Costco Karma

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Last week I experienced what can only be described as Costco Karma, which is weird because I’m not a big believer in Karma and you don’t normally consider a whole sale warehouse to be the dispenser of cosmic justice.

Until that fateful shopping trip, I was uncertain Karma even existed. Sure, when some wretched bastard finally comes upon their demise it is a delicious moment that makes you say Aha, Karma! There you are, you sweet son of a bitch.  The truth is in your euphoria you are temporarily blind to all the other times the good guy finished last and the bad guy triumphed.

Costco has the same unreliable quality. You can get a bona fide deal on anything from hearing aids to fish sticks. The problem, of course, is that everything is sold in an SLU (shit load unit).  Right now, in my medicine cabinet I have a drum of ibuprofen from 2003. I guess I’m hoping Karma and Advil will cure me of my headache.   And to this day my children recoil in horror at the mere suggestion of eating cheddar bunnies after a 40 count box terrorized their lunchboxes for the length of a Biblical probation.

And to be honest, I’m not sure Costco believes in cosmic justice either because before you leave you have to present your receipt to a team member who mixes friendly chit chat with cynicism and suspicion while inspecting your cart and deciding whether or not to release you with an authoritative stroke of a hot pink highlighter.

Despite this high tech security measure, I have shoplifted, more than once from the store.  Let’s be clear.  Both times were by accident, both times lacked criminal intent, and both times involved an SLU of recyclable water bottles.  The first time I stole a magazine.  I didn’t realize what I had done until I got out to the car and hoisted the heavy slab of water bottles into my trunk. There at the bottom of the cart was a glossy cupcake magazine. Now here’s where it is my fault, and Karma can start assembling an arsenal.  I didn’t go back in, show them my membership card, march over to customer service, and hand over the jack.  In my defense it was a blustery winter day in North Eastern Wisconsin so I said, “Fuck it!  It is just too damned cold out here. I am not walking another step.”

Today was a little trickier.  You see, both Costco and I were in the wrong. Just as before, I hoisted the SLU of water bottles up and into my trunk, and lo and behold a set of children’s thermal underwear was unintentionally secreted beneath the heavy and unwieldy package. I took a moment to contemplate my expanding shoplifting portfolio that now included apparel. My child will be warm but also an accessory to petty theft.

This time, I cannot say the weather was a contributing factor in my moral failure.  It was mild day and the cold air had yet to fully develop its sadistic personality traits that turns normal people into hibernating hermits.    This was a conscious decision to steal children’s underwear. I drove away.

When I got home, and parked in the safety of my garage, I opened my trunk and the gallon of milk I had legitimately purchased had leaked all over. A slit in the top from a box cutter was the hidden culprit.  Costco had sold me a defective milk.  Everything was coated with a filmy white including the black spongy carpeting that is the staple fabric of my budget vehicle.  Being the mother of two children I am acutely aware of the aftermath of spilled milk.  And I can tell you now that spilled milk in your car is something to cry about. I was about to be trapped with a rotting stench not unlike my moral failure.

Karma claimed its victory, spiked the football with tiny pools of milk, and trapped me inside my only means of escape. I had plenty of time to think about my sins while I waited as my car was detailed.

 

The Christmas Creep

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I feel rushed.  It’s a week before Thanksgiving and I feel like I need to go Christmas shopping. What the hell happened?  Shouldn’t I be thinking about gravy and butternut squash?  Shouldn’t I be buying plastic gloves for when I shove my hand up a dead bird’s ass?

You know, I blame this whole mess on the same people who brought you the scary clown epidemic.  You don’t hear much from those fellas anymore, do ya? There’s a reason.  They are Christmas shopping or Christmas shoplifting or whatever the unhinged do when the season strikes.

See the problem is – it’s Christmas already.  It was Christmas in September so naturally Halloween got pushed back to late July. The gainfully unemployed with a penchant for mischief and vagrancy  are now in possession of  a rubber mask, long pleasant evenings, and an unattractive three month waiting period.  And so I bring you the scary clown epidemic sponsored by Macys, Walmart, Bestbuy and all the other retailers who dragged out Christmas trees while you still were wearing shorts.

It’s the Christmas Creep, whether he’s in a rubber mask or in retail. And apparently, at least one of them is a vegetarian because Thanksgiving is all but forgotten in this madness.

 

Arse Ascending

On my way to and from my home, I pass something peculiar that I have never seen before.  It’s a pair of stuffed jeans placed on a step ladder on the edge of a driveway.  The ladder is not near anything, there’s not anything near it to reach up to. The jeans are stuffed to look lifelike but there’s no upper torso. It’s an arse on a ladder.

At first I thought it was a serendipitous placement of refuse and the weekly visit of the sanitation truck would be the end of it, but weeks went by and still it remained. It’s not like the winter wind blew the items like that. The legs are stuffed into the boots and they are securely fastened to the step ladder.  This is a deliberate arrangement.

It’s a butt, a butt going up but nonetheless not one of the most revered parts of the body.  Usually if you are only selecting one part, the ass isn’t top choice. Is it finished? Or is it a work in progress? When I drive by it, I slow down to search for any clues about what it means.  On closer inspection, I noticed that the rubber boots are floral.  I always  roll on by with more questions than answers.  Is this a political statement? Why doesn’t someone want those cute wellies?  Is this definitive proof that Pinterest jumped the shark?

What’s even stranger is that this isn’t the only out of place ladder that I have come across lately.  In the catalog of the store named after a ceramic farm building is two other ladders. One is white, well-worn and splattered with paint.  You would think it would be in a photo selling paints, but it isn’t.  It’s carefully placed against a wall by a window in a beautifully furnished room complete with fresh flowers on the coffee table. There are no rollers, paint cans or drop cloths or anything to lead one to believe the room’s a work in progress.

The only explanation is that the rickety ladder adds a certain panache to the room that a ladderless room could not otherwise achieve. I’m not convinced. Surely this room is not designed for anyone superstitious or anyone with children.  I’m even going to hazard a guess that no one with friends who like to tip a few back would welcome this “attractive nuisance” in their humble home. Is it a subliminal message from the company that you are never fully done decorating?  I just don’t get it.

A few pages later in the same catalog there’s another ladder.  This one is sadly not as rustic, but it’s for sale.  It’s a decorative ladder, I think, because the heaviest thing on it is a scarf. The rungs don’t seem too spacious either so a black wire basket is attached to the bottom to lend it more functionality. Neither the basket nor the ladder look like they required expert craftsmanship, but I suppose $263.00 is a small price to pay to be part of the ladder trend.

I think the ladders are part of a larger trend that has befuddled me for some time.  People want to look like they live in a workshop, a factory of sorts.  Reclaimed, recycled, reused.  Old barn doors are haute couture. Warped oars on a wall are avant-garde.  Shelves that look like plumbing pipes can fetch a handsome price.  Expensive plush chairs are armed with working rusty little wheels that can amputate toes.  Lighting of the same variety found in a warehouse are proudly peddled for exorbitant sums.

I just don’t get it.  The same people who purchase these things would scoff at my neighbor’s ladder arrangement, but I think the arse on the ladder might just be the message the decorating world needs.