger. With only one life and no “Splat” option, I successfully maneuvered my way into the warehouse.

The gargantuan open spaces of Costco disappeared. The cavernous spaces were cluttered with shoppers and their carts.

On the plus side, I did manage to forage for a free lunch. I had little samples and bite-sized portions of a variety of food, pizza, tapenades, fudge, cookies and Greek yogurt-covered peanut butter balls. Sadly, I bought none of those products. I did look at each demonstrator with my hand to my chin, thoughtfully considering a purchase, but I knew I wasn’t going to buy any of it. In my Italian family, you don’t buy cookies and fudge, you bake them. Purchasing “store-bought” cookies is tantamount to stealing a baby Jesus away from his manger.

Besides, I went in with a list and only bought stuff on the list. It’s the only way to stay on a budget.

I did overhear a man say to his wife, “We didn’t buy anything on the list yet, and the cart’s half full.” I pegged him for an optimist, because his cart was half empty.

Unlike most men, I stopped to ask for directions. I needed one particular item, and I didn’t feel like hunting for it. I grabbed it and made a dash for the check-out.

The goddess of shopping was smiling on me, and I got behind someone who was only buying one item. She was buying green beans, a giant sack of them, but just green beans nonetheless.

I was out of the store in record time. I was astonished! I felt like I won at Vegas. I beat the system. I, somehow, for the first time in my life, stood in the right check-out line. It’s a Christmas miracle!

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