As far as boneheaded decisions go, it ranked right up there. I honestly don’t know what I was thinking. I mean, seriously, the rules aren‘t exactly set in stone but it‘s common sense. Don’t climb into the zoo’s lion exhibit. Don’t hang candles off a real Christmas tree. And, for Godsake, don’t agree to accompany your wife to the local Costco!

We were in the car, on our way home from a late lunch when Fondy asked: “Did you bring your book?”. She wasn’t asking out of passing interest of course. “Did you bring your book?” actually means “Do you have something to occupy your time so that I can hijack you for an hour or two while I check out some stores that will no doubt bore you to tears?”. In fact, I did have my book with me (Conversational Japanese in 7 Days) and so, agreed to tag along. In all fairness, I assumed we’d be heading to some department store where she could ogle a Sub-Zero, or to a plant nursery where she could seek to educate me on the reproductive patterns of the philodendron. Instead, we went to Costco.

Now, I know you’re probably wondering “Joe, why do you hate Costco?”. Well, I’m glad you asked. Let me break it down for you:

1. The Parking: It’s like playing a live action video game as you slowly roll up and down the various aisles, desperately on the lookout for the thrilling sight of someone’s back lights, the telltale sign that a spot is about to free up. Since moving to Vancouver, Fondy has adopted the strategy of actually zeroing in on shoppers leaving the store and creeping along behind them, following them back to their car like some crazed stalker. If you’re lucky, they’ll lead you right to their parking spot, unload their groceries, and be on their way. But usually, you won’t be lucky. More often than not, the people you’ll be following will be octogenarians who’ll shuffle along at a snail’s pace, occasionally stopping to double-check their bill or adjust their pants before finally arriving at their destination – which, it will turn out, is not where they parked. At which point they’ll look around, gather their bearings, and cut through the parked cars to the next aisle where some other driver will luck out and get their spot. Otherwise, you end up with one of those leisurely assholes. You know the kind I’m talking about. Male. 25-45. Always takes his sweet time unloading his groceries and carefully arranging them in the trunk before getting in this car and spending the next ten minutes perusing the various radio stations for just the right “back out” tune. Today, however, was a first. The guy we were waiting for actually pulled out his cell phone and started checking his text messages. I was about to get out of the car to help him find the number for Emergency Services when a spot suddenly opened up in front of us. Fondy gunned the engine and we finally parked.

2. The Customers: “Come on, Luanne! We can take a shower when we get back! Get the kids in the car! We’re going to Costco for the free sample lunch!” Next to being subjected to noisy chewers, nothing annoys me more than the shambling masses who spend the greater part of their visit lining up at the various complimentary snack kiosks, sampling everything from low-sodium diet crackers to mesquite-flavored pimentos. What I find particularly irritating about these serial snackers is the attitude with which they move through the various queues, snatching up the sardines on toast or yogurt shots, knocking them back, and then moving on with nary a look, much less a thank you, for the individual manning the stand.

3. The Customers: Get out of the fucking way!!! The aisles are crowded enough as they are without having some moron park their cart in the middle of them while they saunter down to check the pricing on that industrial size mayo. Or stop their cart alongside another stopped cart rather than advance the few steps that would free up some room for anyone to get around them. When I’m presented with cases like these, it’s “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” Either move or be moved. It’s really the only high point o my visit.

4. Did I mention The Customers?: Okay, granted, the place aint exactly Neiman Marcus but still, would it really kill the clientele to maintain even the basest levels of personal hygiene? Encounter any of them downtown and you’d either assume they a) were homeless and/or b) had just been rolled after sleeping off a three-day bender. Given the choice, I’m sure that fully half of them wouldn’t even bother to wear pants if they didn’t have to.

5. The Merchandise: Come on. Do you really need a jar of pickles that big? Or all that canned pasta? I’m going to decide for you. No. No, you don’t. Unless you’re stocking your bomb shelter. Then, by all means.

6. Getting Out: Good luck!

Hmmm. It seems I was a little optimistic when I said I needed to narrow my Tokyo restaurant list down to 40 selections. I’ll only be in town 11 days and even if I was to try a new place for each breakfast, lunch, and dinner, that would make for a grand total of 33 restaurants. UNLESS…I had breakfast, an early lunch (11:00 ish), followed by a late lunch (2:00ish), an early dinner (5:00 ish), and a late dinner (8:00 ish), then I could cram in a whopping 55 restaurants! Or die trying.

Hey, one week to go before discussion begins on John Twelve Hawks’ The Traveler. Finish up because the enigmatic JXIIH(

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Twelve_Hawks) will be dropping by to answer our questions.

100 thoughts on “October 19, 2008: My Monthly Costco Rant

  1. Don’t forget about the absurdly long lines at Costco. Though that could be classified under “Getting Out…”

  2. I can totally agree when it comes to Costco and I can understand your reasoning. Try having a million food allergies when you go in there just so that you can watch your family have the free sample lunch while your stomach grumbles. Now I have to admit that the last few times I’ve been to Costco, they’re getting better at having more and more things that I can eat causing me to almost shriek for joy – thankfully I resist to avoid embarrasment. My family and I always thank the sometimes some-what friendly people who have to stand there manning the kiosks for God-only-knows for how long. I usually ignore most people when I’m in a place like Costco or laugh at the couple arguing because one of them insists that they need a jar of pickles that IS that big. Hope your next trip is better.

    Just wanted to let you know that I am now reading Acacia and so far so good. I’m really looking forward to it and the discussion afterward.

  3. Hey Joe

    Ah Costco, seems too much to spend so much money just to enter a store to buy larger products than you find in other stores. As you say, whenever I go by a Costco, the parking lot is jammed packed, so people go absolutely nuts for it. 😛

    If you want larger products, but want to avoid the hastles of warehouse shopping, try local product distributors or factories. You can get the same sized products you can get at Costco for about the same price (or even less), it’s not busy, and it has a more personal feel when you are dealing with their workers. 🙂

    Thanks as always!

    – Enzo Aquarius

  4. Heya, been to your Costco…been there; done that. That parking lot is in the Twilight Zone.

    At least for us crossing the border we have to pay with cash so that helps speed us up for the locals waiting in line.
    Sure hope we never got in front of you to evoke the wrath of Joe.

    The insides are quite similar if not exact to most other Costcos in the US; noisey, sometimes messy, crowded, slow moving and frequently inconsiderate customers of all descriptions, crowded…did I mention crowded?

    Ohhhh, The Traveler – about 1/2 done…it is fascinating and the proverbial “page turner!”

    Anne Teldy – thanks for sharing the text you got. It does add another aspect to the book we are reading.

    back to reading

  5. ROFLMAO!!!!!! XD

    You think shopping is bad — have you ever been a clerk? Expecially at Christmas? I might miss having a steady paycheck, but most days I am soooo glad to be out of retail.

    You forgot about second breakfast, high tea, and a midnight snack. And I believe your elevenish lunch would be “elevenses”. Call the first one of those dinners “supper” and you’ll be all set. 😉

  6. We don’t have costcos in NZ, but I’m afraid it takes something special to get me into some pants. Like leaving the house.

    I’m thinking the fact that I shower daily, have 20-year-old female legs, read books for fun and chew quietly with my mouth closed might make me slightly less red-neck.

  7. Go for the hobbit diet. Breakfast, 2nd breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, Dinner and supper. You won’t have time for anything else, but you’ll have enough to eat!

  8. It is fortunate you excell in your chosen profession. Just imagine the fun you could have working retail. Though if you survived a couple of years, you’d have enough material for a good half dozen books on the experience. Thanks for a good chuckle.

  9. When I was a kid I used to think an octogenarian was a person with 8 arms… or someone that was a doctor for people with 8 arms. Come on, I was a kid!!

    Joe said

    You know the kind I’m talking about. Male. 25-45. Always takes his sweet time unloading his groceries and carefully arranging them in the trunk before getting in this car

    A man? Doing the grocery shopping?! Take a photo for me please!!
    My husband will only visit Bunnings, Autobarn and… nope, that’s about it.

    Those type of places are my worst enemy. I may be a decent height but I’m not very wide, so even when I try to act like a puffer fish to look bigger, nasty people with inferiority issues like to try and bully me and knock me out of the way.

    Little do they know about my secret weapon, bony elbows and an evil stare that can bore through the back of the thickest numskulls head.

    I have no qualms in asking such people after almost knocking me over, “Pardon, could you please tell me when “Excuse Me” was removed from the English Language?” Nasty and spiteful I know.

    I also have a friend who enjoys playing along so she’ll say audibly “Gee Narelle, I hope you didn’t rupture your internal stitches when that rude lady pushed into you then.” I make the necessary grimaces to go along.

    And then there are the occasions after some inconsiderate twat has just rammed their trolley into your heel for the third time without an apology where I can’t help but let them know “I’m not freaking invisible!”

    I’m not trying to make them feel bad, I’m 99% of the time a passive person, I just want them to think about their actions and how it could one day save their life as you never know who’s next to go postal. That’s my excuse for my shoddy attitude towards people like that anyway.

    I’ve finished the two Traveller books and some forewarning that I have some capital letters and exclamation marks heading John Twelve Hawks way with how the second book ends!

  10. Oh, CostCo, the fifth circle of Hell. And then there is Ikea, the sixth. At least at most CostCos the entrance and exits are close together. At the local Ikea they are on a different floors!

    I’d rather try to find a helpful staff person in Home Depot than enter the parking lot of either one.

  11. wolfenm – “You think shopping is bad — have you ever been a clerk? Expecially at Christmas? I might miss having a steady paycheck, but most days I am soooo glad to be out of retail.”

    Oh, yes! As a student I worked in a book store. The Christmas rush was hell, but I loved constantly being surrounded in books. The last Christmas Eve I worked, the power went out and we couldn’t let anyone in the store for safety and security reasons. The electric door couldn’t close, so we had to sit in the entrance telling people they couldn’t come in and finish their Christmas shopping. Oh, the panic. I went around a found a list of books for someone in the dark… the book expert is me!

  12. Costco on a weekend?? I won’t even go to Walmart on a weekend. If we’re desperate for food I might venture as far as the grocery store, but that’s as good as it gets. And even then I won’t go in the afternoon. I know my limitations!

  13. To Narell from Aus:

    You said: “I also have a friend who enjoys playing along so she’ll say audibly “Gee Narelle, I hope you didn’t rupture your internal stitches when that rude lady pushed into you then.” I make the necessary grimaces to go along.”

    You’d be amazed at how fast people move away if you fake a hacking cough, then tell them, “I guess I’m not completely over that Asian Bird Flu”.

    Hi Joe:

    It looks like everyone can empathize with your Costco plight. I don’t have a membership, and I never go in the place. I’ll tolerate a Superstore on a weekday, but that’s about it. Some things are just not worth saving a buck or two for.

    Do you and Fondy take advantage of the touristy places in Vancouver such as whale watching, Grouse Mountain, The Aquarium, the Science Centre, etc? When I lived in Ottawa for 5 years, I only visited the Parliament Buildings once. That is something I am somewhat ashamed of, since we have such amazing things to look at in Canada. I now try to take advantage of local events and sights in my own back yard.

    Patricia (AG)

  14. You know Joe… I would have thought at least YOU would have come up with the nifty idea of acting like a looney to get those aisle -trolley stragglers out of the way. Just rant and rave to yourself.. about how the world’s ending and you have to go to Fuel for your last meal etc…. drool, have that crazy wraith-like look in your eyes.

    That’ll shift em.

    Spray deodorant around while you’re at it if they’re that lacking in hygiene *gag*.

  15. Ahh the joys of working retail. You forgot something that’s a pain for both the clerk and the other customers, although again it might be part of getting out. I’m talking about those customers who insist on a price check so they can save 10 or 15 cents despite the fact that there are 5 other customers waiting in the line!

  16. Odd you should mention Costco today. Lucky ours is new, build on perfectly good farmland with plenty of parking. It’s actually a little harder than you think trying NOT to be an asshole customer. Did your wife make you navigate the cart? And most of the customers at this store were wearing pants.

  17. I agree with Crayzmom1- Cosco or Walmart on a weekend –
    I will never ever do!!! I don’t even go to the supermarket on a weekend if I don’t have to. If I need something, Hubby goes. He likes the grocery store. ???

  18. Joe, so sorry for you going to Costco. I would rather bang my head against the wall then allow myself into that crazy madness. Have fun on your trip!

  19. LOL sounds fun! We dont have Costco’s in Australia but we do have similar themed shops that are just as annoying such as Go-Lo, The Base Wharehouse, Sam’s Warehouse and The Liquidators…yeah no idea whats with the names…. XD
    Go on take everyones advice, be a Hobbit.

  20. Hm… as someone who shops at Costco, I think I’m offended. Of course, I’ve run into some odd customers there, as well. In fact, one of them was because I was wearing the Stargate shirt I got for free at Comic-con. Some guy stopped me to say he liked my shirt, then showed me the SG-1 seasons he was buying. I smiled, said thank you, and made some polite comment about how good the show is. At which point I tried to move on and continue with my shopping. But this guy seemed to not understand body language and normal customs regarding interacting with strangers, because he kept talking. Now, if he’d been cute, I would have happily kept chatting, but this guy seemed to be one of the type of customers you described, so no matter how interested I was in the subject matter, really, I just wanted to continue shopping (and I generally hate shopping, so it’s usually a matter of finding what I came in for and then leaving). And then there was the time that another odd, frumpy, middle-aged guy stopped me while I was looking at Star Wars DVDs to tell me that he’d been to the original screening and sat beside George Lucas. I hadn’t gotten away quickly enough that time and was roped into probably a 15 minute conversation.

    As for parking, it’s just not worth it if you can’t find something close on the first pass. When I see people doing what you describe, I just shake my head and wonder why they didn’t park further out and walk. They’d have gotten in much quicker.

    Also, and this is probably because I only shop for myself, I almost never use a cart. It’s much easier to navigate that place when you don’t have a cart.

    Regarding the large quantities, I’m someone who eats a pretty limited selection of things. If I find something I like, I’ll eat it a lot, until I move on to something else I like. So that actually works pretty well for me, when they have what I want.

    It is a pain to get out, that’s for sure. No matter how many lines they have, there are never enough.

  21. Joe,

    You are so funny! I can relate. I go to Sam’s but my dad loves Costco. He is one of those who buys those huge jars of pickles and mayonaise. My elderly parents have both right now. The pickle jar is so heavy my frail 83 year old mom can not lift it out of the refrigerator. I’m afraid one day she will tip over backwards, fall and break her hip trying to get it out. Killed by a jar of pickles!

    Next time Joe just wait in the car …

  22. I sympathize with your sojourn into warehouse store mayhem. I avoid it when I can, which is usually when I’m out of every conceivable food I could possibly buy cheaper elsewhere and am forced battle my way through the irritating masses.

    And, may I just say, this comment made me smile.

    >“Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!”

    seaquest fan, by chance? Stephanie Beacham had some of the best lines. It was too bad she didn’t return for the second season.

  23. I just had to double-check whether *I* actually wrote today’s blog entry, as it sounded like every shopping experience I’ve ever had. Then I remembered – we don’t have Costco here. Also, I don’t have a wife.

    I’m not sure which I hate more, shopping or crowds. I’m pretty sure my special hell is shopping in a crowd. I’m pretty claustrophobic in crowds, and many’s the time I’ve empathised with the two-year-old tantrum-thrower, writhing and screaming on the floor. Damn the stiff joints of my old body. If only I still had their flexibility & energy – I’d be doing the same.

    Thank god for online shopping!

  24. i would have to agree with all of those points, especially trying to find a parking spot. And i never really did understand the size of the portions they sell at that store.

  25. I don’t know whether its a relief or a horror that every country seems to have one of those places. Tesco’s in England, Sam’s Club (and IKEA, don’t even get me started) in the US…and this comes from the girl who likes shopping on “Black Friday”. Going through Sam’s Club makes me want to go insane. I refused to go in and pick up my own graduation cake, even. And sure enough, my mother and grandmother came out almost an hour later. All they’d gone in for was cake and party trays!

    I’ll admit though, since getting my rather shiny Blackberry, I am one of those people who checks their messages in the car. I figure its safer to do it while not driving. Then again, I don’t really drive to terribly crowded parking lots where it would bother others. I’m not dumb enough to pull that at the Mall of America.

    Poor you, Joe. At least you made it out alive.

  26. Still getting meself caught up on the blogs…

    Tried to find the other blog history from September 2007 Narelle referred to in her blog history.

    Narelle, if ya please, dear, do ya remember which day that was? Before I lose another coupla’ hours blithely meandering through history?

    And Cap’n Mallozzi, would ya be interested in taking Percival Lintmuffin along on yer trip to Japan as your personal recording sectr’y? T’would be fun to read his bemused travelogue of a 55-meal exotic excursion.

    Yours sincerely…

    P.S. Thanks to AnneTeldy fer giving us the primer on all the HTML play toys. Won’t we have fun running amok? 😎

  27. So…OK, so not as much fun running amok in HTML as I first thought. Tried to use different font colors and sizes, using the WordPress allowable HTML tags, and they didn’t “take.” There went another hour of play time. And yes, ma’m, the tags were properly opened and closed, bookended in the correct order, and made with the greater than/less than symbols >< . 😳

  28. “Unless you’re stocking your bomb shelter…”
    … or a college student trying to survive 4 months of dorm life! 😀
    I “borrowed” my friend’s membership to Sam’s club to stock up for the semester… I have enough cereal, peanut butter, jelly, and pretzels to feed a small army in my room right now!

  29. I m still reading the half-blood prince, hope thats ok I havent read in years and wanted to start something I d finish. how do you read so much, not alot a time for details??

  30. LMAO Going to Costco is one of the highlights of me and my sister’s lives, for nearly all the reasons you listed. It’s one of the best places to do “people watching” and we always end up hiding behind the monolith goods and cracking up over some poor sod. Maybe that’s why the employees follow us. One caught me trying to hide in the paper towel display and my sister in a model garden shed. Oh the beauties of life…

  31. I don’t go to Costco, but we do have them (and Sam’s Club) here in the big D. I have some responses for you:

    The Parking–Quit your whining about the parking and just park on the perimeter and walk to the store. You and Fondy both have nice cars, so why tempt fate (and dents/dings/scratches) by parking close when you’re just going to walk around the entire store anyway. Park far away, walk the extra 50 yards, and keep your vehicles nice and scratch-free.

    The Customers–I’ve noticed that anywhere I go, there are always the people who have tunnel vision. There are always going to be people in your way…in my way. I have come to accept this. I am a an over-user of the words “excuse me” and “pardon me”, in a non facetious manner, for just such occasions. If that doesn’t work for you, may I recommend ‘accidental’ shoving or hysterical screeching and pointing at the floor (at nothing of course). Everyone will think you’ve seen a roach….do you have roaches in Vancouver?

    As for the personal hygiene aspect, well, that’s just nasty. I run a large bookstore, and when a customer or someone on my staff tells me that another ‘customer’ is smelly, then that person is interfering with the shopping/working pleasure of others, so I go and have a chat with them. Yes, it’s true, I do. Surprised? Well, don’t be. I approach it as delicately as possible, but I’m not going to subject multiple people to the odor, it diminishes their entire shopping experience.

    The merchandise: You’re right. I, a single person, do not need 48 rolls of toilet paper at one time…or a gallon jar of pickles…or a 24 pack of microwave popcorn. Hell, I don’t even have a pantry in my apartment kitchen. Where would I put all of that?

    On getting out: If you mean getting out of the store, then I don’t have much to say. If you mean getting out of the parking lot, see point one.

    A bit of trivia: Did you know that Neiman Marcus began in Dallas?

    Good rant, Joe…good rant. You seem more like an average Joe when you write this type of ‘stuff’. That’s nice.

  32. “The customers” There seems to be a thing down here in Texas for people on those electronic scooter things to pull up for a chat in the middle of an aisle, or leisurely drive side by side down the aisles.

    This seems to be some act of vengeance against the self-propelled individuals in the store. If they catch you appearing to consider how you might get past them the resulting expressions on their face leaves you questioning whether or not they might be some new kind of predator: one that takes on human shapes and drives around grocery stores on a hover round waiting to pounce on anyone who makes the mistake of “being considerate” rather than immediately vacating the aisle.

    On Friday I literally spent 5 minutes trying to get at the canned tuna in an Albertsons: one of the scooter riders had actually turned the scooter lengthwise across the aisle to peruse the crab meat selection in maximum comfort, another by a scooter rider and a large lady deciding to stop and converse like tug boats passing in a narrow canal.

    I tried asking politely if I could reach the tuna, but that just seemed to be the trip she was waiting for. I was saved by a cop who wanted canned chicken and had also had enough of scooter riders.

  33. “I used to overlook Sheppard’s actions (because he was so darn cute), but now I’m seeing him as a very nasty man who thinks killing is the solution for everything (god forbid he ever has a road rage moment – he’d probably shoot up a minivan full of soccer moms and 10-yr olds ).”

    Wow Das, is that how you really see him? :S

    Okaaay… I’ve gotta ask: what’s the dictionary definition of a soccer mom? I’ve heard that phrase twice now in the last week and although i’ve some inkling of what’s meant, it’s probably more linked to the english version of Mum ferrying the kiddles back and forth to after-school football practice.

    And where’s soccer dad? Over here, football (soccer) is mostly a dads and lads kinda thing: something done at the weekend (or the occasional evening during the week) and kinda takes the place of the age old ‘Rite of Passage’. And those dads who either miss out on a match or turn up late, are often dragged to one side and given a ritualistic beating by the Village Elders and their horse-hair sticks.

    Joe: lmao.. I can empathise with the shopping trip, I really can. And I know every single one of those peeps you mentioned. Personally, I try not to venture into large shopping malls or supermarkets if I can help it. For some reason, Guide Dogs seem to have become target practice for those pushing trolleys around the place and after needing to have both my faithful companions treated for leg/paw/rib injuries imposed on them by vindictive shoppers wielding suped-up trolleys with bull bars and ramming tackle.. i’ve kinda lost any appetite to venture through the front doors of the things 🙁

    Perfectly described though 🙂

  34. @ DAS
    i agree with yesterdays short and sweet post.

    I was fairly indifferent to most of the human characters on the show, but with them being so cavalier with their treatment of both the wraith and many of the pegasus natives i really don’t enjoy them at all any more. The only one i still like is Lorne and i don’t know about Woolsey yet.

    The only reason i still watch is for the wraith, though i wish they wouldn’t be portrayed as they were in ‘Outsiders’. Cute (which is great) but stupid (which isn’t so great)

  35. *Is almost dying to see her question of two or more days ago get an answer in the mailbag (the one about the War between Wraith/Ancients and Wraith/Asgards)*

    But it won’t get answered until you put up that mailbag again, Joe! 😛

    “Or die trying”

    Is exactly what you’ll be doing, should you try that! :S

    Spikey

  36. I am so with you on the warehouse clubs. You can also throw Wal-Marts into that description. Except for some minor differences, same issues.

    However, I have to speak up for those who take their time getting out of their parking space. If they’re anything like me, I do it to annoy the waiting person for stalking me in the first place.

    I hate parking space stalking!

  37. Well, since we haven’t one here I don’t know Costco. But reading your description made my day funnier. 🙂

    With your Tokyo restaurant list – um, good luck? I gain weight just from the thought of all the eating.

    My thoughts for Outsiders: A good episode, just not one of my favourites. But thank you for all the team-members plus Carson. Exactly what I want to see.

    @ Narelle from Aus: thanks for your Mallozzi Blog. It was funny and interesting since I’ve read this blog only for a short time.

  38. “Or die trying.”

    Please don’t, it would inevitably delay our next Stargate fix. We’re relying on you to come home safely!

  39. Ahhh, the days of Costco….have ended and so the days of Sam’s Club have begun. DH and I used to go to Costco when we lived in Idaho and there was one, but alas, there isn’t one in La Crosse, Wisconsin, so we are doomed to Sam’s Club. Basically the same thing, but things that Costco had, Sam’s doesn’t. I always try to go right when the warehouse opens – you may miss the free sample lunch, but you also miss the horrible parking and a lot of the idiot customers. I didn’t used to be a warehouse shopper, but when you have a baby (or 2) the monsterous boxes of diapers come in handy. And when they start drinking milk, its way better to buy milk at Sam’s then at Wal-Mart or another grocery store. Because we only go every 2-3 weeks (did I say only?) we buy 6 or 7 gallons of milk at a time. Way cheaper @ 2.39 a gallon than closer to $3 a gallon at Wal-Mart. Plus gas, being we live 10 miles from the closest town, and 30 from Sam’s. Oh, and the huge bags of flour come in handy as well since we don’t buy bread, I make it.

    Ok, enough defense. I can agree with you, Joe, about everything you said. But there are some benefits. Like that huge package of toilet paper….. 🙂

  40. This phenomenon is truly global. The same thing at every supermarket. Over in France it’s open sport in the carpark with someone being quite happy to cut you up for the spot you’ve been waiting for ages for.

    These days I know exactly what I want and will have a good idea where it is before I step through the door – often grabbing things by hand and going to a selfservice auto checkout. I’m rarely in the store for more than 5 – 6 minutes.
    But these are places are build to piss guys off.
    Never go on a Friday late afternoon or Saturday morning, just after school closing time and so on.

    Do they do internet shopping? Here in the UK most supermarkets do and that can be really handy – except for the thing where they swap out odd items that you want for their more expensive ones.
    Our main supermarkets here are Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda(Walmart) and where possible, I’d rather shop at 2am than during daylight hours.

    Let that be a lesson to you Joe – while you have testicles, back away from the Costco!

  41. Joe, So the Costcos are the same in the States as in Canada. My in laws have lunch at the Costco. I stopped going after I came to the realization that I really don’t need that much toilet paper at one time.

  42. Wait, Conversational Japanese in 7 Days? Just 7?

    I should SO pick that up!

    And while I don’t have a Costco, I do have a Sam’s Club. You know, I do believe they are evil twins separated by corporate birth.

    I make my husband go.

    That way I don’t have to worry about giving in to the temptation to smack anyone in the jumbo pickle jar aisle!

  43. I’ve never been to Costco’s (I googled pictures to get an idea). It seems to be similar to “METRO” (at least with the extra-big packages).
    But you can find stupid customers everywhere, it’s the same with people stopping to chat in doorways or in front of moving staircases…

    55 restaurants would make a lot weird food purchases of the day ^^
    But if you plan beforehand which restaurants to go to you won’t have time to check out “unexpectedly found treasures” and sometimes, those are the best.

    a little late with responding to yesterday’s comments but time zones interfered (sorry for picking up an almost done discussion but it doesn’t happen very often that I’m really upset with moral decisions in shows, usually I don’t bother much because the worse a moral decision gets the more realistic it is, as sad as that sounds, but the episode contradicted itself in its statement and it just bothers me)

    @das: thanks, I thought it was just the one guy and the rest were Wraith, but obviously I must have overlooked the other villagers o.O”

    I do get the “logic” behind ltcoljsheppard‘s “the good of the many outweighs the good of the few” but that was exactly what the villagers decided not to do in the beginning – it was a main point of the episode that you should not sacrifice a few to save many.
    Still, that’s what happened, just with a different few.
    In general, I can understand that in extreme situations morals often don’t work and when it gets to survival, humans are capable of almost everything and unless you haven’t been in similar situations yourself it can be arrogant to judge. (arrogant isn’t really the right word but I couldn’t think of a better one).
    But for me, the episode started as if it wanted to show that it is worthwhile to save a few even if it’s at your inconvience and I still think there would have been a way out of the situation without abandoning morals. Or at least, with volunteers. It would not have changed the fact that people died for the rest but they would have done it as a choice of their own, and yes, I think, that is a big difference.

    if the codes worked the way they should big thanks to anneteldy and Patricia Lee (for the quote)!

  44. We have Costco and Macro over here, I have never been to either; missions into either of those locations are now scratched off my list.

    I do dearly wish the maintenance staff at my University would follow up on their spiel of “of course we’ll warn you when the fire drills are”, instead of letting the fire alarm scare the crap out of everyone in the building, and leaving students wandering around the corridors in dazed confusion and sometimes little clothing.

  45. Well I’m back! Bet you didn’t even realise I was gone. My network connection went screwy last week and it wasn’t a simple fix. I was also dealing with Apple and Optus before finally solving my own problem. Finally got back online about an hour ago.

    What did I do with my offline hours? Apart from going through withdrawals…finished off listening to the audio commentaries of Kindred II & The Last Man, lifted pavers from my backyard courtyard garden, FILE MANAGEMENT 😀 , cleaned the fridge, shoe shopping…..well it wasn’t all dreary, although the shoe shopping was disappointing because I came home empty-handed. All I wanted were some black or brown “lifestyle shoes” (whoever came up with that term?). Apparently women only want to wear white shoes with diamentes or lace or pastel stripes. So I try on the men’s shoes which have normal colours and find it hard to get the right size. Aargh!

    Now I’ll have to spend some time working through the last few days of posts and comments. I’ve just had a quick look. I’ll have to stroll down memory lane with Narelle’s post tomorrow night. Looking forward to it. I wonder if there will be any surprise voice-overs.

    Cheers, Chev

  46. Since moving to Vancouver, Fondy has adopted the strategy of actually zeroing in on shoppers leaving the store and creeping along behind them, following them back to their car like some crazed stalker.

    I swear that is the best way to get a spot. I do it all of the time. Also when I’m making my way back to my car after shopping, I return the karmic favour by signaling to some poor soul doing the carpark shuffle that my car’s in the next aisle so they can follow. Of course it would be really funny if I forgot where I parked the car (Seinfeld-style).

    Cheers, chev

  47. Gee, Joe, I think my worst Big Box store experience ever was up in your neck of the woods. While attending the Stargate convention in Vancouver in 2007, we also visited with the son of a close friend who currently attends SFU. He needed a ride to Ikea, which we innocently and happily agreed to. Parking was fine, the store was fine (for the mostpart), but please explain why they don’t want people to LEAVE??? It took us close to an hour to get out of the parking lot and back onto the highway. What’s with that?

    Back in the states, talking to his mother (my close friend), she told me that she has the same problem when she goes to Ikea in NJ. I would understand if you could shop while sitting in your car not moving for long periods of time, but what’s the excuse for an egress that turns your customers off from ever returning to your store?

    And, belated Happy Birthday!

    Sheree

  48. You know, for some inexplicable reason, I get this feeling that you might not like Costco very much…!

    I’ve never been to one, as far as I can remember! I wonder if the UK version is every bit as bad. I suspect it is!

    Btw, forgot to drop in and say how much I enjoyed Outsiders. Nice dark bit with the explosion, and lots of wonderful Rodney and Carson bits! I love Carson running through the hiveship with a stunner! I was shouting, “Go, Carson” at the screen!! And then the geeks rescue themselves! I loved Rodney’s idea with the dart’s culling beam (and snerked at the two of them trying to cram into the dart beforehand!). Go geeks!!

    There were lots of other bits too…the end scene was really good, and I loved the bit about was Rodney seeing anyone and ‘you’re a terrible liar, Dr McKay, tell me…’!!

    Okay, so I seem to have homed in on Carson and Rodney, but I so do love my geeks!! Overall, it was a great ep with a few darks moments. And although I usually dislike clip shows, and also am not keen on trial-type ones either, I’m actually feeling optimistic about Inquistion!

    Leesa

  49. Yikes, your Costco sounds like my experiences at Walmart. There just is never a good time to go…between the parking, maneuvering around the store, and then checking out in a timely manner. Even at 3am!

  50. Cher Joseph,

    un mot pour vous rassurer. Je n’ai pas pu vous souhaiter bon anniversaire le 16 octobre dernier car j’étais en vacances; ce n’est donc pas par impolitesse que j’ai passé outre à cet événement mémorable dans l’histoire de l’humanité.

    Bon anniversaire, santé, bonheur et une imagination encore plus débridée pour nous divertir pendant encore de nombreuses années avec vos histoires de science-fiction.

    Bye,

  51. You are funny!

    I don’t do the Cosco, Sams etc. as there are only myself and my daughter here and well, I don’t like eating the same things every day.

    As for parking, I used to follow people (still do at christmas time), but now I parked the distance and walk and count it as part of my exercise for the day.

    My sister also hates people who chew loudly. In fact, she doesn’t go to movies cause she can’t stand listening to the people chewing around her. I do have to laugh at that though. She has even gone as far as asking a total stanger to chew quieter and we all crack up.

    As for your trip, can you really fit that much in your body? I know you like food, but it just seems impossible to eat that much in one day. Good luck with that if you choose to take that road.

  52. My fave memory of visiting my Air Force sis in Japan is playing Virtual Fighter at 3 am while surrounded by bleary eyed Marines at the New Sanno. We also loved that the rest stops had the cleanest and most luxurious bathrooms we’d ever seen; one had a glassed in garden with a little waterfall, a huge plus. The negative was the stalls had squat toilets, nuff said.

  53. Like “Riley” I too had to double check whether I’d penned todays entry. We don’t have Costco here in the UK and IKEA is another country anyway that I refuse to visit. Virtually every shopping trip has its attendant obstacles but I bet you wouldn’t expect the same for a hospital visit would you? Our local(ish) hospital is 20 miles away and the car parks (multitudes thereof) have very decorative and ornamental picnic areas with lovely trees n squirrels and not enough frigging spaces. We’ve tried the stalking approach with some limited amount of success but I find the aggressive driving the wrong way down (or up) the arrowed aisles usually elicits a) a parking space and b) two fingered salute from the sheep. Hey its every (wo)man for her/himself! I know what you mean about the cell phone dude and radio station guy. I prefer the more blatant approach myself and will wait until I see a more deserving driver than 4×4 dude/hopeless blonde female/boy racer to then offer my spot to all the while feeling somewhat magnanimous and infinitely superior. Sad i know but hey a girl has to get SOME satisfaction outta the petty shit.

  54. Look^^I can’t even get my own name right! Its official! The rest of the week is cancelled!

  55. Our Costco isn’t so awful … but I am in a smaller town. Parking? Usually not an issue, we hike across the lot. The customers in Utah are mostly shiny Mormon moms, and while I cringe at the pink fleece capris, the teddy bear sweat shirts, the crocs, and repress the urge to screaming “quit breeding” after the brood of ten children swarm the aisles, at the least they’re clean and smell like Amway products. And I’ve never had more than two or three carts in front of me in line. We have food allergies and chat up the sample ladies all the time. They look startled.

    Why Costco? Solar LED Christmas lights, drink and food suitable for desert camping. Yep, it’s all about Burning Man.

    Wal-Mart? I HATE Wal-Mart, dirty, slow service and crap merchandise. Not on my life, unless I am in a strange city in Nevada at three ayem and need a bike tire for the orange trike, the one with the phasing LED flamingos. Or the annual trip to buy white gas for the fire spinners for Winter Solstice, only Wal-Mart carries it out of season. Yep, all about Burning Man.

    Joe, are you going to incur an “excess baggage” charge on the way back from Tokyo?

  56. LOL My favorite part about shopping, be it Walmart or the local grocery store, is checking out after dodging and battling the other customers, standing line line waiting to be checked out is almost as frustating.

    Ok I need space, we all need a little personal space. I just love when the person behind me has to close whatever gap there is and I can feel them literally breathing on the back of my neck… or their grocery cart keeps hitting me in the butt, because their afraid someone is actually going to fit in between the two inches betweeen my butt and their cart.

    I have always wanted a “Ronon” to go grocery shopping with me. My husband helps, but we always spend 20.00 more when he comes along.

  57. *laughs* I so understand your pain. Actually, the person I’d never go to Costco with is my friend’s husband. He’s the worst and SLOWEST comparison shopper in the history of shopping. He heads out to do grocery shopping and is gone for HOURS! My friend has learned to never send him out for bread or milk or something she needs soon, he’ll be gone all day.

  58. Afternoon Joe,

    I, like many other intrepid explorers travelled out to Costco on Sunday and really wish I had stayed home! It took almost as long to find a parking spot as it did to navigate the overcrowded aisles! I can totally relate – I was walking with the flow of the customers and a little old man rammed me with his cart because he didn’t want to wait any longer to join the throng headed for the tills! WORST. SHOPPING. EXPERIENCE. EVER!!! Next time, I’m sending my husband in ALONE!

    Honestly, I started reading your blog as an SG:A fan, looking for a little inside information and some behind the scenes pictures. I have to say that you have quickly become one of my favourite daily routines! Your posts are witty, informative and fun; you almost always have something I can relate to.

    Looking forward to the next weird food purchase!

    Ilerya

    PS > SG:A gets better and better… I have no complaints, other than no season 6, but I shall endure… I can tell you, I will be anxiously awaiting each and every episode and movie they get! Keep up the great work!

  59. I won’t go there or Sam’s Club no matter what anybody tells me. I went once and that was good enough! Still, I’m glad you went; I about fell off my chair laughing 😉 Have a wonderful (and safe) trip!

  60. The Costcos in Edmonton aren’t so bad – maybe we just have bigger parking lots.

    And if you think parking at Costco is bad, try parking at the West Edmonton Mall. It gives me nightmares.

  61. Joe I totally agree, I TOO HATE COSTCO! and besides all fore mentioned, they do not have the best prices on everything! Do the math folks. I also agree totally, why to hell do I need a 100oz ketchup straight from hell for me and my husband only. I don’t. Mind you folks food does have an expiration date, and if it’s a long one, then you do not want to eat it anyways. OMG, Joe great you got me ranting. LOL I enjoyed this blog post. LMAO Have a good week.

  62. I like to go to my local Costco when it rains or about to rain. Half the parking lot is in a flood zone so it keeps people away. I just put on my goofy red galoshes and shop in relative peace.
    I hate that they don’t have an express aisle, although why anyone in their right mind would come to Costco, where they specialize in bulk sizes, for one or two items is beyond me. What’s worse is the people who stand behind me with their one or two items and complain for 20 minutes about how they don’t have an express aisle. Probably a really bad movie script in there somewhere.

  63. Hello Joe, do you have any idea when the SGA movie will broadcast on Sci-Fi? Also will there be resolutions to story lines in the plot or just continuations of themes from the series?

  64. Oh, Joe, how you make me laugh. I am so like you in this regard. When I am out shopping, I walk like I have places to be, and everyone else needs to get the &%!$ out of my way. Of course, I also drive with that mentality, which is why my friends all think I have road rage…

  65. i believe you promised some behind the scenes pictures. when?

    btw, love costco, but really sometimes the sizes are just too big. bought 3 pack of sandwich size ziplock bags. each were bonus sized, too. purchased in 1997 when i was living in anchorage, alaska. 11 years, 3 homes, 2 states and i am still emptying out the last box.

  66. Costco is a good place to buy car tires. I got a set of four tires and it was enough of a bargain to cover the cost of the membership. They also put them on for free and you don’t have to wait in line. The other thing you can get pretty cheap there is computers. Usually for these things you don’t have to fight the crowds like you do for grocery shopping.

    As far as parking; I just automatically park in the Outer Siberia sections of the lot wherever I go, if it’s crowded. Easier to exit that way too.

  67. Hey, when I was in college some of my better meals were at Costco… or Happy Hour in a local bar.

  68. We don’t have a Costco in my area, but we have a Sam’s and Walmart. And I hate going to both. Sam’s and Costco are pretty much the same so I see what you mean.

    @Narelle from Aus: I would be glad to take a picture of my husband shopping. He does all the shopping. In fact I hate shopping even clothes shopping I hate it. I worked for our local Walmart for almost nine years and I think that is why I hate shopping. The only type of shopping I like doing is Speciality stores or when visiting something place or when I am at Disney World. Other than that I would rather have my wisdom teeth pulled out again. In fact my huband doesn’t mind shopping so much that he and his mom went shopping the day after thanksgiving for over 16 hours. I can’t even make it for an hour and I want to be done. Yes, an answer to your question he is insane.

    Joe: Whatever happen to Brad Wrights Q &A? Is it taking him a while to answer all 26 pages of questions? Or did I miss it?

  69. I prefer Costco to my local WalMart.

    I hope, Joe, that despite your annoyance with shopping that you were nice to the clerks. I used to work retail (I’d claw my brains out before I’d ever return to it) many moons ago and I know how hard it is to stay pleasant with customers when said customers are grumpy or rude. By the end of my tenure managing a customer service counter, my response to rudeness was, “There is another market right up the street. Please feel free to go there.”

  70. You went to Costco on a weekend!!!??? What are you, NUTS!! It is bad enough on a week day/night but a weekend!
    I know….you must have wanted to get a feel for your upcoming trip!
    Did you at least get to look though the book section?

  71. Costco has hit Scotland, but not my bit of it. It doesn’t sound as if I am missing out on much.

    I think that internet shopping is great. I buy all my bulky stuff (esp cat litter and cat food) and get it delivered to my kitchen.

    I really hope that Fondy is not purchasing cheap dog food – it can cause unpleasant odours to be expelled from the back-end of the hound.

    I find that the cats will refuse to eat anything that I have bought in bulk. Little *******s that they are.

    🙂

  72. for the love of Beckett!
    Are you talking about the reference to the start of the Book of the Month?
    September 24, 2007 was the first ever book club discussion – and has some cute Lulu pictures included te boot!

    Is this an indication of why I seem to be the one that gets together the life tribute at funerals? 🙁

  73. You know the kind I’m talking about. Male. 25-45. Always takes his sweet time unloading his groceries and carefully arranging them in the trunk before getting in this car and spending the next ten minutes perusing the various radio stations for just the right “back out” tune.

    you saw my hubby there! And we live in indiana! 😉 we have a minivan and he is ultra organized… it’s the scientist in him! 😛

  74. I used to work at Costco, so I completely agree with you. I have no idea why I worked at Costco, but I did, and I wanted to kill every single person.

    You know what is also stupid, you have to PAY to shop there. Why in the holy Lord’s name would you want to pay to go shopping somewhere? Granted, it is a good place if you’re buying for like hundreds of people, but the majority of people, they just go there because they think they need the 18 gallon pail of peanut butter, which will start going bad before they even get through an inch of it.

    I will admit to shopping there when I need batteries for my wireless microphones, but that is because it is the only place in my city that sells bulk batteries. If you think about it, its not even worth shopping there.

    Nope.
    Nada.

    I hate Costco.

    What is worse, everyone seems to love it, and they’re all stupid who think that they can save money buy paying to shop there, and then buying in extreme bulk, which doesn’t even count as regular bulk but bulk in the extreme. There should be a word for that. But alas, I can not think of one at the moment.

    But I do understand your anguish over that horrid store!

  75. Just saw some pictures from Enemy at the Gate that were posted by someone on Gateworld and at an LJ site.
    Sure hope that balcony scene is not a spoiler as to who survives the season!!!!!!! Cause I will cry. Really

  76. Hi Narelle,

    No, not quite the BOTM, but the sentence before it in your “This Is the Life of Your Blog:”

    September of 2007 would see Joe’s blog history.

    So I thought Joe had done his own history of sorts, and was looking forward to seeing that, too. Instead I got lost reading other interesting bits, and never did find it. 😛 Not a bad place to ger lost, however. Thanks for your help!

    And I bet your family does appreciate tributes, though they forget to say so. Yours are good.

  77. I’ve just seen the episodic photos for Enemy at the Gate with Rodney and keller cuddling. So it seems all is over for Ronon. Poor guy.

    Why release the pics of the end of the triangle now? Wasn’t the idea to keep us all guessing right until the end?

  78. I work in retail.
    I work in retail.
    I work in retail.

    I hate my life.

    What I needed today was a reminder of why I’m so happy to be moving from “Tarjey” to the whole foods organic hawaiian shirt clad Trader Joes.

    And I bought shoe skates today.

  79. @ Anne Teldy from 10/18: …I think others reading the book might like to see what Mr. Twelve Hawks had to say about it and maybe those who are still unsure whether to read this particular Club selection might find it useful in their decision-making. Thus, I’ve transcribed it below …

    Thanks so much for sharing the author’s intro – it’s not in the copy i’m reading. Just started it 2 days ago, and haven’t got too far into it yet, but jeez – can you say PARANOIA???!!!! I’m really looking forward to the rest of the book. Should provide some very interesting discussions …

  80. Joe,
    How much would The Lost Tribe have changed if Jill Wagner would have been able to reprise her role of Larrin? Was it as easy as just changing the dialogue to reflect that now Katana was there and not Larrin? Is that also why the last scene with Sheppard and Katana seemed to mimic the last scene of Sheppard and Larrin in BAMSR except for different dialogue?

    I heard a rumor that TPTB at Stargate were upset with Jill Wagner and/or her agent for the late notification that she would not be available for TLT and wonder if you could confirm or deny it? If this rumor is not true, is there a chance that Larrin and the Travelers would be included in the SGA movie?

    Also, I am a little confused/disappointed with the revelation that the Travelers began a colony on a planet when it is clear that the Wraith are still a powerful race even in their weakened state. The one thing that has kept them alive for so long was staying in space and avoiding the Wraith. Why now, while the Wraith are still a threat, would they build a colony especially one on a planet with a stargate? I know you guys don’t like the Atlantis expedition to keep any Ancient tech that would give them too much power, but did you really have to destroy the Travelers’ Ancient ship? One of the things I dislike about the way SGA has been written is that it was predictable that the Ancient warship of the Travelers would be destroyed some how and it was only a question of when. Also, only when a spaceship was needed and for whatever reason neither the Daedalus or the Apollo were available were the Travelers included in a storyline. Here is a race of quasi-allies and there is no mention of them in any episodes in about a year? Why even create this race when you don’t even utilize their potential for stories?

    I really think you guys missed some opportunites for good stories lately especially with some of the dreadful filler eps in the 2nd half of last season and the 1st half of this season.

  81. Hi

    Just watched Outsiders. What a great episode!
    It felt like old times with the whole gang together.

    I realy enjoyed having the entire team together
    again. The banter between Mckay and Becket
    was hilarious. Man do I love this show!!!!!!!

  82. Thankfully, I’ve never been to Costco, but I’ve worked Black Friday (the day after the US Thanksgiving) at Wal-Mart in Electronics, while in college. I wanted to hide under the counter.

    Shoppers really do not have it all that bad when it comes to being pushed by other shoppers. Try having 50 customers rush you all at once because you only have 12 XBOX 360’s for sale for Christmas and they all have to have one. It makes you hate Microsoft, hate retail, and well, hate customers in general. *laugh* I even had some 7 yr old kid come up behind me and jerk on my clothing rudely demanding that I stop assisting another lady and get a video game out for him. I asked him to wait and apparently his mother shot dagger eyes at me.

    I remember shaking so bad at the register at 6am on Black Friday, due to having some 200 people waiting to be checked out in my lane. A vein in my hand actually burst from stress. heh.

    I do my Christmas shopping for the most part either early or online and avoid the craziness of Christmas where shoppers punch each other over the last care bear (true story) or shopping cart. People act like squirrels on coke around Christmas. Normal shopping, even that at Costco, simply cannot compare. There’s just something in the Christmas air that turns normal customers into devil people set on getting the “perfect” gift. Companies such as Sony and Microsoft love to add to the hype by supplying stores with a tenth (or less) of the actually needed electronics that are in demand. So the crap hits the fan making customers feel that they need to push, shove and ram other customers and clerks to ensure they get a guitar hero, xbox 360, and ps2 or ps3 for their little heathen children. This is all in the name of the Christmas spirit, or perhaps it’s more to do with taking the actual meaning of Christmas out of the Holiday Season.

    Black Friday this year will likely be worse than ever as more people have less money making the 6am (very limited) specials seem all that more appealing. God forbid the store not get all of the “special” merchandise in or the devil people will turn into extremely mad devil people. Perhaps Valium needs to be given out as a free sample. 😉

    My fiance’s family keep insisting that I get a Christmas retail job here as I do not qualify for much being only a temp resident, living in a rural town that has high unemployment. I die a little inside every time I think about it as being a retail clerk at Christmas scares the crap outta me. Anyway, I thought the rant was fitting given how the Christmas season is soon upon us.

  83. “I do get the “logic” behind ltcoljsheppard’s “the good of the many outweighs the good of the few” but that was exactly what the villagers decided not to do in the beginning – it was a main point of the episode that you should not sacrifice a few to save many.”

    I think the difference is that Jervis was willing to sacrifice people who had done nothing to incur the enmity of the village which had originally welcomed them. We saw that they had become part of the village and made valuable contributions to it. What Sheppard and the village leader did was to set up a situation where Jervis and company had yet another opportunity to do the right thing, and didn’t. I actually think that the leader is more culpable than Sheppard in that he gave his blessing to Jervis’ plan, thereby making it less likely that they would rethink their options. That’s something that Sheppard could not have accomplished. In the final analysis, what put Jervis and Co down in that mine was their decision to make a deal with the wraith. The explosion was not targeted at the humans but at the Wraith. Of course, if you hang around wraith, you’re likely to hang with them.

  84. Wow Joe the Costco where you are is exactly like the one I go to here in Toronto. I believe they all are like that. Been to two of them.

    Hey Joe don’t you just love all those buggies being driven by those that seem to be too busy not looking where they are going with them darn things.

    How about those damn parents that allow their kids to steer those things.

    Hey Joe ever been to Ikea? That is just as bad.

    Hang in there Joe the next time you go to Costco.

    Hugs

    Fran

    PS Oh noooooo looks like I have to make a Costco trip we have no Halloween Candy yet and time is running out.

  85. First things first – totally jealous that you’re going to Tokyo! Looks like you’re going to beat me in going to the Far East this year… going to stop over in HK while you’re there? It’s only a short plane ride… 😀

    Second – big favour! I have a friend coming to visit me from the UK in December and she can’t have dairy but she loves chocolate… do you know of any chocolate shops that sell non-dairy chocolate? Thanks muchly!

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