Originally Posted: 2006-07-16 21:02

The Zen of Costco

First, be sure that you are prepared. Do you have The Card? What do you Need?

Next, consider the day and time. This is simply an exercise. There is no time that you can go to Costco when it will not be crowded. Accept this.

Stage one of your journey is the parking lot. The people are not looking. Do not hit them. Drive very very slowly. First gear. Slow, deep breaths. This will prepare you for the deeper stages. Patience is key in finding a parking spot. And if you are willing to back up an entire row length at 2 mph, a spot near the door can be yours.

As you enter, do not be distracted by the flat screen tv's. These are not the droids you're looking for.

Proceed with caution. Your cart cannot be steered forcefully. A light touch is needed. And be prepared to shift directions at a moment's notice. Practice cart ju jitsu. Feint. Pause. Look out for small women moving briskly. You do not need to be in their hurried way.

Items will not be where you expect them. One brand of toilet paper will not be sitting near the others. But allow your eyes to be open, for you will discover unexpected delights, such as a 10-cup fuzzy logic rice cooker for $89.99.

Be flexible, and let go of your expectations. Knowing that the 64-oz. Johnnie Walker Black Label won't fit (or look respectable, for that matter) in your liquor cabinet, choose the 750 of Glenlivet 12. Choose a few wines that you've never had before, trusting in the wisdom of the Costco wine buyer, who purchases more wine than anyone in America.

Relax into your poses, and do not allow the needs of others to influence you. Do not line up for the schmear of canned chicken salad on white bread that is being passed out. Your hunger needs can be met later.

Allow yourself to enjoy the beauty of the flowers. They are temporary.

Pick a checkout line. It doesn't matter which one. This is an opportunity to practice patience. Be friendly to the cashier. Allow the noises and shapes to soften. It is peaceful.

Next, allow your body and brain to come back slowly to the real world as you face the geometry problem of loading up a 2-seater convertible with all your purchases. Will the toilet paper fit in the front seat? Spatial awareness is important. This exercise will prepare you for re-entry.

Reflect on your experience as you slowly exit the parking lot. Did you find what you Need? Were you pleasantly surprised? Has the Costco experience created a sense of abundance?

And where are you going to put the 10-pack of Kleenex?

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