When I was younger, I used to wonder why there were always vultures circling every Costco location I’d ever been to. It wasn’t under I was older that I realized the vultures were merely acting in imitation of the humans who frequent the store. Either that, or they’re waiting for someone to actually finish off one of those 50 gallon drums of mayonnaise and keel over.
I mean, I do understand the allure of a place like Costco. As an American, capitalism isn’t completely unknown to me. “Oooh, I can save an average of 3 cents an ounce if I buy the 48 pack of Chef Boyardee Super-Cheesy Beefaroni Explosion!” It hits all of us at some point. Hell, even I once purchased a giant tub of animal crackers that I never finished.
What I don’t get is the way people act once they’re inside the front doors. It’s like walking into a room of 900 people holding hot dogs and there’s only one bottle of ketchup. Give those 900 people shopping carts big enough to make Hummer drivers blush and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what shopping at Costco is like.
Every aisle is filled with ladies in white coats handing out free samples. “Sir, this ravioli is made from the finest spinach and mozzerella. You get 6,000 raviolis per bag for $17.99 and they’re located in the aisle behind me between the jumbo boxes of chocolate chip waffles and the 128-gallon bottles of orange juice.” Only, I don’t usually hear any of this description over the sound of the stamping hooves of customers falling over each other to snatch up every last sample ravioli.
I always return home filled with exhaustion and guilt. My ankles hurt from shopping cart injuries. I’m sweaty. My stomach hurts. I smell a bit like an old refrigerator. I feel undignified. It feels a bit like really, really bad sex actually. And the regret feels about the same.