What I Buy At Costco

posted by Andrea | 08/23/2019

One of the questions I get ALLLLLL the time is to share the things I regularly buy at Costco. 

We’ve had a Costco membership for almost 4 years now (just the membership, not the credit card) and although we regularly talk about NOT renewing it, we always decide it’s worth the cost for our family at this point in life. 

Dave and I actually joke about the fact that our Costco membership fee fits more into the “Entertainment” section of our finance tracking workbook than it does into the Grocery section because the kids love going to Costco to look around, try the samples, and maybe snag a slice of pizza from the food court!

It’s always a fun adventure, and they are ready and eager whenever I announce a Costco trip!

 

We have the Executive Membership which is twice the price of a traditional membership ($120 versus $60) but it comes with a few added perks — like an extra membership card and cash back on every purchase.

And even with the doubled fee, the cost breaks down to just over $1 per week after we factor in the cash back (we are guaranteed an in-store credit of $60 at the end of our membership year — which we put towards our next year’s membership).

NOTE: if you have specific questions about the membership, it’s probably best to call or visit your local Costso — I don’t have all those details! 

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Anyway… the kids and I usually try to hit up Costco at least once per month to “stock up” on our favorite staples (and of course, enjoy the samples).

Over the past 4 years, I’ve noticed that I basically buy the same things every single month… with maybe a new item or two each trip, depending on what is on sale or if we need something specific and it’s easier to buy it from Costco versus making an extra trip to a different store. 

Here’s the (growing) list of our favorite Costco buys! 

Paper + Cleaning Products: 

Over the last 4 years, I have become a fan of Kirkland brand toilet paper and paper towels, so I buy a (huge) package of them whenever we are low again. 

Believe it or not, the package of paper towels usually lasts our family an entire YEAR (not nearly as long for the toilet paper!)

I also buy the Kirkland kitchen trash bags and jumbo packages of Ziplock bags a couple times each year when they are “on sale”. 

And… if you’re looking for a fantastic value on diapers, the Kirkland brand really can’t be beat. We still mostly use Seventh Generation brand, but the Kirkland diapers are super high quality and VERY reasonably priced! 

I’ve been using the Kirkland brand of dishwasher tabs for a very long time. They do an excellent job of washing our dishes (I have actually experimented with different brands and the dishes are not as clean). 

The one down-side to these dishwasher tabs is that they seem to have a fairly strong smell. In my opinion, this smell sometimes transfers over to plastic food storage containers (not always) so I often end up washing specific items by hand so they don’t get the smell. 

I have also purchased large containers of sanitizing wipes for our home and our church nursery. 

We don’t have any regular prescriptions, but we have filled prescriptions at Costco in the past — usually at a good discount. We DO always purchase our gummy vitamins from Costco. The kids love them and they are fairly reasonably priced. 

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Meat + Cheese! 

Oh my word, we eat SO MUCH “Meat + Cheese” — as my kids call it! 

Every Costco trip means buying at least one BIG block of both cheddar and colby jack cheese, as well as a large container of Feta Cheese. We also buy a bag of crumbled bacon, a 3-pack of hot dogs (not every month on this one) and a big bag of their DELICIOUS pre-cooked sausage links. 

These sausage links are our kids’ personal favorites and they have almost no extra additives or preservatives. They are so quick and easy (and they’ll be on my list of “favorite things” next month!) 

Our favorite cheese are the Tillamook Sharp Cheddar, White Cheddar, and Colby Jack!

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Syrup, honey, butters, and dips:  

We buy all our maple syrup, honey, peanut butter, regular butter, hummus, and salsa in bulk from Costco. We go through so much of all of these that I buy more pretty much every month. 

We do sometimes buy guacamole from Costco (it’s delicious) but I usually make it myself

For the record, our favorites are the Hannah Hommus Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and the Santa Barbara Mango Peach Salsa

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Nuts and Dried Fruit: 

I have yet to find better priced or higher quality nuts and dried fruit than at our local Costco. They have SOOOOO many options too!

We go through a huge bag of Craisins every month, and we enjoy their Cashews, peanuts, almonds, and pistachios in various trail mixes, baked goods, and other snacks. 

Our Costco recently started selling dried apples — SO yummy!

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Tortillas, Coffee, and other Misc. 

I almost always buy a can of Kirkland ground coffee (Dave really likes it) every shopping trip. 

I also buy a package of their uncooked refrigerated tortillas almost every shopping trip. They are AMAZING — and the superior taste is definitely worth the few extra minutes to cook them! I shared more about these tortillas in a post this past spring

And of course, there are often a few miscellaneous items I pick up each time — sometimes fresh fruit or veggies, sometimes a specific condiment we’re out of, sometimes something totally random. 

Let’s just put it this way… we NEVER leave the store empty handed! 🙂 

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Now it’s YOUR turn…

What are your favorite Costco Buys? 

And what items should I be adding to my list? 

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NOTE: If you’re wondering if a Costco membership is right for you, but don’t want to fork over the membership fee, give it a “test run” by going with a friend or family member. And also be aware that there are several things you can buy WITHOUT a membership! I explain more in this post from several years ago

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50 comments

  1. Guisela

    08/28/2019

    We visit ours at least 3 times per month. We buy a Lot of products and food because of two teens at home. Could you share how do you store your Costco purchases? I’m always struggling with the big space they take and, p.e. nuts, how to make small portions to avoid them get rancid.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, I shared this a few months ago in this post.
    I store lots of things in the freezer with smaller jars in our pantry.

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  2. Donna

    08/28/2019

    I just wish they opened earlier. I’m out and about in the mornings after dropping my grandchildren off at school at 7:45. I can run all my errands then, but I have to wait till 10:00 for Costco to open,

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    Andrea Reply:

    YESSSSS!!!!! This is my biggest beef with Costco — but I do understand why they do it. I literally have to restructure my entire morning to make Costco work — which is why we only go about once a month!

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  3. Laura

    08/27/2019

    Ummm, the Kirkland vodka always makes our list. In addition to many of the above items of course!

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  4. Brooke

    08/26/2019

    Allergy meds alone pay for the membership. We do most of our fruit shopping their (our kids eat a LOT of fruit), but you do need to know your prices. It’s not always the best deal, but it’s usually lower than our regular grocery store (we don’t have the fabled Aldi here in Seattle). Chobani yogurt is another good deal as best I can get at the grocery story is $1/serving, and Costco is less than that. During Passover our’s carries a few specialty kosher items (cheese, meat) at MUCH better prices than anywhere else (think half!) so I stock up then, but otherwise we don’t buy meat/cheese at Costco as they don’t regularly carry kosher meat in my store (though one does have a section of Halal meat which I think is cool).

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  5. Lorrie

    08/26/2019

    Great article! A couple of people mentioned eyeglasses, but has anyone mentioned eye exams? I work for the optometrist inside a Costco and we have the best prices around for a quality exam including dilation, AND the doctor is excellent! Since the optometrists are independent, a Costco membership is not required for the exam itself.

    {FYI, the doctor is fine with us reading online during slow times of the day, so if you look at my office computer, the Andreadekker.com link is right there on the home page/screen! 🙂 }

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, we’ve done the eye exams there too!
    also, yay for reading at work 🙂 LOL!!

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  6. Michelle

    08/25/2019

    furniture
    Windshield wipers
    Car
    Flooring
    Home air conditioner
    Amusement park tickets
    Christmas gifts
    Gardening gloves
    Tape
    Everything else too

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  7. Susanne

    08/24/2019

    My nearest Sam’s or Costco is and hour and a half away 🙁 so I have never had a membership. My mom picks up a bag or two of walnuts for me every time she goes.

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  8. Mary

    08/24/2019

    We love lots of things at Costco but why does their packaging have to be quite so tough to crack. Two recent things, Olay Regnerist, two jars on a card board encased in plastic that took my kitchen shears to cut open and just this morning, my husband had to come to the kitchen in his underwear to get into a new package of razor blades!

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  9. Marva

    08/24/2019

    My husband and I are empty nesters in our 60’s and we almost never go to another grocery store besides Costco! They have many organic items which I use as much as possible, and Kerrygold butter and Dubliner cheese from Ireland where cattle are grass-fed. I haven’t seen anyone mention parchment paper and razor blades! Beware – don’t even start on the sweet potato chips ….

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  10. Bridget

    08/23/2019

    Oh man, we buy so much (family of 8) that our executive membership pays for itself. Got $124 back this year. Also I do use the credit card, pay it off each month and get about $125-175 back each year.

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  11. Debbie

    08/23/2019

    I try to stick to buying mostly sale items when we shop there, but the items we do buy regardless of price are the Hawaiian buns, kale salad, quinoa, maple syrup, chicken cordon bleu, rotisserie chicken, and bagels. When they are on sale, I stock up on the dumplings, skinny pop, lunch meat, granola bars, trail mix, deodorant, allergy medicine and contact solution. My husband really likes their dress shirts and I’ve had good success with their towels. I also recently got Ticonderoga pencils during tax-free weekend for back to school (the preferred brand requested by school) cheaper than anywhere else. And gas!!

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  12. Debbie

    08/23/2019

    Your list of Costco buys looks almost like ours with the addition of meat products like chicken thighs, frozen chicken breasts, frozen tilapia, fresh steelhead, ground beef, fresh vegetables, some fruit. We recently bought the yummy popcorn and parmesan crisps and we love them. Once in a while we get some clothing items or miscellaneous things. I still think we save money by buying there. Just this past weekend we didn’t end up going and I needed more trail mix for the week. We went to the grocery store with the nut bins and it cost more for the amount we got.

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  13. Missy Koeppel

    08/23/2019

    We love Costco’s produce – their produce is really good, and we eat a lot of fruits and veggies. We also get the guac cups, cat litter, yakisoba bowls, coffee, and my boys would disown me if I came home without potstickers.

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  14. JJ

    08/23/2019

    What are the biggest differences/advantages/disadvantages of Sam’s Club versus Costco? We just had a Costco open by us, and we have been Sam’s members for awhile. Thanks!

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    Donna G Reply:

    Personally, I prefer Costco just for the fresh chicken breasts. They are nicely trimmed, and the “added solution” is less than that at Sam’s. And I always get coconut oil and almond butter there. Rather, my friend does, because there is not a Costco near me so she will buy things for me and deliver when she comes down. Sam’s is okay, but I’d rather have Costco.

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    JJ Reply:

    Good to know! Thank you!

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    Sue Reply:

    Me too.. they are all processed in the USA. They are also huge, I usually cut them to make them even and keep the “pieces” for stew and soup.

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  15. Kathy Jonkman

    08/23/2019

    Costco also has many products online for those that don’t have a store close. Additional clothing items are online and some specifically ‘Tall’ items that you can’t find in the stores. The website also offers great prices on cosmetics, houseware items, and literally thousands of other products.
    At the store we regularly get the rotisserie chicken, frozen chicken breasts, mixed nuts, honey, paper towels, toilet paper, Kirkland batteries, Tillamuck cheese, yogurt, eggs, fresh caught wild Alaskan salmon bought in season and frozen to have through the year, Kirkland men’s dress shirts (no iron) are an amazing deal. Wine prices are fabulous and no membership is needed to purchase alcohol.
    We always stop to get gas as it’s a better price that the gas station. Great deals on tires, too. We have bought a few furniture items and have been happy with them.

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  16. Michelle

    08/23/2019

    I love their meat department and their rotisserie chickens. Their bakery cakes are pretty good too if you don’t have time to bake and decorate your own.

    I’ve been curious about their dishwasher tabs but have been hesitant to buy them since I was unsure if I would like them. Thank you for your honest opinion on these.

    We also love their Kirkland brand coffee, TP, paper towels–we can make them last a year also, garbage bags, and the deals on the ziplocs and paper plates.

    A while back I bought some Kirkland brand french vanilla ice cream that was soooo yummy, but our Costco hasn’t had it in quite some time.

    We live approximately 45-50 minutes from a Costco so I have to take a cooler with ice and not have any other stops to make along the way. Also…since it is quite a drive…we don’t get there as often as I’d like. They have to have a lot of deals in their ad for us to make the drive.

    Thanks for sharing your list.

    [Reply]

  17. Melissa

    08/23/2019

    Hi Andrea,

    I am curious if you use Amazon subscribe and save? If so, what do you order? If not, why? I know you use Grove for some items, but I would love your perspective on Amazon S&S.

    Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Kellie Reply:

    Ooooooo I would also love to know your thoughts Andrea!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Melissa!
    NO, I rarely ever use Subscribe and Save as I don’t order many “regular” purchases through Amazon. I get a lot of that from Grove (as you mentioned).

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  18. Jen

    08/23/2019

    We are big Costco fans, too! Although Sam’s Club is closer, we have memberships to both for different things. (I don’t like the Costco toilet paper so I buy that at Sam’s, but I like the Costco paper towels better than the Sam’s version.) We LOVE the precooked bacon slices. I always have it on hand. We also get quite a few basic clothes items there: shorts, tops, socks, etc. And I love their white towels and sheets too. I get Glad Press-n-Seal, water bottles, kleenex, Downy Unstopables, and always fresh meat like flank steak and roast or filet. Now that our kids are out of the house, the larger packages are less appealing, but I can still find plenty of things to buy! LOL!

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  19. Kim

    08/23/2019

    My Costco is super close and I go there frequently. #1 for me at Costco is their gasoline. It’s always 20-30 cents cheaper than everywhere else and is a good quality gas. I also get Kirkland paper towels and toilet paper, Kleenex tissues, aluminum foil, cling wrap, fresh avocados (much cheaper than grocery store), various frozen fruits and veggies, Disney Gala apples, Kirkland organic strawberry preserves (delicious and great value), Kirkland PB and almond butter and now their “mixed nut butter”, multi-grain crackers, croutons, olive oil, pecans, walnuts, almonds. I usually get my MIL a huge jar of the Kirkland mixed nuts, at least monthly, because she loves them and goes through them quickly. We buy our eyeglasses at Costco too. I don’t buy too many fresh fruits and veggies because there’s only the 2 of us and we can’t eat them before they go bad. Now I must see if our store carries those tortillas…

    [Reply]

    Kim Reply:

    Once in a while I’ll get a Costco hot dog from the food court. Honestly the best hot dog I’ve ever eaten in my life!

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    Michelle Reply:

    Oh yes!!!! The gasoline. Always a great deal.

    Plus…if you have the Costco credit card the cash back on that is 4%.

    [Reply]

  20. Sue

    08/23/2019

    Organic romaine 6pk, 6pk multi-colored peppers, grape tomatoes… all last longer than regular grocery. TP for sure. Meat, cheese, big tubs of sour cream, lunch meat…Eyeglasses for the last 5 years and cheap second pairs for kids when they lose or break them!

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  21. Veronica

    08/23/2019

    There are a lot of things we will only buy at Costco! Those tortillas are definitely up at the top on our list! They are so good! We usually get similar items like paper towels, toilet paper, trash bags, peanut butter, bread, flour, etc. Then there are items that we only get when they are on sale, like pull-ups, applesauce, laundry detergent, pasta sauce, etc. I also love buying from the women’s clothing section every now and then when they have sales. We get our Christmas cards printed there every year because of the great price.

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  22. Barb

    08/23/2019

    Many of the above-mentioned plus strawberries and raspberries weekly

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  23. Katie Richards

    08/23/2019

    We have two cats and the price of cat litter at Costco cannot be beat elsewhere.
    We also love the rotisserie chicken, super inexpensive Hebrew National hotdogs, tortilla crusted tilapia, and always pick up gogo squeeze pouches for school lunches when they go on sale.

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  24. Laura

    08/23/2019

    You can buy already shredded rotisserie chicken shrink wrapped! SO great for soups and stews!

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    Sue Reply:

    Yes, or when they have their chicken quarters “next day”. Same low price as the hot, but you get almost double the chicken!

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    Barb Reply:

    Yes I get this all the time

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  25. Ann

    08/23/2019

    At the Costco we frequent, there is a table in the restaurant area that is right next to the window where they make the pizzas. Our kids could sit there for a LONG time watching them prep the crust and watching the automatic sauce squirter! 🙂
    Sometimes Costco has Press and Seal and when they do, I stock up! I haven’t seen it for awhile and keep hoping it comes back!
    Our favorite steel water bottles are from Costco. Unfortunately, this year’s model has a straw and we prefer a hole. I am bummed because all of my adult kids want one and now I can’t find them!

    I will have to look at peanut butter and cheese again. I feel like Aldi has better prices on those. I know lots of people who get the milk and eggs and butter but I don’t think Aldi’s prices can be beat on those either.

    We always look for glasses frames at Costco. We haven’t purchased them there yet but are headed back to soon to look again!

    Costco has THE. BEST. trail mix. I know I could make my own but their’s is perfect!

    Now if only Costco carried mattresses in the store!

    Our kids love sampling things there and a friend’s son even chose Costco as his “restaurant” of choice for his birthday!

    [Reply]

    Becky Reply:

    Yes to the trail mix! It’s our favorite, for sure!

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    Michelle Reply:

    Our Costco carries mattresses, we bought ours last year and so far l still love it!

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    Ann Reply:

    Are they foam mattresses? None of our kids have ever thought foam ones were comfortable and one of their chiropractors said to not use them. All I can find at Costco are foam ones.

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    Brooke Reply:

    Ours had spring mattresses. You can also order them online.

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  26. Becky

    08/23/2019

    Oh man, I could go on and on about my love for Costco!!!

    When we had babies, we bought the Kirkland brand diapers, wipes, and formula. Cheapest, good quality, never leaked, never caused weird diaper rashes!

    Other favorites: Kirkland brand dog food, salsa, frozen tilapia loins, bagels, giant bags of asparagus, brussels sprouts, and avocados for WAY cheaper than in the grocery stores (and seasonal produce is often cheaper and great quality), paper towels, feminine products (great coupons!), contact solution, giant bags of Kirkland frozen chicken breast, big packages of cream cheese are way cheaper than at the store, Costco pizza.

    I have taken to buying rotisserie chickens and picking them and flash-freezing the bits of chicken to use later in casseroles and whatever else. I used to cook a whole chicken before, but the rotisserie chickens save me a ton of time and cost the same.

    We recently bought some nice towels from Costco that were comparable to the super expensive ones elsewhere for about 1/4 of the price and they are really so nice! We often check out the clothing or other random displays because the prices are just so much better. Got a brand new, beautiful, mid-season coat for $20 recently! Seasonally, they have nice snow gear and life vests.

    We buy our tires there, as well. They have sales on tires and include free balancing and rotation for the life of the tire, as well as a free protection plan. Even when the tires are not on sale, they are typically cheaper than you can find elsewhere.

    I should probably stop myself now. I really could go on and on… 🙂

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  27. Elizabeth

    08/23/2019

    Egg whites, spices, pre shredded rotisserie chicken, ground beef and the Kirkland brand of Starbucks beans! And my 4 are always glad when I announce a Costco trip!

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  28. Kim

    08/23/2019

    Baby wipes, fruit every time I go, organic tortilla chips, Skinny Pop, frozen burgers, square cheese. Last time they had an Instacrate for $6.50! I keep it in the trunk and use it for Costco runs.

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    Kim Reply:

    And I agree, that sausage is the BEST!

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    Annette Silveira Reply:

    Is the sausage in the freezer case? I’ve never seen it but I can’t say that I’ve looked.

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    Kim Reply:

    Yes it’s on the freezer section with other breakfast type foods.

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  29. Shelley

    08/23/2019

    I love this post! I live in the UK and (this might sound strange) but I absolutely love going to supermarkets when I go on holiday to different countries. I love buying snacks we can’t get over here, and I really enjoyed seeing all the different brands and products you can get at your Costco! Those little teddy shaped honey pots are so cute! Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed this little peek 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    no I get it — we don’t travel all that often, but it IS fun to see how other grocery stores work and what they sell!

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    Jen Reply:

    Me, too! When I travel, I always try to check out a few grocery stores. The small-town littler ones are very cool, but it’s also fun to see the huge supermarkets that I’ve heard about. And different, non-chain pharmacies and “dime stores”!) My brother lives in the UK- I can’t wait to visit, and I definitely plan to hang out in some stores. (He just shakes his head.)

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