Sheila Sybrant

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse …

Casualties of the pandemic keep piling up. Most tragically, there are the many hundreds of thousands of deaths. Job losses have mounted. Economic repercussions are multiplying. Social distancing has exacted a high emotional toll.

And now we have to mourn the half-sheet cake from Costco.

Costco has ceased to sell its half-sheet cakes —which apparently serve close to 50 people — that many people purchased for large events such as birthday celebrations, graduations and weddings.

According to a Facebook post by the company, the decision is related to the pandemic and social distancing issues (although I’m a little unclear about whether the social distancing is for the customers, the workers or both).

Based on the internet response, this is a tragedy of mythic proportions. Type in “Costco stop selling sheet cakes,” and you will get close to 17 million results.

I am probably not the best person to sympathize with this “catastrophe.” For one thing, I don’t shop at Costco — not because I have anything against the store but because I live so far away that I wouldn’t get much good out of a membership.

For another thing, cake is not my favorite dessert. Not that I don’t love cake. I do. It’s just not my favorite. I have had half-sheet cakes from other stores, and they are certainly good but not the stuff of legends. Of course, maybe if I’d ever tried a Costco half-sheet cake, I would feel differently. Who knows?

Some people might judge those who even want to buy a half-sheet cake, arguing that with social distancing, a person has no need of a cake that can feed a mass number of people. I’m not going to get into pandemic shaming. After all, a family might be legitimately practicing social distancing but be large enough to eat a half-sheet cake by itself. Heck, I could probably go through a large amount of a half-sheet cake by myself in a few days. (Yes, I know I said that it’s not my favorite, but that wouldn’t stop me from eating it.)

One thing I can definitely sympathize with is the loss of a beloved product. Like everyone else, I’ve seen a lot of my favorites die under the knives of cruel company CEOs who make seemingly arbitrary decisions. Doesn’t everyone love the same products that I love?

And although it seems as though there are lots of other things to focus on in these trying times, maybe the people who are devastated by this latest food-loss indignity are onto something: Maybe cake is just the thing to lift one’s spirits. After all, cake is a staple of a civilized society. It’s a centerpiece of many social get-togethers, so maybe salvaging cake is a way to maintain a sense of our world as we have known it.

It doesn’t sound as though Costco has any plans to cave to its customers’ entreaties to bring back the half-sheet cake, though. Other stores that sell half-sheet cakes will probably benefit from increased sales, but some people will want only Costco cakes, so my prediction is twofold.

First prediction: Cake baking will be the next wave of kitchen experimentation. The coronavirus has spawned a cooking and baking movement, with many people trying their hand at baking bread and making homemade meals. A lot of these people have now become fairly good chefs who might be ready to tackle a half-sheet cake.

Second prediction: Cake pans and powdered sugar will suddenly become virtually extinct, much like toilet paper and bleach. Better stock up!

Readers may contact Sheila at or 45092 859th Road, Bassett, NE 68714.


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