An Insider’s Look at Costco

Take hold of something solid, stand under a doorway, or crawl into your bomb-shelter because I’m about to send some shock-waves through suburbia. Right here, right now, I’m going to drop the first negative review on Zillionaire. Bizzomb. Cue the explosion noise. Light the pyro. Slap on the warning labels.

You might be asking yourself, “What has got this Zillionaire so keyed up?” Well, in the immediate sense that would be the two whiskies I had on my lunch break today. In the long run though, it is places like Costco that are driving me insane and I normally have a high tolerance level for sanity.

First off, the “members only” concept is a little too PGA, pre-Tiger Woods for me. Exclusivity is fine for some things like art and Beanie Babies (Hoot the Owl is retired, folks!), but I’m not going to plunk down a membership fee to get 40 hot dog buns in one bag. In fact, if I ever need 40 hot dog buns in one bag I would hope that I would be too poor to buy them all at once or that I was too rich to even shop for myself. (In case you are playing along at home, I’d take the extreme in either direction, it’s just that middle ground where I need 40 buns in one bag that I don’t want.)

You know, I don’t just mention hot dogs casually here when talking about Costco and membership fees. Hot dog sales are the dirty secret the Costco executives don’t want you to know about. Seriously, they must be laced with something, right? How else can you explain the scenario I saw last time I visited Costco… I literally walked by a table with four women over 70 years old, all wearing semi-fancy older lady apparel with that gaudy gold jewelry that only elderly women pull off, chowing down on some foot-longs or something. It was like I was in the Twilight Zone. These women had obviously been drugged or misled to think they were eating something from Olive Garden judging from the way they smiled and chatted about false teeth. Wake up, America! Where else but Costco do people pay membership dues to eat a lackluster boiled hot dog in a warehouse? Not the usual recipe for success in my opinion. Sounds more like prison to me and last I remember, I chose to let my membership at Folsom expire!

But, alas, I’m a Zillionaire so I appreciate and value a place that strives to provide the right ambiance. And Costco’s is nothing but wrong. Let’s start with deli area. The interior designers at Costco sure did find a cushy job. “Heap some boxes there. Stacks some videos over here. No, these tables in the deli area certainly won’t do. Wait, put some umbrellas on them and they’ll be perfect!” Why are there umbrellas on the tables in the deli area! We are indoors. It will never rain, never will a gust of wind need to be diverted, never will a flake of snow wreak havoc on our heads! Are they shading us from the roof lighting? I guess it does feel nice to get out of the glow of halogen once in awhile, but I think people are so hopped up on tainted dog juice that they actually come to believe they are on a tropical island somewhere eating bar-b-q and sipping a Mai Tai.

So lastly, I’ve come to the whole concept of warehouse shopping. Costco saves a little money on the construction of a nice retail outlet, the story goes, so that they can pass on the savings to us consumers. So how come I see the same prices next door at Office-MaxCityDepot? My local Costco is such a dumpy yurt of a place I should be walking out of there with my hands full having only spent the change that builds up in my car’s cup-holder! They stopped passing on the savings a long time ago and now they just pass gas and tell you it’s air-freshener. I, for one, already make what some consider a bulk amount of air-freshener and don’t fall for the Costco sham any longer. I suggest you do the same.

Update: As this piece has morphed (via the comments section) into a discussion of the milestones in my life that have included hot dogs, I’ve decided to post an actual picture that appeared in the Western campus newspaper months ago. Apparently, it was a slow news day. Solo, check the gear!

Dave buying a hot dog.

12 thoughts on “An Insider’s Look at Costco”

  1. So I suppose someone is going to bring up the time I ate 7 hot dogs at Krusty’s bachelor campout. Well, I’m going to beat you to it. Once, at Krusty’s bachelor campout I ate 7 hot dogs, some were Carbaugh’s cheesy dogs, some were plain. All were tasty. Yes, and I broke some guys bocce set too. There, are we done? :)

  2. What about my bachelor party? You ordered two footlongs after we left the bar. Just the sight of one made me puke on the sidewalk. I was too busy puking in the cab to remember what became of those hotdogs, but I assume you double-fisted them on the way back to the hotel.

  3. And what about that bar in Boston, where you ordered like a 20-inch Polish Sausage? That thing was huge. You were hitting on the waitress between bites of this huge phallic piece of meat. Ultimately, you won her heart, so I guess I can’t question your methods…

    I apologize for back-to-back comments, I’m being flooded with memories of you and hotdogs right now…

  4. Someone put me up to buying those dogs for you at your bachelor party, I swear! I think I gave them to some homeless guy named Bailes or something when you decided to get a closer look at your entrails.

    The Kielbasa in Boston was all my idea however. Oh, Anne Brown, wherever you are, I’ve got a botttle of Orangina that I’ve been saving just for you!

  5. I’m not knocking the hot dog. It took me about two years before I started eating street dogs in NY. Somehow I’ve overcome the fear, it’s not a bad snack, and for a $1.50, I know you’d get 2 DA, WITH mustard and onions. Buyakah.

  6. For the record (you jotting this down, Matt?), I never put mustard or ketchup on my hotdogs as that degrades the “lips and a-hole” taste I came to love as a child. In fact, I’ve come to a point in my life where I can only eat Oscar Meyer hot dogs, thus the 7-11 connection as that is their brand of choice.

    In NY, I’d rather get a slice over a dog any day but, hey, if a dog is barking at me, who am I to turn it away? I’m a humane guy and I don’t believe in letting dogs go stray.

  7. Only Oscar Meyer, huh? You are the connoisseur. I like how you’ve grown finicky over which brand of asshole you consume. It’s the sign of a true gourmet.

    One final thought, if there was ever someone that could justify the cost of the Costco membership just in the hotdog savings alone, it is you my friend.

  8. Thank the Gods there is one other sane person in this world! Costco F’ING DRIVES ME BATTY! I had never been to Costco before two years ago. The development we moved into is right next to one.

    People would gasp, “Oh my God! You live by Costco? Oh, that must be so great. You’re so lucky! Honey, come here. They live by Costco! Isn’t that just wonderful?”

    From the way the townspeople spoke of it with such reverence, such utter respect, I had visions of a shimmering warehouse of gold, laden with glowing marble floors and walls, where magical winged Customer Service Fairies would fly me through the store, showing me exactly what I needed, while we laughed gayly as the infinite savings gushed forth, directly into my pockets.

    What exactly IS the fascination with Costco? The prices are the same as everywhere else. You spend $40 a year to save $40 a year, but get a shitty shopping experience in deplorable conditions, pitiful service, with downright dangerous food, surrounded by the world’s least evolved sapiens. Furthermore, the money you save buying a 12-gallon jug of olive oil is lost when you have to get rid of it because it is either taking up too much room or is going bad. Costco is actually COSTing me more money!

    For some reason, I keep returning, being lead there by my nose to join in the “wondrous bargains”. I guess it is half morbid curiosity and half utter perplexity as to what the hell my 40 bucks is buying.

    Can’t figured it out.

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