At any given Costco
My favorite sweater in the world is an ages old black cashmere hoodie from Costco. Each time I send my beloved sweater off to be dry-cleaned I notice another level of wear and tear that causes me to lament not having bought three of them when I could.
Considering all the years that I’ve devoted to shopping at Costco, you’d think I would have mastered Costco lesson numero uno; see it-like it-buy it. Love it? Buy three, because at Costco, she who snoozes loses.
The impending demise of my favorite hoodie made me realize just how many lessons I have learned while shopping at the University of Costco.
As a freshman in 1983, I was among the first students to arrive on the Costco campus in Seattle, and not unlike the other kids, I brought my mother with me. She dragged all five of us kids up and down towering aisles of delights.
Once you become an upper-classman (meaning you’ve learned to successfully navigate, shop and therefore conquer any given Costco without an incident, disappointment or hole in your budget) you’re one step closer to an honorary degree and a super high five. After all, just finding a parking space requires a course in logistics and acute geometric reasoning.
Our social skills are tested and nurtured; we learn sample table etiquette (just a taste, no free lunches here!) We learn to make polite small talk with roadshow sales people and lonely seniors who hover over the books we rely on to teach us about history, politics and Kim Kardashian.
Costco students and graduates are well-rounded and adventurous. Shiny camp stoves and color coordinated tents inspire our appreciation of the great outdoors, while ladders that fold like origami and emergency preparedness kits make us feel invincible and superior.
On any given day, at any given Costco, you’ll learn about ourselves and others as we navigate through the checkout line. The staff, shopper-students and merchandise mix represent the habits, pastimes and influences of our moment in time, and like it or not, these relics and clues follow us home for future generations to fight over when we die.
Until then we get to enjoy the perks of our Costco-driven life, rolling our eyes at the stubborn and quirky charm of the $1.50 cash only hot dog and soda combo, and enjoying the long satisfied sigh that comes with getting the “last one” of pretty much anything Costco chooses to “teach” or rather sell us. In any case, I couldn’t be more proud to get my diploma stamped at the door over and over again, like a professional student … without the lives-with-parents part.
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