Saturday, January 23, 2010

A study in contrasts.

This afternoon Mr. Fabulous and I are going to go to Costco. I need coffee, and my heart hurts a little every time I buy beans at the grocery store. Why pay $7 to$10 for a bag of beans the size of a wee gnome's pillow when you can get three pounds of drippy oily dark beans at Costco for $12?

There's a Goodwill on the way to Costco, so Mr. Fabulous and I would be doing ourselves a disservice if we didn't stop by. And there's and ARC close by as well. If it sounds like this is a familiar route to us, it is.

Some people spend Saturday nights going to hotspots and swanky night clubs. We go to the Costco, then the thrift store. Maybe we'll stop by Sweet Tomatoes for dinner. I have a coupon.

This embarrassment of extremity isn't lost on us. Walk into Costco, and as we all know, quantity is surpassed only by row after row of identical products. Sure, the prices are great. And strolling through the cavernous aisles of Costco sates the hunter/gatherer gene.

It's a contrast to the offerings at any thrift store, where almost everything is completely different.

Including the employees.

I can drop a Franklin at Costco without making a full lap around the store, and there have been times that the cashier doesn't look me in the eye, or thank me. Sometimes the cashiers have a bit of a conversation amongst themselves.

It's not just Costco employees who have this Ignore the Customer credo. Lots of other FBR (full blown retail) stores have this common vibe.

Interestingly, I've rarely, if ever, had a similar experience while thrifting. More often than not, and most definitely more frequently than the FBR stores, employees at a thrift bend over backwards to connect to their customers. Thrift store employees generally seem happier, kinder.

I don't know why this seems to be the Way Things Are. And I may be wrong.

We'll see tonight when we have our night of extremes. A full report will follow.

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