Since Costco moved to Saint John, destroying trees and displacing deer and other equally adorable critters, we refused to support them, despite the promise of the lower prices that could be involved. It seems rather like some secret society for the modern western world - you pay a membership fee for the privilege of shopping there, then you're given a sort of secret handshake in the form of savings by purchasing obscene amounts of highly processed consumer goods combined with relatively decent customer service, especially when compared with the uninspired walking-dead cast that seem to make up the staff (and clientele) at Wal-Mart. At least you don't have to dress in white sheets.
We are not box store types, we founded Cash Mobs Saint John, for goodness sake. We feel a strangely sickening feeling walking through their brightly lit large, automated doors that makes us think they must have been involved some way with the extinction of unicorns or some equally horrific misdeed. But, being that we don't have deep enough pockets or unlimited time to search out local everything, we do need to feed their coffers on a depressingly regular basis.
Our comrade, Back-Alley Bill (trust me, that moniker is a compliment), who until recently was a long-time holdout, offered to smuggle us inside as a guest (envision a pledge at some extremely boring fraternity) to see if the savings warranted the sale of a piece of our souls.
We meandered through the aisles, gawking at the volumes like hillbillies newly exposed to city life, routinely stating, "That's a good price," as we passed giant boxes of sugar-laden cereals, pro and pre-biotic infused snack goods, and industrial strength garbage bags.
We drew smirks from the other customers as we gawked at the restaurant-sized container of Nutella and exclaimed, "Yeah, there's a good idea. Sit that in front of the kids in the morning and tell them to help themselves. Who would buy that?" we asked each other.
Loading our bag-less spoils into our vehicle, wondering why on earth we purchased a huge bottle of pickled asparagus, we reflected upon the prospect of joining and could not deny that the help our budget will receive is on the plus side, so we may pony up the fifty-five dollars for a membership. We reason with ourselves by stating that Costco does pay and treat their employees better than other box stores. The unanswered question is what kind of a hit will our community-minded spirit take?
I must note that the inspired photography of Bill Lapp can be viewed at The New Artisan Studio at 87 Germain Street, Saint John, NB. Come check it out!