Shopping the Big Box Stores in Style

Tomorrow, BJ’s warehouse opens in Flushing.

To any of you outside of NYC, this might not seem like a big deal.  But, here in NY, land of the shoebox apartments,  big box stores are a big big deal. And groceries are really, really expensive.

So the addition of a BJ’s to the city is a pretty big deal.  It’s cheap, it’s huge, you can maneuver your cart around without breaking someone’s toe, and THEY TAKE COUPONS!!!!  So not only do you save 30%  to begin with (the amount they estimate an average consumer will save per visit), you can clip  coupons, too. Plus (and most importantly)- unlike some other warehouse stores I won’t mention – BJ’s sells items in sizes that will actually FIT into a NYC apartment.

(Not something you out there with your big houses and big garages, and walk-in pantries, and extra-fridge in the basement-types really think about when you grab a vat of Tide and a 24 pack of paper towels, now is it?)

So a new BJ’s is a big deal.  But for me, BJ’s will always be about movie stars and chauffers.  Why, you ask?

Read on.

My kids went to nursery school with the child of a very famous director. (VFD)  One day, at a playdate at their house (no shoebox for the VFD. He and his family lived in a 10,000 square foot town house), I noticed that  (walk-in) snack closet held giant sized boxes of every kid-snack every created.

“Do you go to one of those warehouse stores?” I asked. Incredulous.

“I love them!” answered the VFD’s wife. “I’m going tomorrow.  Why don’t you come with me.”

“I’ll drive” I offered.

“Oh, don’t worry about that, it’s all taken care of.”

The next day, VFD’s wife and I dropped our kids off for overpriced fingerpainting, and drove to BJ’s.  In her chauffer driven car.  Once we got there, the chauffer walked through the store with my new money-saving friend, and took things off the shelves for her.

“Peter,” she said, “We need tuna fish.”

And Peter would bend down, pick up a ten-pack of Tuna fish and place it in her cart.

When we finished shopping, Peter went and found boxes for us.  Peter packed our boxes. Peter loaded them into the car.  And she and I went to Old Navy to browse.

Over the course of two years, every few months, VFD’s wife and I went to BJ’s, to Costco, to Stew Leonards – always with a chauffeur.

One day, I left the store to see John with the White Mercedes waiting for me. Thing was, we had driven up with Peter, in the black Mercedes.

Seems VFD’s wife had bought too much to fit into one car, and so had called the second chauffeur, to bring the second Mercedes, to take me and my stuff home.

And that, dear bloggy friends, is how famous people go discount shopping.

p.s. Here’s the info, if you want to check out the Grand Opening tomorrow.  The new BJ’s is at 131-07 40th Rd. in Flushing, NY.  For the Grand Opening there will be lots of food, balloons, face painting, a DJ, giveaways, and more.


  1. babiesgottahaveit says

    Oh my god this is a genius story. I love it so so much. I have often pondered just the whole efficacy of driving out of town to go to the big box stores. Once you pay tolls and gas have you really saved that much money? Plus it’s such a tremendous amount of effort. Flushing though…that’s not so bad. I know lots of people in Queens who will be really excited about that. Needless to say, I won’t make the trip from the UWS. I can’t even be bothered to go to the Trader Joe’s in Union Square. How am I going to do that with a two year old? Lug bags of groceries on the subway with her in an Ergo? Yeah. Not so much. Ahhhhh for a walk in pantry.

  2. says

    I have to drive MYSELF. Then I have to PUSH the cart. Then I have to UNLOAD it all into my van MYSELF.

    We call Costco/BJ’s/Sam’s the 3-Hundred-Dollar Store… go in for some super-sized peanut butter and a bucket of cream puffs and come out with marinated pork loin, 4 cases of soda, 100 rolls of TP, a bushel of apples, some garden tools, a couple orchids, Gloria Vanderbilt jeans (that you did not try on so they don’t even fit!) and a case of CD jewel cases for all the movies you have copied from VHS to DVD…. oh, and the peanut butter and Cream Puffs… and all this comes to– Yep! 300.00 — always. No matter what you put in the cart you are coming out with 300.00 on the receipt.

    And I have to stock the shelves of my garage, pantry and standing freezer large enough to put 3 of my children in…
    all by myself.
    And I never even thought about how small the storage space in a NYC apartment would be — probably cuz I have 4000 sq ft home on an acre in the burbs… not having space would totally suck!

    Feel free to come visit my space anytime… I have plenty of room!

  3. says

    Your blog fascinates me. Let me tell you why.

    My husband heads corporate communications (which is a fancy way of saying public relations) for one of the worlds largest financial organizations. When he took the job, their headquarters were here in the ATL. He traveled frequently to NYC – all was well.

    Their headquarters have since moved to the NE and all of his primary functions operate out of NYC now. Although it is in the company’s best interest for Spin to be in NY daily, they are gracious to allow him to commute. His office is on Park Ave. and he is there weekly.

    The possibility of another move (to the city) has since loomed over us – and I have to be honest. It’s one I FEAR. I can’t imagine that kind of transition with older kids.

    Anyway. I LOVE reading about your life in the city.

    • says

      I have three words for you about bringing older children to NYC: NO DRINKING AND DRIVING.
      Seriously – that’s huge! I think that would terrify me more than anything about living in the ‘burbs. Here – it’s all about public transportation. No drunk kid is going to try to convince your kid to get in the car with him.
      See? Don’t you feel better already?
      Thanks for reading.

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