I stated earlier that the lack of crowds was very refreshing in Taiwan. I lied-- about the lack of crowds that is. You can find them every weekend at Costco around the sample counters. If you think people go mad for samples in the states, you should see what mass chaos surrounds a free sausage on a toothpick in Asia. Saturday, with sick kids at home wanting juice, I braved a trip to Costco to replenish our supplies of juice and food. Because Shaun stayed at home with the kids, I figured that my child-less shopping experience would be a good one. The plan was to listen to my iPOD--the music serving a dual purpose of drowning out all noise and energizing me to breeze through the store--and get out of the store ASAP. My plan crumbled as I cruised through the main level parking, B1, B2, and even B3 without finding a spot. It took a nose dive as soon as I entered Costco and my iPOD died. It crashed and burned at the sample counters. Being boxed in by carts and people frantic for sausage is not a pleasant experience. All shopping efforts just go to pot at the mention of free food. Needless to say, I did not breeze through the store. It took me 2 hours to push through the crowds, muttering all the while about the silliness of it all. I'll get off my soapbox now, but before I do I'll say this: DOWN WITH SAMPLES!