Stuff You Can Buy At Costco That Scares Me

I’m always disturbed when I walk into a Costco warehouse.

Maybe it’s the high and bare and cavernous walls that make me think of Anywhere, Eastern Europe, 1983. Perhaps it’s the one hundred HDTVs blinking at me silently as I enter. Mayhaps it’s the line of people trying to escape the confines of Costco, but prevented from doing so by thugs who slowly inspect their carts and receipts.

Or maybe it’s the complete disconnect between my consumer expectations and what Costco actually delivers.

Look, I know I’m going to come across as elitist and crappy, and I understand why Costco sells stuff like mayo and condoms in bulk. And I’m not against that, at all—Costco’s deals rule. 

But the idea that I can buy massage oil by the gallon creeps me out, because there are only three reasons to buy it:

1) You’re a masseuse.

2) You’re a dangerous perv who uses it en masse while surfing Yahooligans! late at night.

3) You’re setting up “shop” via Craigslist, and listing your services under “Casual Encounters.”

So, who’s buying this stuff? Because there ain’t that many masseuses in the world...

And coffins. Costco sells coffins. And yes, they seal up, in case you were wondering. (However, “THERE IS NO SCIENTIFIC OR OTHER EVIDENCE THAT ANY CASKET WITH A SEALING DEVICE WILL PRESERVE HUMAN REMAINS,” according to Costco’s website.)

It’s cool that Costco is breaking down a near-monopoly of small businesses that shake down the bereaved during their lowest moments, but I need not be reminded that I’m but a temporary presence in this, the grand scheme, when I’m shopping for tubs of Kirkland Signature miniature pretzels.

Speaking of which...

Every major store in the U.S. has “in-house” branded wares, items that are stacked against trusted brands which promise to deliver competitive prices and (hopefully) comparable quality. But Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand is out of control.

Yes, they present the typical stuff—peanut butter and garbage bags and batteries. But seriously, gift tags? Latex gloves? Dress pants? DRESS PANTS???

I don’t care if your trousers are “Made in Italy”—if they’re branded with the same logo that appears on my much-too-big packages of baby formula and baby-back ribs, I ain’t buying.

And while we’re on this topic: Kirkland Signature alcohol?

I mean, I’m sure it does the job—that is, get you completely blotto before striking you down with blindness and liver failure.

But if you’re the Costco exec who pulls the decision trigger when marketing Kirkland Signature beer, wine and vodka, don’t you take a step back and consider that it’s the same brand that appears on your massive jugs of multi-vitamins and bulk baby wipes? Isn’t it time to develop a second in-house brand identity? 

Because when you slap the logo that appears on your car batteries on an otherwise friendly looking bottle of beer, you lose me and anyone else who loves beer. And when you deliver your 2007 Kirkland Signature Chardonnay, the offering should at least appear consistent. Not just the packaging—I mean the wine itself. One of these things is not like the other! One of these things just doesn’t belong.

And when you present your vodka (“Made in France”) in a really attractive bottle that otherwise would signal mission accomplished, only to have a fat “Kirkland Signature” stamped prominently upon it... well, that explains all those cases of unsold vodka. (Well, that and the fact that your in-house brand is more expensive than recognized offerings, like Smirnoff. Weird.)

dudedrama dudedrama
36-40, M
11 Responses Sep 14, 2009

These big box stores (and even their little off-shoots) have proceeded to kill American culture - literally killing off small towns by destroying the mom and pop stores that used to provide the livlihoods, charm/culture, and personal contact from which one could derive substantive pleasure on a daily basis - I've been boycotting big stores for the last 4 years precisely because I feel they are part of the deterioration of our "community" spirit - our ability to relate and co-mingle as a common people. I love going down to the Main street pharmacy to shoot the bull with the folks at the soda fountain counter, shop the local wares, and generally invest personal time in my community - That is NOT possible at Wally World or its contemporary spirit-sucking conglomerates.... it just isn't - no soul, man, no soul.... If it costs me an extra buck to have a substantive moment with my townspeople, then so be it. I want to be an active part of my community, not a "consumer" of it. That's just my take. Loved the story - well done.<br />

I live in Canada and my dad shops at Costco all the time, but I've never seen coffins there. Maybe Canadian Costco's are different?

Just one question - are the coffins Kirkland branded, too?

Sounds like our Trashco [not real name, but it could be ... T*sco?!?] in the UK. <br />
T*sco alcohol to get you blotto quickly and pickle your liver, anyone? Mmmm.

Could there be some narcissistic individual named Kirkland behind all of this madness?

I havent been to a Cosco in a very long time but this really got me! Thanks buddy

coffins? that is disturbing

And here I was just getting ready to reup my Costco card.....Made me think a bit....But with the houseful that I have...I really need costco....At least for somethings that is

Oh Costco... scare the things you can buy in bulk or otherwise, but I do love you so.<br />
<br />
Thanks for the laugh. ;)

I LOVE Costco- (I hate to admit it but your story was unfortunately true) and absolutely hilarious! Thanks for sharing...

From what I understand death sales is a huge market for Costco. Scary but true!