August 02, 2004

Random Costco observations

I was packed off to Costco by my wife yesterday, while the children were napping, in order to replenish supplies. It was pretty crowded and I had a little time to look around. Here are some of the random observations that stuck with me.

*I am surprised by the number of luxury cars in the parking lot. I shouldn't be, really. Their average "ring" at the cash register is over several hundred dollars. Their most recent available annual report (pdf file) is actually really interesting reading and I was particularly interested to see how rapidly they have grown.

*Part of that growth has to come from idiots who accept the solicitation to upgrade their memberships from the base level, ours, to the executive level, more expensive but with some kind of discount attached. I was standing in line to pay and some guy came over and said, "how'd you like to save some money today because I can help you do that". I was instantly put in mind of Guys and Dolls. I felt like if I told him I was interested in him saving me money, I'd be like Marlon Brando saying, "Daddy, I've got cider in my ear". But it's such an effective sales technique. What are you going to say, "no, I don't want to save any money". But really, it seems clear that you are not going to save any money.

*I walked out behind two obese men in tight shorts which pushed at their bodies in such a way as to cause bulges where there shouldn't have been. The bulges were easy to look at because they were wearing these sleeveless t-shirts with huge arm holes so just about everything could hang out the sides. They were perspiring profusely and I felt it was a gift to humanity at large that these two gentlemen had included within their shopping the generous economy packages of Irish Spring bath soap -- 12 bars, I had time to count the bars as I was trapped behind them.

*Free samples will attract hordes like flies on a horse. If you have any hope of moving quickly through the crowds, plan your foray to avoid the sample stands. I actually got close enough to ask one unhappy sample lady what was an offer at her table and she told me to look at the sign. I asked, what sign and she said it was on the front of the table. It would have been quicker for her just to say pork but maybe she was just doing her part to demonstrate the importance of adult literacy. Or maybe not.

Posted by Random Penseur at August 2, 2004 08:55 AM

LOL, RP! Your sketches are as evocative as a caricaturist's. Hope your wife sends you to Costco every week.

Posted by: GrammarQueen at August 2, 2004 09:27 AM

Yeah, I always have a blast at Costco too. Nothing like watching your precious free time waste away, as you're stuck behind smelly, rude, belligerent customers...just so you can buy 3 months worth of toilet paper.

Posted by: Mick at August 2, 2004 10:49 AM

Actually, the Costco "Executive Membership" involves a cash back feature. I just signed up for my first Costco membership last week and had to tell three Costco employees, "NO, I DO NOT WANT TO UPGRADE. PLEASE STOP ASKING ME!" You're absolutely right that you won't save any money, unless you're spending millions at Costco each year. Which is pretty unlikely.

Posted by: ensie at August 2, 2004 11:21 PM

Laugh if you want, but once you lost the ability to be able to buy a 20-gallon drum of Jiffy peanut butter, you realize how much you miss it all...

Posted by: Helen at August 3, 2004 05:19 AM
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