The Loh Life

A tale of three Costcos: Part Two

The second part of Sandra Tsing Loh's take on three Costcos in the Southland addresses sample sizes.

So I’ve been feeling GUILTY over a recent Sunday with my two daughters. Instead of taking them to a MUSEUM or a CONCERT or even their own SPORTS event, no, we were going to Costco to buy adult DIAPERS for grandpa. But to make it at least a SMIDGE edifying, we were going to a NEW Costco-- Not the Mexican one in Van Nuys or the Armenian one in Glendale, but the one in Alhambra—CHINESE Costco. Around the World in Three Costcos.

I was going to SUGGEST that Chinese family members will gather around produce to discuss it-- Whereas Latina moms will hunt whole racks of meat by THEMSELVES while ARMENIAN husbands consult ANXIOUSLY with their wives on their I-Phones— Just my IMPRESSION, your Costco may vary--

But once INSIDE Chinese Costco, of course, it came down to the usual two things —not just what’s on the TELEVISIONS, but where are the samples?

Regardless of our melting pot, this is the great cultural leveler in Los Angeles. No ethnicity that I know of does NOT enjoy a tasty sample.

Because look at us. We’re all working people and parents and we also food shop, often at odd times. For instance, mid-afternoon the other week, while picking up some last minute DINNER things at the Pasadena Fresh ‘n’ Easy, I whipped confidently around the corner and saw, to my disbelief—and the feeling was like an elevator PLUNGING, cord cut--that they had for some mysterious reason—REMOVED the food SAMPLE counter. Where there had PREVIOUSLY been a festive BOOTH proffering mini-Dixie cups of guava juice or Southwestern-style pasta SALAD with little sporks or these organic CHEESE puffs I’ve become QUITE fond of and oddly DEPENDENT on to get from three to four in the AFTERNOON, there was ONLY an empty shell. A kind of bombed-out Dresden.

Because mid to late afternoon is a tricky glycemic time. For instance, sometimes amidst my children’s various school and activity schedules, we end up at 4:30 p.m. at the Hometown Buffet-- Which we call the HoBu, in the same way SOME call Howard Johnson’s Hojo’s. While my GIRLS are ready for dinner at 4:30, I myself am not, but I MAY instruct my elder daughter to get one EXTRA fried chicken wing and then when the waitress’ back is turned I will gobble it. You may JAIL me, HoBu, I figure it’s parent tax—I’ve expended the chauffeur time and gas money to deliver two of the venue’s most loyal customers. And while I would order a glass of Chablis to soften the too-bright lighting you CAN’T, so instead I’ve comforted myself with a small chicken wing.

Costco, however, is different, and at Chinese Costco we learn something new! Conclusion next week.


blog comments powered by Disqus