Free and food. Two words that appeal to any geezer.
Free means no need to dip into the retirement fund so we can preserve our pennies for another day at the casino. Food means getting the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants needed to make our bodies fortresses against evil germanic invaders.
Fortunately, there’s a place that combines free and food in a neat and convenient package that appeals to senior citizens throughout the land. And that place is Costco.
Sure Costco sell stuff. Their steel metal shelving, climbing like skyscrapers to the ceiling, are piled high with pallets holding jumbo packages of goods we need to fill our garages in preparation for a siege, possibly by a band of armed and dangerous marauding goats.
But in between the product shelves are rolling carts with microwaves that, during the middle hours of the day, and especially on weekends, dispense free samples of the foodstuffs that Costco sells.
Your frugal geezer decided to report on this free food opportunity. I began by grabbing a cart large enough to hold a family of four and steering it to the food stations near the front of the store.
Here I found what I will call appetizers. First, there was beef jerky in three different flavors, each available in its own white serving cup. Since Geezerbill still has his own teeth, I was able to sample the regular, teriyaki, and hot and spicy versions. My favorite was the teriyaki so I decided to drop a package in my cart.
The mixed nut appetizer also required seniors with good chewing power. The woman server, in her black shirt, red apron, and white hair net pointed out how the nuts would be perfect for those distant relatives that show up during the holidays wanting to eat you out of house and home, so I picked up a jar.
A few aisles down, the appetizer course concluded with three crispy white cheddar popcorn chips which looked like white tortilla chips but tasted like popcorn. “What a clever idea,” I thought, and put a bag in my cart.
Before reaching the freezer aisles I was able to cleanse my pallet. One station offered healthy juice with a green colored kale and ginger drink. Not having succumbed to the current kale fad, I declined. The next offering for the healthy senior was orange juice with added fiber. Having had my flax seed with breakfast, I declined that healthy offering and found a third drink choice, mango nectar, with full complement of sugar. It tasted appropriately sweet so I grabbed a gallon jug for my cart.
Having arrived at the meat freezers, I was ready for what I will call “the main course.” The previous snacks were fine, but it’s the meat aisle freebies that can provide a senior with his or her daily nutritional requirements.
First up, was a simple half meatball with teriyaki sauce in a white serving cup, complete with toothpick for popping into your mouth. It was tasty but not filling so I pushed my cart around the freezer case, and picked up a second helping, thus eating a complete meatball. Thinking the sauce might also be tasty on steak, I put a bottle in my cart.
Next, I was offered a cupful of pulled pork. A simple treat, I ate it and savored the barbeque flavoring.
At the other end of the aisle was a more complete treat – low sodium ham and turkey made into a thin sandwich on chia bread. I thought Chias were pets sold at Christmas, but apparently it is now also a thin, pita-like bread. The low sodium variety of meat was offered because Costco knows geezers eat too much salt. I rewarded their thoughtfulness by putting a double package of the meat in my cart.
Next row over was also a free treat with the senior citizen in mind – vegetable and turkey lasagna. “One third the calories of regular lasagna,” the server proudly stated. The lasagna was so hot she served it in a double paper wrapping with a white plastic spork. Being too hot to handle, I put the sample in my cart and headed for a nearby aisle where I could let it cool on a stack of boxed Shiatsu Foot Massagers. While the food cooled, I read the box and learned that using the foot massager would bathe my feet in luxury. After eating the lasagna I put a massager in my cart then went back and found a box of lasagna to buy. I imagined eating the lasagna while my bare feet were being gently kneaded in the massager.
To rest my mouth, a nearby sampling station was offering cambozola. Not only does Costco offer a geezer free lunch, but they also provide an opportunity to learn about food from around the world. Apparently, this was an imported German cheese that combined bleu and brie cheeses. It was creamy, but the man was serving only small pieces, so I said, “Wow! That’s really tasty,” and took a second piece. Then the wheel of cambozola cheese joined the other items in my cart.
The smell of frying potstickers attracted me to the Chinese portion of my main course. I toothpicked a half a pork potsticker, then came around for a second half. Unfortunately, a family with three kids edged me out of the last pieces on the tray, so I wasn’t able to complete my potsticker. That left me wanting more, so I dropped a bag of frozen postickers in my cart to take home.
I then noticed that an outside vendor in a large booth, also known as a “road show,” was offering samples of their focaccia breads. Tomato and Mushroom, Spinach and Cheese, and Rustic Olive varieties were available. After sampling them all, I choose to take home the Tomato and Mushroom variety.
Feeling that perhaps I had reached my calorie count for lunch, I decided that dessert would be the perfect ending. And there in front of one of the aisles leading to the front was a chocolate French truffle sample. It was chocolaty, smooth, and sweet – how could I not succumb? I grabbed a box and put it in my cart.
Near the front of the store, I decided to skip the vitamin-enriched gummy bears and go straight to the checkout line. There, I discovered the two words that are the enemy of free food – full cart.