Tripping Through Time

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

I’ve been thinking about how it seems in early August that summer starts slipping away. This idea got boosted yesterday while I was in Costco, at my part-time job, and saw a new huge display of winter skiing gloves tucked neatly beside the remaining school supplies. I saw in the clothing stacks new warm-lined pullovers and vests, and now, lots of summer items on sale. I’ve been at Costco long enough to know that later this month, the store will introduce spooky skeletons, Christmas light-strings, and more varieties of winter gloves.

It’s always a bit astonishing in August and September to see carts rolling by with holiday gifts and associated knick knacks. Asking customers why they’re shopping so early for Christmas gets proud responses like, “I want to be prepared and ahead of the holidays,” Or, “So many bargains right now, they’re simply irresistible.” By the time December actually rolls around, the few remaining holiday items are marked down. That’s when we employees start buying.

In late November or early December, the store’s merchandise again starts changing. Then, it’s astonishing to see baskets hauling Speedos toward checkout stands. Over the years, Costco has helped many lose a sense of time by manipulating what’s around us. Our head-calendars shadow merchandising calendars. The rule at Costco is, if you spot something you like or just simply might enjoy using, get it now–for it might disappear in an eye-blink.

The store’s merchandising is amazing in that displayed items help to alter the calendar for many of us. After the store closes, nighttime workers move things around, forcing customers that return to travel aisle-by-aisle to find what they’re looking for. While watching closely for items they want, they spot wanted-others previously overlooked. As a food sample server, I enjoy assessing loaded shopping baskets. I try to calculate the percentages of purchases possibly-planned opposed to impulsive pickups.

Everybody inside the store learns to assess baskets this way. After getting to know Costco, this skill becomes second nature–and handy–for items tossed into carts communicates to insiders and shoppers alike what’s hot and what’s not.

Anyway, I digress from my thesis that summer might be slipping away. Despite signals in the universe, there’ll be no turns toward ski mittens or warm pullovers. I’ll hang onto a “summer-like reality”, sticking to a warm weather state of mind, for it’s early August and there’s still much to accomplish.

Dear Friends: Merchandisers are masters at manipulating perceptions. Diana

One thought on “Tripping Through Time

  1. I am going to read this to Dave. We have long suspected that Costco rearranges products at night so we have to cruise around. Your other observations are interesting too.

    Sent from my iPhone

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