Successful shopping at warehouse stores can be Mission Impossible

Successful shopping at warehouse stores can be Mission Impossible

What possesses us smaller families of two — three if you count the cat — to shop at the big box warehouse stores?

It all looks great while you are there. Some days you can snack your way from aisle to aisle. It’s the total experience that makes you want to spend money, but it doesn't always work out, like the time we bought a 12 pack of frozen chicken pot pies.

We don’t have pot pies very often, and Joe is the only one who eats them. They were the extra-large individual pot pies too, and they took up about 1/8th of our freezer space.

I baked one pot pie about every other month, so this box was taking up lots of freezer space for quite a while. I still remember the happy day when there were only about four to five pot pies left and I decided to take them out of the big box and recycle it. It was great to have the extra room.

The next problem is warehouse store amnesia. This happens when you buy an item like a 24 pack of individual frozen pizzas and you don’t like them very well. Reminder, there’s only two of us, so those pizzas lasted a long time.

Fast forward. It’s a year later, and there’s that same box of individual pizzas on sale for a great price. Into the cart they go, and later, after you’ve baked a couple, you realize these were the pizzas that weren’t that great.

Didn’t we say we weren’t going to buy these again and now we’ve got 22 of them left? And we are going to eat them too because we both came from families where you didn’t waste food, but we’re not going to enjoy them.

“Don’t you need bananas?” Joe asked at the warehouse store on one trip.

Yes, but not from the warehouse store. They sell them about 5-6 pounds at a time. I might fall for the frozen pizzas, but my warehouse store amnesia is not that bad. Now I need to go to another store so I can get other items I need. That is kind of crazy.

On warehouse shopping trips, we always end of spending more money than we thought we would spend going in. It doesn’t take many extra-large packs of items to give you sticker shock at the checkout.

I’m sure warehouse stores work better for people with larger families.

I learned an idea years ago through the popular “A Family Raised on Sunshine” cookbook by Beverly Nye, a fellow Ohioan.

Nye promoted the idea of storing a year’s worth of food at a time. It was a form of security, in case of job loss or health issues. We were living in a single wide trailer at the time, so the idea of storing all this food really wasn’t appealing, and we were young, stupid and in love — nothing was going to happen to us.

When the pandemic hit and no one was sure exactly how COVID-19 spread or how bad it might be, I started thinking about Nye’s suggestion again. Wouldn’t it be great to know you didn’t have to go out to get food, especially when some items were in short supply?

But one of the biggest problems of warehouse shopping is the visuals. It’s like furniture shopping — everything looks smaller in the store. That’s what happened recently when I was in need of some oatmeal.

We spotted an industrial-size, 10-pound box of brand-name oatmeal at a really good price. Into the cart it went, and then when we got it home, it was instant buyer’s remorse. Joe does not eat oatmeal; I was stuck with all of it myself.

The oatmeal came in two 5-pound bags. This was going to make more work for me.

I grabbed a chair to stand on to begin the search. In a cupboard in the outer reaches of the kitchen, I discovered some extra storage containers I had forgotten about. Even more work, I fished them down and needed to wash them first.

Finally, I got all the oatmeal into the cupboard in a collection of miss-matched containers. That’s a lot of oatmeal.

Now for the real challenge — to eat all this oatmeal by myself before the expiration date of June 28, 2023.

Want to come over for breakfast? Guess what we are having.