written by Norm:
Shopping ain't what it used to be
Your comments about this column are welcome ~ e-mail Norm at
Remember when shopping was an event? Your mom said you needed new pants
or shoes. What a bummer it was to try on all those pants while
pulled and tugged until you got into them. When she got them home she
put cuffs on them. Shoes were different matter. The
shoe store had this
box. You put on the shoes and stuck your foot into the box. Wow! It
showed your foot inside the shoe, toes and
all. Later on they took the
boxes out of the stores because it was an X-ray that could kill you or
make your foot fall off, or something
Today shopping is completely different. You have grown up and do your
own shopping. We do most of our shopping at Costco. What
a concept! A
huge building with almost everything a person could want; books,
clothes, drugs, golf clubs, meat, computers, the list
goes on and on,
even coffins in some stores.
Costco makes you feel special. You have to belong. You have to show
your card to get
in. They keep out all the riff-raff and people who
“don’t belong”. It’s like a private club. If you are really rich, you
can be an
Executive Member. Gee wiz, you get in early and earn points.
What fun. If only they had valet parking.
The parking lot is huge.
So huge they put letters on the pavement so
you can remember which aisle you parked you car in. Trouble is, I can’t
seem to remember
the letter when I finish shopping. People with big
SUVs, or pick up trucks jockey for places close to the entry. Sometimes
traffic jams when two vehicles think they got there first or
when people with their full carts walk in the middle of the lanes
knowing cars are backed up behind them. No one honks.
One of my pet Costco peeves is when people don’t take an extra 30
to put their empty cart in the cart garage. They leave it in the
parking stall or up in the median. Come on people, cooperate.
get a big shopping cart or big flatbed wagon before you go in.
They make them big not because you need a big cart to put all your
in but so you can muscle your way to the front of the sample tables.
Ah, the samples! Lots of people go to Costco for a free
lunch. But you
have to know the tricks. They usually don’t set up the sample tables
before one or two in the afternoon. Fridays and
the weekends are the
best. The really best is Super Bowl weekend. You could have lunch and
dinner at Costco without buying anything.
love to chat up the sample ladies. They work hard and I think enjoy a
little interaction. They have a speal about the product they
out. “This sausage has no trans fats.” I ask, “Really? Trans fats are
good for you. Don’t you have any with a lot of trans
fat?” Another says,
“Try this Swiss cheese.” I say, “Is this cheese really from
Switzerland?’ She says, “Well, the box says Modesto.”
I say, “Good,
Modesto is near the Solvang.” The last time we were in Costco a lady was
giving out “imitation shrimp” spread. “Imitation
shrimp?” I asked.
“What was it really? Horsemeat?” Most of the time I get a blank stare.
Every year we have a costume party at
Halloween. Last year we dressed
up as the sample ladies. I got a Costco butcher to give me those white
hairnet hats and I made Costco
name badges and we bought red aprons and
wore plastic gloves. When our guests came to the door we had Modesto
cheese on a tray.
love Costco. I got my last set of glasses there and a flat screen TV
and we love the $1.50 hot dogs and Cokes. What a deal. I even
mind showing my receipt to the doorperson. All the employees wear name
badges. I always call them by name. “Thanks, Evan, for
checking my cart
to make sure I have everything (and aren’t sneaking out a box of Modesto
What I really don’t like about
Costco is those darn yellow ramps with
buttons they have put between the store and the street. I am sure it is
there to warn blind
shoppers that they are leaving the store and about
to cross to the street. But beware if you have eggs in your cart or if
a full cup full of Coke and ice with no lid. As your cart
crosses the yellow bumps it jiggles and bounces around and spills the
and almost scrambles the eggs. I complained about this several
times to Mr. Cruger who also spends lots of time in Costco. He has
dubbed them “Blackburn Bumps” in my honor. I have yet to see my name on
the Costco Honor Bulletin Board but I am hoping. Ron says
your cart goes
Barrrrump, Barrrrrump when it crosses the yellow Blackburn Bumps.
Now here’s a tip to Executive Club Members only.
Get ready to show
your card. All you regular members please stop reading. If you are
careful and go slowly, you can put the front
wheel of your cart just
outside the yellow strip where there are no bumps. The other wheel will
bump but if you haven’t bought too
much Modesto cheese, you can slightly
lift up the wheel and glide over the whole strip of bumps. Of course,
your back wheels will
still bump. I haven’t figured out that part yet.
Try it the next time you are at Costco and let me know if it works.
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