There are some stores that Maine doesn't have. A few months ago I shopped at Ikea for the very first time, it was amazing! My west Coast family spends a lot of time stocking up at Costco and I've always wanted to see it for myself. A couple weeks ago I was on vacation in California and my mother in law took me shopping at Costco for the very first time. How does it measure up to our Sam's Club and B.J.'s?

First of all, I was shopping in California, where everything is about therapy...

My mother in law lives in Thailand and stocks up on vitamins for her friends. They are much less expensive here, and she comes to Costco with a huge list of what to buy for whom. She bought a lot of joint relief vitamins! Isn't she pretty?

You've probably seen a walk-in cooler, check out this enormous refrigerated room for dairy!

There's another one for produce!

These are pretty impressive, but unless you are buying for a restaurant there's really nothing for you to buy. The quantities are just too huge for a family of 4.

There's an Optometrist and Pharmacy on site, and where they really slay is their cafe. It's not that the food is fabulous, but that it's THERE and it's CHEAP! Inexpensive, family familiar food means no need to rush through your shopping because the kids are hungry. They make grabbing pizza or a hot dog quick and super cheap!

However, not everything is inexpensive. Looking for an engagement ring? Don't bother jetting off to Tiffany's, Costco will have you down on one knee in no time at all. Just bring your own box for your purchase.

After making my way through the store twice, I settled on pajamas for my girls, a bathing suit with a rash guard top for Sabelle and two Hawaiian shirts for Mark.

Overall, no big shakes. I've had much more luck shopping at our local wholesale clubs. Costco's selection of clothing and smaller stuff is too limited for me to justify a membership, and their bulk is so bulky that we would never use it up before it spoiled. I was happy with my purchases, but really, I thought I would buy more. I had the most fun shopping at the Walgreen's in Sacramento, and I spent more money there.

I miss the old Pier One that was on Forest Ave.. They had that cool clearance annex in the back of the store and the best glasses and serving ware at great prices. The new one isn't the same at all.

Is there a store that you wish we had closer to us, or that you miss?