You guys. I discovered the Bulk Barn last night.
And I am in love!!!!
Okay, so, no, I have not been living under a rock, I already knew what the Bulk Barn was. In fact, I’d been in the store many times before, especially when there was a location at Carlingwood Shopping Centre. But anytime I’d gone in before, I was just trailing around after my mother. My eyes would widen as I’d pass bin after bin of amazing looks candies and chocolates and nuts and baking goods. But truth be told, I never really knew how it “worked”. And I’m afraid of things that I don’t understand. So in my mind, it was just a place where Moms who knew the system shopped for baking stuff, and because I didn’t know “the system”, it meant I couldn’t buy anything there myself. Case closed.
Last night, my mom and I were heading off the to city to Walmart, and I had my list of things I needed to shop for for my Christmas baking/chocolatemeltingandswirling. Half of my list consisted of things like Bakers chocolate, chocolate chips,mixed nuts, sliced almonds, pecan pieces, dried cranberries, chocolate rosettes, M&M’s, Hershey Kisses, mini pretzels… all the things I needed to make my favourite Christmas cookies and bark. A few days ago, my friend Sharon admonished me for paying the high local grocery store prices for such things when she could pick up for me in the city at the Bulk Barn. But I like to do be an independent, non-reliant little chickie-doo, and insisted I would shop for myself.
On the way down, I mentioned to Mom that Sharon had recommended the Bulk Barn, and she was like, “OH! Yes, of course! And there’s a nice new one right near the Walmart there, we should definitely go there first!!”
And in my head, I was like, Meh, sure, whatever… but I don’t know the frigging CODE to how that store works, so I will still probably buy it all at Walmart…
We were barely in the door until I lost Mom. She went ripping right in and started saying, “Oh yes, I need some of this…. and yes, I should get these here too!”
And I was just scanning all the bins, totally impressed with the immense selection, yet still very intimidated and bewildered by it all.
I tracked her down. “So, like, Mom…what do I do?”
“Well, you take a bag and you scoop what you want into it, and that’s it! I think there should be tags to label it too… hmmm… I don’t see any tags… I’m not sure… hmmm…”
And then she just trailed off down the aisle mumbling away and I was left shaking my head. Like, WHAT?! I know I scoop what I want into the bag, but if there’s supposed to be tags and she can’t find any, THAT can’t be good, can it??
So I come across the Christmas-coloured M&M’s and decide I’m going to dive in. You gotta start somewhere, right? I take a bag and open the bin and scoop a bit in and hold it up and, I’m like, huh. I have no idea how much this is. Is this how many are in a normal bag of M&M’s? It doesn’t look like enough… How do I know? Maybe this is like 30 frigging dollars worth of M&M’s…
“Mom. Mom?? MOM!!!”
But she’s off skipping down aisles of berries and nuts and chocolateeverything and she couldn’t be bothered with her little Bulk Barn virgin of a daughter.
I finally tracked her down again, and said, “I need HELP! I don’t understand!! Like, how do I know how much I need? I have no idea if this is the right amount. And how do I know how much it’s going to cost? And what about those tags you were telling me about?? I don’t see any flippin’ tags anywhere!”
And she was like, “Oh I think you have enough.”
And I was like, “But how do I REALLY KNOW?!?!”
“There are scales around here somewhere, if you really want to check, but you can usually eyeball it and tell by how heavy the bag is in your hand and, oh yes, I need some of these…”
And then she was gone again, down another aisle, still talking away but unaware that I cannot HEAR her when she’s in a whole ‘nother aisle.
Seriously, I was sitting on a fence. A very thin, fragile fence. I was on the verge of a very toddler-like meltdown where I would throw my stupid Christmas-coloured M&M’s back in their bin and stomp out of the store saying, “SCREW IT! I don’t understand this dumb store! I’m going to WALMART! At least I understand how to BUY THINGS THERE!!!!”
But instead, I decided to put on my big girl pants and very calmly said, “I’m just going to start loading up bags and not worry about tags and figure this shit out for myself.”
I started slowly, cautiously… I tied up my bag of M&M’s and headed on to the chocolate squares. (FYI, when you say “These chocolate squares are too hard to scoop, can I just use my hands?” your mom will yell “NO!” It kinda makes a scene. But then again, I think we had already made a scene. Whatever.) I hovered by the nuts, wondering if I should get them there too, and decided, “hell, why not?” Dried cranberries. Sliced almonds. Chocolate rosettes.
I finally overheard Mom asking an employee about these tags she kept wondering about, and he told her not to worry about them unless she was getting things like flour and stuff like that. So the tag issue was off the table.
I ended up deciding against getting my chocolate chips and Hershey Kisses and mini pretzels there, because I honestly had no clue, I very well could have been carrying around a thousand dollars worth of product at that point. I didn’t know how heavy my bags were or if I had enough of anything or too much of everything, and I didn’t have patience to seek out the scales to figure it all out. I finally said, “I’m done. I’m going to the cash.”
And there, I held my breath as the guy rang everything up, convinced that I had gone wack-o and would end up paying a fortune when I was supposedly trying to save money at this place…
And then he told me I owed him $45. I expected my baking supplies to cost more like $100. The chocolate squares alone were a massive savings. To buy the number of boxes I needed of squares should have come in around $50, and at the Bulk Barn, they were less than $20.
I definitely should have got the chocolate chips and Hershey Kisses and mini pretzels there too. I will know for next time.
I’m 32 years old, and I have finally discovered the beauty of the Bulk Barn. I am already planning my next trip. I think I will probably become addicted to this place.
Who knew, eh?
(ps… Happy Thanksgiving to my American bloggy pals! Eat some turkey and stuffing for me, please!! So jeal!!)