As far as boneheaded decisions go, it ranked right up there. I honestly don’t know what I was thinking. I mean, seriously, the rules aren‘t exactly set in stone but it‘s common sense. Don’t climb into the zoo’s lion exhibit. Don’t hang candles off a real Christmas tree. And, for Godsake, don’t agree to accompany your wife to the local Costco!
We were in the car, on our way home from a late lunch when Fondy asked: “Did you bring your book?”. She wasn’t asking out of passing interest of course. “Did you bring your book?” actually means “Do you have something to occupy your time so that I can hijack you for an hour or two while I check out some stores that will no doubt bore you to tears?”. In fact, I did have my book with me (Conversational Japanese in 7 Days) and so, agreed to tag along. In all fairness, I assumed we’d be heading to some department store where she could ogle a Sub-Zero, or to a plant nursery where she could seek to educate me on the reproductive patterns of the philodendron. Instead, we went to Costco.
Now, I know you’re probably wondering “Joe, why do you hate Costco?”. Well, I’m glad you asked. Let me break it down for you:
1. The Parking: It’s like playing a live action video game as you slowly roll up and down the various aisles, desperately on the lookout for the thrilling sight of someone’s back lights, the telltale sign that a spot is about to free up. Since moving to Vancouver, Fondy has adopted the strategy of actually zeroing in on shoppers leaving the store and creeping along behind them, following them back to their car like some crazed stalker. If you’re lucky, they’ll lead you right to their parking spot, unload their groceries, and be on their way. But usually, you won’t be lucky. More often than not, the people you’ll be following will be octogenarians who’ll shuffle along at a snail’s pace, occasionally stopping to double-check their bill or adjust their pants before finally arriving at their destination – which, it will turn out, is not where they parked. At which point they’ll look around, gather their bearings, and cut through the parked cars to the next aisle where some other driver will luck out and get their spot. Otherwise, you end up with one of those leisurely assholes. You know the kind I’m talking about. Male. 25-45. Always takes his sweet time unloading his groceries and carefully arranging them in the trunk before getting in this car and spending the next ten minutes perusing the various radio stations for just the right “back out” tune. Today, however, was a first. The guy we were waiting for actually pulled out his cell phone and started checking his text messages. I was about to get out of the car to help him find the number for Emergency Services when a spot suddenly opened up in front of us. Fondy gunned the engine and we finally parked.
2. The Customers: “Come on, Luanne! We can take a shower when we get back! Get the kids in the car! We’re going to Costco for the free sample lunch!” Next to being subjected to noisy chewers, nothing annoys me more than the shambling masses who spend the greater part of their visit lining up at the various complimentary snack kiosks, sampling everything from low-sodium diet crackers to mesquite-flavored pimentos. What I find particularly irritating about these serial snackers is the attitude with which they move through the various queues, snatching up the sardines on toast or yogurt shots, knocking them back, and then moving on with nary a look, much less a thank you, for the individual manning the stand.
3. The Customers: Get out of the fucking way!!! The aisles are crowded enough as they are without having some moron park their cart in the middle of them while they saunter down to check the pricing on that industrial size mayo. Or stop their cart alongside another stopped cart rather than advance the few steps that would free up some room for anyone to get around them. When I’m presented with cases like these, it’s “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” Either move or be moved. It’s really the only high point o my visit.
4. Did I mention The Customers?: Okay, granted, the place aint exactly Neiman Marcus but still, would it really kill the clientele to maintain even the basest levels of personal hygiene? Encounter any of them downtown and you’d either assume they a) were homeless and/or b) had just been rolled after sleeping off a three-day bender. Given the choice, I’m sure that fully half of them wouldn’t even bother to wear pants if they didn’t have to.
5. The Merchandise: Come on. Do you really need a jar of pickles that big? Or all that canned pasta? I’m going to decide for you. No. No, you don’t. Unless you’re stocking your bomb shelter. Then, by all means.
6. Getting Out: Good luck!
Hmmm. It seems I was a little optimistic when I said I needed to narrow my Tokyo restaurant list down to 40 selections. I’ll only be in town 11 days and even if I was to try a new place for each breakfast, lunch, and dinner, that would make for a grand total of 33 restaurants. UNLESS…I had breakfast, an early lunch (11:00 ish), followed by a late lunch (2:00ish), an early dinner (5:00 ish), and a late dinner (8:00 ish), then I could cram in a whopping 55 restaurants! Or die trying.
Hey, one week to go before discussion begins on John Twelve Hawks’ The Traveler. Finish up because the enigmatic JXIIH(
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Twelve_Hawks) will be dropping by to answer our questions.