Sunday, January 08, 2023

Yesterday, I made a “quick trip” with a shopping list to Costco but was there for over an hour. I kept running into folks I know, some whom I’d met up with recently and others not so much. Our catch-up meetings later felt unusual and I am reflecting as to why.

There’s some history in that I used to be a sample server at our local Costco. While working, I’d watch as people “ran into one another” and for long periods talked and blocked some of “my aisle.” I could see that the store had destination value stretching beyond the main goal of selling merchandise. “Shoppers” conspicuously relieved boredom on rainy and snowy days by coming in and just wandering or hanging out reading the books for sale. Parents routinely brought in their school-age children for entertainment and treats from sample tables. Many shopping or wandering bumped into acquaintances, and all would group for a while.

Back then, on my off days I could be among the “boredom group” but never in the “bumping into” crowd. While working and distributing food samples, I disliked meet-and-greets who blocked my aisle and chatted noisily. After yesterday when I, too, met and greeted, I considered what seemed different and concluded it’s that I don’t work in the store. In the old days, my shopping friends would stop, say hello, and we’d catch up. After leaving my inside-Costco job and making new friends in subsequent workplaces, we’re meeting while shopping in the store.

Unlike a large urban environment, for example, LA, here in Central Oregon there’s one Costco. Yesterday, while chatting with friends, I avoided glancing around apologetically at a nearby sample server. I had begun realizing and accepting that meeting-ups are part and parcel of shopping in the large general marketplace.

Going forward, I will count out any possibility of successfully “quick tripping,” with or without a shopping list, to our local Costco.

Dear Friends: To avoid or shorten casual meetings, shop in the store’s earliest- or latest-open hours. Diana

One thought on “Spree

  1. Guilty, your Honor! Pre COVID, I was one of the Meet & Greet crew. Now even after two shots & three boosters, I have not returned to those old (& mostly good) habits. Now I go to Costco quarterly, c. 7 PM, usually with a kid visiting from out of town, & two very efficiently organized shopping lists. Sometimes we get in & out in less than 20 minutes. Have to admit, I miss the old pre COVID freedoms.

    Liked by 1 person

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