Next stop, insanity

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


If I had to list all the places I hate to go to, Costco comes only second to public urinals in Indian train stations. It is as if everything about Costco is designed to make you hate yourself for being a cheapo to go there in the first place. But you have no option when you buy enough bran cereal to feed a horse and enough milk to bathe the aforementioned metaphorical horse in.

For people who are not familiar with Costco, it's a huge warehouse-like store that promises to sell cheap stuff, both in price and quality, if you are willing to buy in bulk. Their business mantra is, “Customers buy any crap if it's cheap.”

When you go to Costco, the torture starts with finding a parking space. It doesn't matter what time you go, the parking lot is full. The only spot you will find is the one right next to the shopping cart area. You could as well paint a bullseye on your car because somebody is going to hit it with the cart.

Then you walk across half mile of parking lot, find a cart and try to enter the store but the entrance is blocked. You can tell even without looking that some moron is blocking the entrance with his shopping-cart trying to find his Costco membership card, which he did not bring.

You push your way through to find yourself in a 100 aisle store in which the products are organized in what seems to be a complete random fashion. Otherwise, what logic explains toothpaste and tampons being right next to each other, not anywhere near other bathroom or women's products? May be Costco believes people brush their teeth with tampons? Or may be the products are placed in some secret order, something like sorted in reverse alphabetical order of the second letter of the product name. In any case, mere mortals take half hour to find anything in that store.

The other interesting fact about Costco is all their employees are incognito, wearing civilian clothes, roaming among the crowds completely indistinguishable. How else could they run such huge store while making sure not a single employee is around when you need help?

After you spent 2 hours to find 4 products and ready to get out of the place promising yourself never to return, you find out that the lines are a mile long. As you wait impatiently in the line, you notice that every other line moves except yours. You crane your neck to find out that the woman who just had her 75 items scanned is asking, “Don't you accept Master Card?” And of course she doesn't speak English.

I will stop the post here. Because if I continue, rest of the post will be nothing but obscenities.


  • yes, heard about this place...

    By Blogger Kalpana, at Tue Sep 12, 01:44:00 AM 2006  

  • Oh yes tell me abt these sort of shops! Its a big pain to shop @ such places esp as its so time consuming.
    BTW, how many times have u been to costco?! ;)

    By Blogger Has to be me, at Tue Sep 12, 01:46:00 AM 2006  

  • hahahah!! Well here in India, the desi version is Big Bazaar and I sure as hell know what you are talking about. And worse folks here think shopping at Big B is a picnic and kids have to be in attendance. Toothbrushes and tampons..hmm come to think of it I think Big B has copied the Costco layout - if that is what it is called!

    By Blogger MellowDrama, at Tue Sep 12, 02:06:00 AM 2006  

  • Oh boy! I was cracking up at the brushing your teeth with tampons line. I've personally never set foot in one of their outlets, but quite a few of my friends have now gone over to the other side saying that Costco or Price Club are wonderful once you have kids!

    By Blogger Nee, at Tue Sep 12, 04:09:00 AM 2006  

  • I hate going to Costco too.....

    By Blogger dumbdodi, at Tue Sep 12, 04:35:00 AM 2006  

  • yikes!!
    I'll remmeber this!

    By Blogger La vida Loca, at Tue Sep 12, 06:22:00 AM 2006  

  • well, the way u made it look, I can thank my stars that I have never needed to go to such places...even the big bazaar kinds!:) well, wen U ahve ur mum, u don't need to worry about things:)

    By Blogger Yashita, at Tue Sep 12, 06:28:00 AM 2006  

  • I understand your frustrations with costco. I hate the fact that they dont accept all credit cards. Anyway, apart from all that. Back home in stores, they always put the condoms next to the baby products! "If this doesn't work, then try this..." :-) I dont know if was a cruel joke, or if someone was just unorganised. Eitherway, it's funny... except maybe for the one who's dealing with the unplanned pregnancy, perhaps.

    By Blogger video, at Tue Sep 12, 08:00:00 AM 2006  

  • Our warehouse store is Sam's Club. A glorified Walmart. And if I had to add one more item to your list to hate about having to shop there, it's that you buy in bulk, and it's cheaper, yes, but by the time pick up only toilet paper, paper towels, and kleenex, and you're already in $50. Throw in the foodstuffs...well, you're set for months, but too broke to anything but eat and...blow your nose.

    By Blogger gnightgirl, at Tue Sep 12, 08:38:00 AM 2006  

  • Costco and Sam's the gran phenomenon's here in Puerto Rico, where we read about our economical crisis everyday and people are buying tampons and fishsticks by the bulk...

    ::rolls eyes::

    By Blogger Mary Poppins, at Tue Sep 12, 08:41:00 AM 2006  

  • Don't have a Costco card. Walmart everytime!
    Btw, if that picture is really a Costco, AND if toothpaste and tampons are right next to each other, Im never going there, like ever!

    By Blogger Anu, at Tue Sep 12, 09:28:00 AM 2006  

  • wow! i totally agree. call me a cheapo, but i love walmart! and its followed by target.
    man, i sometimes just go around strolling when i get bored.

    i guess waslmart should have a free entertainment zone for people like me!

    By Blogger dharmu, at Tue Sep 12, 10:06:00 AM 2006  

  • The lines and the size of the thing one is forced to buy, keep me away from shops like costco and walmart, coz I dont have that amount of storage space and hence a shopping cart large enough to justify standing in those lines.

    By Blogger Shreemoyee, at Tue Sep 12, 10:14:00 AM 2006  

  • Hmm.. painful experience. Its pointless to go there unless you reaaallllly need to buy things in bulk.

    By Blogger Pallavi, at Tue Sep 12, 12:53:00 PM 2006  

  • We have something similar here called Bunnungs Warehouse, quite big and I love to get lost in there because there is always something that I will buy that I did not go in to get, just because it is a bargain :)
    As a little girl, I spent many a Sunday going to my Grandpa's was then called McEwans..a Hardware Store, LOL. He was in his element when we went there, and so was I.

    By Blogger Cazzie!!!, at Tue Sep 12, 04:49:00 PM 2006  

  • Why does your experience of Costco remind me of my last trip to Ikea. Man I hate that place, fingers crossed that they start selling online soon.

    By Anonymous WA, at Tue Sep 12, 06:13:00 PM 2006  

  • in malaysia, we have Tesco and carrefour, but I personally prefer to do my grocery @ Hock Choon.

    By Blogger Dr@ma Div@, at Tue Sep 12, 07:21:00 PM 2006  

  • I am the enemy. I like Costco. I like that I can return anything I buy there, no matter what. I like that I can get the very same item there considerably cheaper than somewhere else. I like other things about it, too, but I'm sure you're all done with this now. :)

    By Blogger jay are, at Tue Sep 12, 07:33:00 PM 2006  

  • Never heard abt Costco b4. COST-CO(u)TTING ay? I guess it's more of life-cutting lol! I'd never torture myself in a place like that...never never never. Cos I dun have that kinda patience and na I aint into cheap stuff. Trust me, even tho some things can be unblievably cheap, there's always a catch to it.

    ** May be Costco believes people brush their teeth with tampons?


    Dun go there next time mate. Save ur life from being buried in a queue long enough to reach the next continent.


    By Blogger Keshi, at Tue Sep 12, 07:51:00 PM 2006  

  • Hey,I've had some similar experiences too, so I stopped once for all going to that place!

    By Blogger indianangel, at Tue Sep 12, 08:49:00 PM 2006  

  • why r the express counters always queued by people having atleast 15 items in their cart & why do the counter guys agree to bill the,
    agree abt the train loo bit- most hated place...

    By Blogger itchingtowrite, at Tue Sep 12, 10:36:00 PM 2006  

  • You have been tagged. Check blog.

    By Blogger Shreemoyee, at Tue Sep 12, 11:48:00 PM 2006  

  • Funny thing is that in one of my jobs we used to do some e-commerce transactions with Costco.And not for a single time their software created any problems with our order entries which lot of other biggies in retail chain screwed up big time.Maybe there's a Dilbert sitting somewhere in Costco IT dept while PHB takes all the executive decisions about rack management.

    By Blogger Bishu, at Tue Sep 12, 11:51:00 PM 2006  

  • kalpana:
    Good thing you just heard about it not experienced it :)

    has to be me:
    I have been there more times than I can take :( As I said, when we are buying things in bulk, it is just economical to buy there.

    Never heard about Big Bazar. LOL@picnic for kids. Ya, if kids are not controlled in a store, it becomes a nightmare for other shoppers. Unfortunately, we are copying a lot of bad things from the US

    Ya, they do make financial sense :( That's why I grit my teeth (which I wash with regular brush) and go there

    Me too, but I do go there more often than I can stand it. Do you shop there too?

    la vida loca:
    You don't have to remember my advice. If you go there once, you won't want to set foot in it again.

    haha. Exactly, when I was home, I never even knew how to get vegetables. Those are the best days, cherish them :)

    LOL@condoms and baby products :) I noticed that too. Or may be it's a suggestion that if you already have a baby you should be using those for some time :)

    You are so right! Every time I go to Costco, irrespective of what I buy, the bill comes to more than $100. It never fails to amaze me!

    mary poppins:
    ::rolls eyes and realizes it's much prettier when Mary P did it::

    toothpaste and tampons are just one example, there are more things in there that should never be juxtaposed

    "i sometimes just go around strolling when i get bored."
    Really!? Is that before or after you had your "paani puri"? :P

    Ya, for a small household Costco doesn't make any sense at all

    The problem is, you get to a stage in life, buying in bulk just makes sense. I don't go to Costco, unless I really need to go there though

    Hardware stores! If there is a word for hardware store phobia, I have it :)

    Oh my god Ikea, you have no idea how much I hate the place. But you know the rule that for your every emotion, there is equal and opposite emotion in your wife :)

    drama diva:
    Tesco, looks like they copied Costco down to the name :)

    jay are:
    I wish I were you nieghbor so I can beg you to get me the two things I go to Costco for :D

    Ya, I try to avoid going there as much as I can. But unfortunately, if you have a guy at home consuming food at mind boggling rate, you would have to find financially viable options to feed him. :( (I am talking about me)

    But you are right, we shouldn't be wasting time in lines!

    Good for you! I stop going there for a couple of months, then when we are out shopping with a long shopping list, I end up going there annyway

    Haha. Ya, and then the proceed to pay with check and forget their drivers license and of course argue with the cashier in some alien language :)

    By Blogger Twisted DNA, at Wed Sep 13, 12:12:00 AM 2006  

  • Shreemoyee:
    Will do

    Took me a second to understand the Dilbert joke. Good one.
    No bugs in the software eh, now I know why there is no staff on the floor, they are all code-reviewing the s/w :)

    By Blogger Twisted DNA, at Wed Sep 13, 12:35:00 AM 2006  

  • Why don't you join Sam's Club, they're also for bulk shoppers if i'm not mistaken.

    By Blogger The Agony Aunt, at Wed Sep 13, 01:58:00 AM 2006  

  • You have captured the essense of the Costco experience. I don't have a card, but our daughter does. I usually pass on offers to tag along.

    You and Wa are right about IKEA. That place drives me the craziest! Shuffling along heel to toe with lakhs people on the world's longest indoor path. Argh!

    By Blogger Alan, at Wed Sep 13, 05:22:00 AM 2006  

  • You are so right.I hate going to cosco also, I rather spend an extra dollar and go to a neighborhood grocery store. The height of the store really scares me and the long lines...

    By Blogger starry nights, at Wed Sep 13, 08:27:00 AM 2006  

  • Toothpaste.. tampoons.. I get it. They're sorted alphabetically. There, now the shopping experience should be much better at Costco.

    And a woman with 75 items you say.. umm reminds me of one of my holiday shopping spree. I had two shopping carts filled.. ja ich sprechen kiene deutsche back then.

    By Blogger Mr. J, at Wed Sep 13, 12:26:00 PM 2006  

  • oh u poor suburban creature living in sheer domesticated Costco bliss :) i see it from afar and avoid it like neocons.

    By Blogger Shilpa, at Wed Sep 13, 01:48:00 PM 2006  

  • BJs was much better in east coast. i joined costco after moving to west coast aqnd the crowd is just unbelivable. i go there once every two months only these days. go on wednesday evening time.

    By Blogger Amimu, at Wed Sep 13, 02:00:00 PM 2006  

  • bang on! I hated it too!

    By Anonymous chandni, at Thu Sep 14, 04:22:00 AM 2006  

  • again, totally agree with your take on costco. i do think, tho, that i keep adding in "crap" to my cart because i fall under the "look-at-the-price-vs-quantity" spell. i'm always shocked at the total when i *finally* get thru the checkout line.

    By Anonymous si, at Thu Sep 14, 06:28:00 PM 2006  

  • It's actually a good bargain,

    By Blogger I, at Fri Sep 15, 12:21:00 AM 2006  

  • I like costco & BJ's. I think things are organize there and they have huge sign hanging on each aisle with the product kind on it:-)sorry but I like it:-))

    By Blogger mommyof2, at Fri Sep 15, 09:42:00 AM 2006  

  • the agony aunt:
    Hmm. I am not sure sure if we have Sam's Club around here. But considering they are affliated with the Walmart, I doubt if it will be any different.

    You are right on with the IKEA! Some times I fear that I am walking in circles and will never find the exit!

    starry nights:
    I generally tend avoid it unless the gain is significant. So many times I turn back from the Costco gas after seeing the lines

    That's the problem. For a moment you think they are sorted alphabetically, until you see the Ziploc bags on one side and and Mentos on the other side :)
    LOL at not speaking German. Sprichst du Deutsches jetzt?

    haha. You will pity them more if you see the inside of the store and the lines once :)

    Ya, the crowds are horrible! I heard that sneaking in just before the shop closes generally reduces the wait time in the lines. I should try it some time

    Looks like you went through it many times like me :)

    You are so right! I keep adding stuff to my cart fooled by "price per unit" not realizing half of those 'units' end in the trash can :)

    If there is a lot of buy, I agree it's a good bargain.

    Different people like different things, I guess. You'd probably wonder how I can spend more than an hour at Radio shack happily browsing the stuff, not even buying anything :)

    By Blogger Twisted DNA, at Mon Sep 18, 01:02:00 AM 2006  

  • awesome awesome awesome post...u have very aptly described a typical "Costco experience" as my hubby would have described it. The icing on the cake will be another post describing how one has to labour to finish what one buys from Costco e.g. 4 big loaves of bread, a 4 unit pack of toilet cleaner, a 32 unit pack of tissues, a 50 unit pack of toilet paper...... u get the picture?

    By Anonymous khushi, at Thu Sep 21, 03:09:00 PM 2006  

  • Oh not really, but I used to give company to a friend of mine who did. I always end up getting hungry there though...couldn't figure out why

    By Blogger dumbdodi, at Fri Sep 22, 09:27:00 AM 2006  

  • Malls, superstores, anywhere have the same story, specially on a weekend..seems as if the whole city out has come to the store for shopping!!
    And, yeah, anyplace which endorses, buy likely to be escaped by me.

    By Blogger Neha, at Sun Sep 24, 11:11:00 PM 2006  

  • I am suprised that you didn't even touch on the fat people on scooters driving from free sample station to free sample station on Saturdays.

    Or maybe that's just Costcos in the South...

    By Blogger Jamie, at Fri Sep 29, 06:20:00 AM 2006  

  • What can I say. Been There. Done That. Hated It.

    By Anonymous OrangeJammies, at Mon Oct 02, 12:24:00 AM 2006  

  • Agree completely. I have the hardest time looking for things in Costco and I ALWAYS find them at the most illogical of places. Maybe I should think about consulting them on this aspect after work--it would be a social service no less for all the shoppers at Costco--cant say how many days I will survive with that kind of a second job :)

    By Blogger Life Lover, at Tue Oct 03, 12:57:00 PM 2006  

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