Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Costco Part 2

(in case you missed Part 1 of this epic tale, it's here.)

Now, as you all know, I'm a very cultured guy, but I've never been in a Costco.

The gray cinder-block walls gave the place a "jail chic" kind of appeal and observing a few of the patrons I wouldn't be surprised if a few had "washed" someone in their past.

After a few minutes of walking around aisles wide enough to allow the easy passage of very obese people and wondering if we really needed 28 glue sticks, I started thinking bad thoughts about Obama.

"Fucking elitist," I thought. "Dude can't even bowl without looking like a girl. How the hell is he gonna stand up to the terrorists?" I grabbed a sleeve of 36 D-size batteries and threw it into our cart.

I looked at Judy, my waifish yoga wife, and compared her to a 300-pound woman riding around in one of those electric wheelchairs. I thought of three Judys in one big "Judy body" while I reached for a "Red Cross Emergency Kit." 

"Maybe Judy needs to gain a little weight," I thought to myself.   And I threw a 3 million candle spotlight into our cart.

A mom and her son, both huge, were looking at bags of chips. 

"Those bags are bigger than the other ones we got," the son said while giggling. 

The mom giggled back at him. They stood there like that, in front of the chips, shoulders shaking, necks all loose, laughing.  I walked by them and picked up 1000 feet of aluminum foil. 

"McCain isn't really that old," I thought. 

I spent a long time contemplating a generator. I was pulled away from said generator by Judy. I listened to a salesman talking to an old guy about Tums. 

"If you have a few people in your family taking these," the salesman explained slowly in a serious tone, "buying in this quantity is a very economical way to go." 

The old guy nodded thoughtfully, and added the gallon-sized tub of Tums to his cart.

All around me, different people were having different conversations but the words I heard were the same... "big," "bigger," and "biggest."

An 87 year old woman wearing a Costco visor was handing out free samples of grape juice. 

"Where could I find the green tea?" I asked. 

"Aisle 32,148," she said, as she continued to pour the juice into tiny plastic cups. 

She didn't even look up. She was like an 87 year old robot, lifting the plastic cup from the stack, placing it on the counter, and then filling it with purple... over and over. I felt a pang of sympathy for her and remembered how it used to be when old people retired. But hey, she probably had credit card debt, and should be happy Costco gave her the opportunity to pay it off.

Behind me, a lady was struggling to carry a huge bag of red meat. She was grunting as she lugged it toward her double-size shopping cart. I imagined her, as a cavewoman or something, trying to drag a dead boar to her fire... she was hunting here, at Costco. 

Other people were pawing over discounted books. One large woman was reading the back cover of a book about the South Beach diet and another, equally large woman, came over and told her that it changed her life. 

Men were buying quantities of meat, and cases of beer. They wore sports jerseys and Nascar caps. The mood was light. The people were happy. The people were filling their carts. The people were getting good deals on big stuff. 

What more was there?

We got to the checkout and I realized, in a panic, that there was no way we could fit this stuff into my small car.  I worried about this, out loud, to my mother.  A man in the next checkout lane overheard our conversation. 

"Oh, you find ways to fit it all in. You always do," he said.  Lightheartedly, he laughed, and I felt like I was a member of some new club. 

This man was my brother. He spoke in open-ended terms, he sounded wise. He too had found it difficult to fit the absurdly large quantities of stuff into his car, but he had managed. I would manage too... everything would be okay. I could consume. For a flashing moment, I understood the psyche of a Hummer driver.

And then, as if to complete the scene, upon exiting Costco through the automatic sliding doors, I looked out over the vast parking lot towards where the horizon should be (instead there was a BestBuy or something) and saw a funnel cloud descending, slowly and silently from the black heavens. It was the first time in my entire life that I had ever seen a funnel cloud. I thought the coincidence of me going to a Costco and witnessing my first funnel cloud was just too much.

Compared to the Costco and that funnel cloud, I had never felt so... small before.

But ironically enough, I also felt very American.


Joe said...

You write a book, I'll buy it.

jsp9999 said...

You should quit trading and write stories.

Dinosaur Trader said...

Thanks, guys.

I was thinking about quitting trading and writing a story about an ex-trader who once had lots of money and a fancy house, and then lost it all, slowly.


Dinosaur Trader said...

And painfully...


Anonymous said...

Not the kind of story I want to read. Got anything more inspirational?

Dinosaur Trader said...

Okay, how about this... it's a story about an ex-trader who once had lots of money and a fancy house but then lost it all.

But then, when he's penniless, he finds God.


Anonymous said...


Just don't like the ex-trader and penniless parts.

Jd said...


I agree with Joe, great writing, I love reading your blog. However I think it might be healthy to write and churn several hundred thousand shares a day for what ever firm/group you are with. It sounds like there might be a great book about your trading experiences out there, and maybe churning more will help with the material. Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

JD has a good point.

Churning and burning my account always results in an expanded vocabulary, which would be useful in writing a book!

Jd said...


A salient point. A large vocabulary must be the cornerstone to writing.



Dinosaur Trader said...

I think in the long run, it'd be better if I could just imagine "churning and burning" my account instead of actually DOING that.

I mean, while it may make for some entertaining stories, I have to watch my health.

Meanwhile, as far as interesting stories go, in my future a trip to Liechtenstein, to pick up a large quantity of money owed to me, may be in the offing.

Imagine that post...

However, the chances that Judy allows me to actually make that trip, are very slim.


Anonymous said...

Don't feel bad, DT, I wanted to fly to Nigeria to pick up an inheritance but my wife wouldn't let me go.