©2001 Bonnie Wren
Alienated at the Club
(as it appeared in the San Diego Union-Tribune June 21, 2001)
I first began to suspect it a few months ago. I was pushing my cart down a food aisle at my local Costco when the woman in front of me slowed to a stop, her attention focused on an employee setting out pieces of food in tiny paper cups.
Leaving her cart to block mine, the woman approached the employee, picked up the sample, took a bite, and stared vacantly into space as she chewed. She was not alone. In seconds I was marooned in a sea of abandoned carts while the owners pushed me aside for a turn at teriyaki chicken nuggets, only $7.99 for a bag of 48.
Now here's the weird part: Aisle traffic came to a standstill, but no one swore or shook their fists like they do in similar situations on the I-5. Instead, even more consumers left their cards to graze sheep-like in the food samples.
Lest you forget, we live in the days of "road rage," when an unattended cart blocking an aisle in Vons will stimulate an otherwise soft-spoken coupon-clipper to use language guaranteed to sizzle the wax right out of your years.
Yet peace reigns at Costco when traffic stops for staffers with food samples. Why?
Because Costco has been taken over by aliens, that's why.
I figure they use those stainless steel carts to hide transmitters which produce alien radio waves. These waves somehow suppress a natural tendency to ram your cart into the doofus blocking the aisle (thereby reasserting your status as the Alpha Shopper) and pull you toward the samples.
Maybe the aliens use this peace-making device to bring a large group of us together to observe in the wild at close range, without us breaking out in the usual fighting. And I don't know what alien substance they put in those samples, either, but whatever it is, you want it so bad you willing wait longer for a jalapeno popper ($6.99 for a box of 36) than you do to get into a good restaurant on a Friday night. This alien-induced craving basically drives you crazy until you swallow the sample and suddenly feel free to move on.
Then again, aliens might be using the wholesale club to imprint their alien buying habits on us. If they are, it's working.
Recently, I noticed everybody at the beach had the same Costco beach umbrellas, beach towels and folding chairs that I did. Our kids played with Costco sand toys and used Costco boogie boards while wearing Costco swimsuits and trunks. Parents lathered up family members with quart bottles of sunscreen and passed out juice boxes from rolling collapsible coolers, all of which came from Costco.
There was even more of this pod-people replication at the campgrounds, where everybody packed the same Costco tent, sleeping bags, camp tables, camp chairs, ice chest and 5-pound bags of tortilla chips, all purchased with Costco membership cards carried in Costco wallets.
For all we know, an invisible alien mother ship sits on the roof of every wholesale club in America right now, beaming that transmitter---or worse, injecting microscopic amounts of alien juice into the food sample so they can drain us of our desire to buy stuff anywhere else.
Lately, they've even been giving us straight belts of this powerful substance. People are blocking the aisle for a sample cup of green juice. Green juice.
I ask you: If this isn't proof of alien intervention, what is?
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©2003 Bonnie Wren. All Rights Reserved