Costco, je t'aime

For a long time now, Costco has been a large part of my life. It seems silly to say because you would think that I work there or something. But no, I am merely a consumer. I come from a long line of shoppers, some of which have become so-called “junkies,” and I feel that when I reach the proper age and receive my very own Costco card, the gene in my chromosomes will be triggered and the bulk purchases will begin to pile.

Whatever rules of evolution it defies, the ongoing theory is that the gene originated in my grandfather. He has been a member since 1986 before it was even Price Club, and long before it was Costco once again. He made the two day trip from California to Washington just to become a member. It isn’t unlikely that every time he comes to visit me in Gig Harbor we will hop in the car for a miscellaneous item just for him to show me where our Costco roots began. That historical landmark in Kirkland where my grandfather’s photo was first snapped and laminated into a card. Since then, the membership hasn’t been wasted, not even a little bit, and the two percent return on his Executive card is enough to send him on vacation.

His daily tab at Costco is at least one hundred dollars, which you and I both wish is an exaggeration, but it is not. I witness it with my own eyes if I might muster up the energy to spend a week at his house. In this week we can and will go to Costco five out of the seven days. A stop for batteries turns into an all out spree where the cart is so full he doesn’t even notice the video game or book I slip in. That’s the beauty of it, of course.
I don’t believe my stomach is ever empty during my visits either. After he has made his always impractical purchases, he immediately says, “You hungry, Will? Buck and a half for a dog and a drink. Can’t beat that.” While the saying “buck and a half” has its origins from Costco, it is quite famous in our family and when my cousins, brothers, and I were very young, we would hear this and soon there would be a bunch of little Harries running around saying, “Buck and a half! Buck and a half!” in perfect grandpa vernacular so we could get laughs out of our parents. And his offer I always accept. Because besides from his lavish spending, outside the warehouse doors my grandfather is an extremely cheap person. I know I can’t hope for much better. I’ve eaten so much of the food in my life that it doesn’t have much of a taste anymore anyway and seems quite normal. Much like gruel and coffee to prison inmates.

The after-effects of these binges are slightly less than what you see on the shows about hoarders on television, but no less appalling. A closet in his house is a treasure chest filled with all kinds of modern gold. Electronics still freshly sealed with the tangy factory smell preserved, an amount of pool accessories that could entertain the whole Navy, and enough socks for a new pair every day of the year. Not one hunk of furniture in his house came from anywhere else but Costco. Watching him at his parties gives you the type of embarrassment that makes you want to hide under a blanket.

“And could you guess how much that wine buffet was? 299! Costco!” he says in a voice so loud at the climax it is heard all across the street, “It is a nice piece if I do say so myself.” You wish there were some sort of angel to tell him that he is jeopardizing his wife’s insurance business by scaring what are mostly her clients and co-workers. And yes, he does refer to his Costco furniture as “pieces” as if they were from some high-end custom gallery.

But how do I know this will surely reach me? When my oldest brother turned eighteen and got his own place, he signed up for a Costco endorsed credit card that doubles as a membership. With this, his apartment became completely furnished, pots and pans, the whole works. He is now in his mid-twenties and hasn’t missed a weekend of shopping at their amazing bulk prices. Aside from that, he is also a secret Martha Stewart fan and didn’t shrug at his chance to call in on her radio show and ask her what products she would be having at Costco for the holiday season. That Christmas, we gifted him her cookbook and also ate a special Martha Stewart maple-glazed ham, all from Costco.

And so, Costco will always hold a place in my heart next to bacon and long walks on the beach that will never be compromised. It is not only my curse, but my duty to carry on the legacy that defines my family. And when my grandpa is gone, which I hope isn’t for a very long time, I will inherit his shares of stock that’s invested into such a fine institution that I will always hold onto when I’m a customer. Even when my hair starts to thin. Even when I become compulsive. Even when the spit flies from my mouth as I scream around town about how I got the best deal.





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Laughternchoclate said...
Apr. 10, 2010 at 9:15 am

That was great :)

Like the sense of family in it

 

 
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