A Trip to Costco – A Study in Human Behavior

By Connie Conley | March 30, 2014 |  I thought I would give us a break from politics for a bit and write about a typical trip to Co...

By Connie Conley | March 30, 2014 | 

I thought I would give us a break from politics for a bit and write about a typical trip to Costco. We all have been there, I am sure, and have similar tales to tell. So here is my latest experience.

Earlier this week I ventured alone to Costco; something I rarely do because I need reinforcement and protection from other shoppers and their carts. Too many times, I have had someone push their cart into the back of my legs because there is some food sample that a shopper has to rush get to before it is all gone. And when you have reconstructed knees, you cannot ill afford to have one dislocated by an anxious shopper pushing aside their cart eager to get to those free samples. God forbid, you have to wait for the next set of samples to be cooked and placed for sampling.

It is good marketing that Costco feeds people on a daily basis, but why do people have to be so rude? After all, you are getting free food! Survivor of the fittest need not come into play; there are plenty of samples to go around. 

So in venturing the aisles of Costco alone and troubled, after being attacked by a cart, I stepped back to observe the human behavior around me. I was reminded of a movie I saw where food was thrown into a cage and hungry animals practically ripped each other to pieces to get to the food first. As I watched as hands reached in and took as much as they could, with a few elbows being thrown, even with Costco staff saying, “Only one please,” there were no thank yous to the staff, just people wanting more. The Costco staff couldn’t get the food out fast enough to satisfy their version of the hunger games.

And then we have the large extended family with their two carts that block the aisles to have their good eats and a family meeting. Good Lord, move over to the side and have your Costco picnic!

Okay, I can see throwing your Mother to the ground to get to that last sample, but what bothers me the most is the lack of cart etiquette. Outside in the parking lot, there are several cart returns in every aisle. Yet lazy people, those same people who just got nourished on free good so that they cannot cry it was low blood sugar and they were too weak they just had leave their carts wherever they want because they didn’t have the energy to walk 20 feet to a cart return.

At the Costco at Mack Road, new plants have been planted in the planters surrounding the parking lot along with new wood chips; and so Costco is doing their part to make their parking lot look pleasing for the customers. But everywhere I looked, shoppers placed their carts in the planters, crushing the new plants. 

Yes, I know Costco has staff who go around and gather the carts, but why do people have to place their carts here, there and everywhere? Just yesterday, I saw one shopper just push their cart with some force into the next parking stall.  It hit the car that was a stall away. I said something to the shopper because that car now had a nice dent in the door.  All I got was a dirty look and an “Oops.” Oops!  If that had been my new car, I would have had a fit. That is why I park as far away from the entrance as I can so that my car can be kept clear of a cart attack.

So I took down the license plate number of Mr. Oops and left a note on the car with the nice new dent in it.

Shopping at Costco is certainly a study in human behavior and not one for the faint-hearted. But we do it, for among other items, Costco’s best selling item, toilet paper; not to mention their Kirkland brand of pre-made margaritas. But why do people have to act like animals when shopping there? I don’t see this behavior at Belair, Safeway or Save Mart. 

So it is the free food that makes people so crazy? And why is that? 

God I hate Costco but that toilet paper is such a good bargain, isn’t it?

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Anonymous said...

It's not the food, there are too many people that feel that they come first and everyone else is below them.

I will bet money that those same people who are too lazy to put their carts away are the same people that litter, that don't pick up after their dogs, and have no respect for anyone.

Forget Costco, just imagine what would happen would happen if their was some kind of natural disaster in Elk Grove.

Anonymous said...

Agree with all you said Connie. I always say that Costco is a microcosm of our society, or at least our local society. You forgot to mention the people stopped in the middle of the aisles staring into their smart phones; the food court with their dirty tables and people jammed in there scarfing their hotdogs and pizza like it's happy hour at Golden Corral; and finally, the unorganized traffic circulation pattern of basket carts weaving every which way and pulling stunts like it's Super Sunday at the Bangkok Flea Market.

Anonymous said...

It will be really scary if there is a natural disaster.

Some of those pigs that you saw at Costco will be out roaming around breaking into houses for food.

You can either sit by and watch as they rape and pillage or you can be prepared.

Three new gun stores in Laguna tell me that there are a good number of people that want to be prepared.

Anonymous said...

You have to admit the Kirkland Maragraita mix is delicious and worth the hazard of the carts; the picnic people and the long lines! I rarely visit Costco but when I do, it's just two items....toilet paper and Margarita mix! Thanks for a look into the next generation..scary!

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