(Note: this is 2020 as I repost it; it is clearly a relic of the Before Time. Your mileage may vary.)
- You are not alone in this world. Actually, if you stopped reading this whole entire rant at this point, and just realized that “Hey, it’s true, I am not alone in this world,” I would be happy. Ecstatic, even, Thrilled beyond words. But people don’t do that, or at least they don’t do that at Costco on a Saturday. Case in point. I had survived all of the numerous indignities and annoyances that are concomitant with a Saturday Costco trip, and I was waiting in line, and the couple ahead of me in line had put all their stuff on the conveyor belt, and that meant that it was my turn to start putting my stuff on the conveyor belt, but I couldn’t, because this woman was standing right in front of the conveyor belt for no good reason. So I said, as nicely as I could, “Excuse me,” and she realized what she had done and apologized. But think about just how self-absorbed you have to be not to realize that, on a Saturday at Costco, somebody might be in line behind you? I mean, honestly.
- Your IQ drops fifty points every time you walk into Costco. Our ancestors were prehistoric hunter-gatherers once, and Costco is all about hunting and gathering. It is a place for the reptile brain to shine. You’re going to make stupid decisions like paying thirty dollars for a box full of fried cheese. But it doesn’t just happen to you, it happens to everybody, and that means two things. One is to show consideration to other people (in accordance with #1 above), and the other is…
- WATCH WHERE YOU ARE GOING. WATCH. WHERE. YOU. ARE. GOING. This is not just a rule for Costco. It’s a rule for airports. It’s a rule for grocery stores. It’s a rule for driving your car on the highway. But it applies double at Costco, which, on any given Saturday, is filled to the rafters with people who are not watching where they are going. You are driving a big, heavy cart loaded down with Kirkland Fruit Chews and paper towels and pork chops in an environment with hundreds of other people, all driving big, heavy carts full of discount-priced bulk. You cannot–you cannot–just stand in the middle of a heavily-trafficked aisle and stare off into the distance like you were on a peak in Darien and staring at the wonder of the Pacific Ocean. WATCH WHERE YOU ARE GOING.
- Be a shark. Sharks move or they die. Sharks don’t stand still. You know what stands still? Shrimp stand still, and sharks eat shrimp, and Costco shoppers are not going to put up with you if you stand in front of the frozen shrimp and squat there, talking on the phone, or staring off into some other freezer case wondering what the difference between the regular tilapia and the panko-crusted tilapia is. MOVE. Don’t just stand around.
- Do not block aisles and doorways. This sounds like I am repeating myself. If you watch where you’re going, and if you keep moving, you won’t block aisles and doorways. And yet, people still block aisles and doorways. I often say that there’s a special place in Hell for people who constantly, stupidly block exits–and it’s right by the exit. I am not saying you have to be a rocket scientist to go to Costco, but if you had the common sense and situational awareness that God gave dung beetles, at least you wouldn’t park your cart in the middle of the doorway to the refrigerated room where the milk is. And yet, this happens all the time.
- Don’t get the food. I don’t care what it is that they’re giving free samples of. They’re doing it in a heavily-trafficked spot. If you stand around, with your cart, waiting for a free sample of ranch dressing, you are going to be in my way or someone else’s. That is really just another way of saying that you should know your store’s layout. Know where the bottlenecks are and whether you are going to be causing people problems by lingering in one spot or another. And, for God’s sake, have your receipt in your hands and ready to hand to the person when it’s time to leave.
- If you break any of these rules–and probably, you will, at least be embarrassed about it when you get caught. Apologize. Realize that we’re all in this together, that nobody really wants to spend their Saturday in Costco trapped in a large building full of food with a couple of hundred feral hunter-gatherers. Be nice. Watch your kids, and tell them to watch where they’re going.