The Costco Pizza Trick That Not Enough People Seem to Know About
Those of us who are professional food and recipe writers have a few other things (by association) that we are also experts at: dishwashing (sigh), repurposing leftovers (my favorite indoor sport), and food shopping. And while I have a robust, ever-changing, and always-growing list of places where I shop, Costco remains a mainstay — and more than 90 million other Costco members obviously agree.
So knowing the ins and out of the different places that I shop — who has the best cheeses, whose prices are great on plastic wrap, how to work the sales, which store-brand quinoa is the best in terms of quality and value — is actually a pretty big part of my job. Luckily I happen to love this part of my job. It’s like an ongoing little game, kind of like Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader? But instead it’s Are You Smarter than the Grocery Store?
Back to Costco — lots has been written (some of it by me!) about being a savvy warehouse club shopper. And it’s nice to know that, should you have time, their enticingly priced little food court awaits you at the end of your shopping excursion. But sometimes you don’t have time to wait on what can be a very long line, and then sit and have your lunch … and you also might have ice cream or other frozen items that need to get home, stat. But a Costco trip can make you hungry. What to do?
This is what to do: Order and pay for a pizza to be ready just as you check out, and snap it up as you make your way to the door — no waiting, and a very large (and good and cheap) hot pizza to go. There are a few ways to do this.
- When you know you are about 15 minutes away from paying, probably as you are scooping up your last few items and heading towards the checkout, make a quick detour and put in your order for a pizza. Better still, if a shopping companion came with you, have them do that while you finish up and pay.
- If the food counter employees are not too busy and feeling especially helpful, you might be able to place your order when you first enter the store, and arrange to pick it up at a designated time. I did this the last time I went to my local Costco, and the nice lady behind the counter explained that the pizza would take 15 minutes to make, so I did some math, based on how much shopping I had to do, and the crowdedness of the store, and set up my “put the pizza in the oven time” with her. I was pretty close to being on target with my math. And when I went to pick it up I was feeling pretty self-congratulatory — especially because the food line was now about 20 people deep.
- You can also put your pizza order in just as you are about to start checking out, then pay for your haul, leave the store, load up your car, and return just in time to grab the piping-hot pizza. This is the best of all worlds, as — especially if you are shopping solo — you don’t have to balance a pizza on top of your cart. And because your car is already loaded up, all you have to do is pop back into the store, grab the pizza, and speed off towards home.
The final and most important part of this story: He or she who did the shopping and the pizza-procuring gets the first slice (and does not have to help unload the car). Thems the rules.