Framing the Dialogue

I’m A Cart Watcher

A hobby that I have developed is cart watching.  When we Costco shop we generally have lunch and I love to watch what other people buy.  A friend of mine calls it the 200 club because that is about what it costs to get out of the store.  I recently spoke to the local manager on a busy Saturday and he told me that their revenue averages around a half million dollars on a typical Saturday.  It is amazing how fast you can get to a hundred or even two hundred dollars. 

It is interesting to see changes in cart contents through the seasons.  Before any big sporting event, the big screen televisions are streaming out of the store.  There are toys at Christmas and candy at Easter.  Our Costco stocks a lot of landscape items this time of year and it seemed like every other cart was full of shrubs.

There are an occasional carts that are not full.  They are often pushed by seasoned citizens.  I have even seen a cart or two with only one or two items.  I don’t get that discipline.   I don’t share that discipline.

I got caught looking a few weeks ago.  I don’t stare, but this couple had an unusual cupcake cake and I could not figure out the shape.  The cake was on the bottom of their cart and I was curious.  My daughter was embarassed, but I finally had to ask about their cake.  They actually brought it over for me to see.  It was an umbrella shape.

Costco doesn’t have everything so I also go to the supermarket.  Our local grocery chain came up with this brilliant scheme to compliment their program where you earn money off of the price of gas for every dollar you spend on food.  The new program lets you earn percentage point off for every gallon of gas that you buy.  They allow you to use up to 20% off on purchases of up to three hundred dollars.  Between sale prices and the 20 percent I saved nearly a hundred dollars this morning.  I have a really big freezer and I bought three gas cans (you can get up to 30 gallons of gas so I like to maximize when it’s free).

I am not as used to the supermarket so it generally takes me longer to fill my cart and I have a lot of time to cart watch.  What I noticed was that there were a lot more carts full of kids.  I probably wouldn’t have noticed, but a lot of the kids were not happy and they were letting their parents know of their displeasure.  Maybe their free cookie ran out too soon.  The store gives them out at the bakery which is near the entry to the store.  They may have to have a “resupply” location closer to the middle.

One image that I took was of a father shopping alone with his four children.  They were really well behaved.  Maybe because they were entertained by another, smaller group of kids who were not so well behaved and even had one screaming.  The good kids seemed to be staring in disbelief at the bad kids.  As if they were wondering why the face (WTF) is up with those kids. 

I really don’t see misbehaved kids at Costco.  Maybe because they pretty much feed you the whole time.  The last trip I had seven layer dip, fresh salsa and chips, fresh butter bread, cheesecake, burritos, coffee, some odd cheese, chicken quesadilla, chicken tenders, and bacon.  Yep they were giving samples of bacon. 

That was enough food to keep the crumb snatchers happy and ditto for the rest of us.

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