by Melinda Gallo

Costco...need I say more?

Costco is so enticing. You shop around a huge warehouse where you can buy 10 of something you normally only buy 1 of. Of course, you will use it. You may not need it, but you figure you must be getting a bargain if it's at Costco, so why not get more? It's a great idea until we begin packing our luggage.

Today was the perfect day to go to Costco. The Raiders and 49ers were playing and we caught a glimpse of one or both of the games on the 60-inch plasma televisions they had at the entrance. It was the only place we actually saw a crowd of people.

I've been to Costco a lot when I was living in Rocklin. I used to love to drive up in the early weekday afternoon (while other people were busy working and children were in school) in my empty car and fill it with a year's supply of everything I've managed to go through in a few months. I also used to love to look through the books and other food items to see what looks good.

There are definitely some great deals at Costco. Dave and I tried to limit ourselves as we remember that we're only allowed two suitcases to check in at 32 kilos each! We would've done pretty well if it weren't for my two huge bags of books: one bag of new books and one bag of books I found in storage that I hadn't yet finished.

We bought mostly useful things, like deodorant, toothpaste, dental floss, Advil, and a few other items we have been missing. Yes, they do have these things in Florence, but I don't find the deodorant to work so well, I don't like licorice in my toothpaste, I don't want to pay $4 for a small thing of dental floss that we go through in a month (when I can get a pack of 5 for $5), and I also don't want to spend a lot on a package of 10 Ibuprofen pills when I can get 100 of them for a few dollars!

We both miss some of the American stores like Costco. There are a few huge stores outside of Florence, but because we don't have a car, we can't just go when we want. But, the culture of Costco is a little lost as most Italians probably wouldn't have the space to store the quantities that we would purchase at Costco.

And if there was a Costco in Florence, it would be packed as are most all malls and large stores in the suburbs of Italy. I feel so spoiled here because we have so much room and I don't even notice the large crowds as there's so much space, we can always walk around.

I also found out that we have to pay about $20/kilo if our luggage goes over the limit. I'm thinking that I should mail my books (as I've been told that I can ship about 20 or so pounds of books for next to nothing and then wait about 3 months to get them)...and then do another Costco-run!

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