customers entering Costco

And breakfast as well

| During The Season I avoid Costco assiduously on Saturdays. Henceforth, Friday will also be shunned.

With the holiday season fast approaching, I needed to replenish my supply of champagne. And since I may be on jury duty beginning Monday for an 11-day trial, it seemed best to make the run today. Big mistake.

crowded aisle

The population of the Greater Palm Springs area more than doubles in the winter and Costco is a popular attraction for these seasonal visitors. And I use the word "attraction" deliberately: many of them treat Costco as an outing, to stroll and gawk at wonders like gallon jars of oregano. And on Saturdays, Costco passes out free food samples to encourage impulse buying, and an amazing number of people regard this as an opportunity for free breakfast. They make a pretense of shopping while really going through the buffet.

To my great dismay, they were passing out samples today as well, and the place was packed!

Now, make no mistake: we love our visitors from the cold. We especially love that they come and spend lots of money to keep the economy humming. But we do wish they would learn to drive -— both their cars and their shopping carts.

checkout lines

Almost by definition, visitors are often unsure of exactly where they are going, and many obviously come from places without complex traffic structures, like multiple left- and right-turn lanes. Thus, extreme vigilence is required during The Season.

On the road, you must be always alert for someone making a right-hand turn from the left-most lane, or making a left-hand turn — or even a U-turn — from the right-most lane. Or simply stopping in the middle of the intersection while they ponder whither.

In Costco you must navigate around shoppers in clumps, strolling down the middle of the aisle, four abreast, all the while oohing and aahing over the merchandise. And, you must be fully prepared for them to abandon their cart right in the middle of the aisle while they nosh on the proferred morsels.

In the parking lots, they clog the aisles while they wait for a parking space two cars closer to the entrance than the one just down the way. This is a particularly severe problem in malls, where they insist on parking within 50 feet of the door, but then happily walk half a mile inside the mall.

The annual engorgement has been notable this Season because it began so very early. Normally the snowbird migration begins in October, with most in their winter nests by Thanksgiving. This year license plates from cold climes began appearing around Labor Day. Of course, having seen the weather reports from around the country, I'm sure I'd flee from those places too at the drop of a hat.

Last updated on Apr 13, 2018

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