Junior Jackson Margolis (Photo by Jacqueline Chao)

BALLERINO BALLER: Costco puts the ‘super’ in supermarket

Junior Jackson Margolis’ biweekly blog, Ballerino Baller, is a collection of responses to the book “500 Writing Prompts,” which his mother gave him for Christmas. The posts will foremost try to comedically entertain but still have a note of seriousness.

What is your favorite store, and what do you love to buy there?

For shopaholics, it’s Nordstrom. For health nuts, it’s Whole Foods. But for me, the perfect store is Costco.

Sure, the interior looks like an organized garage, and going to Costco might take an entire Sunday afternoon. But with the right plan, the Costco experience becomes the fastest and most enjoyable shopping journey imaginable.

There’s only one thing that bothers me more than bacon-wrapped pizza and citizens who complain about the government yet don’t vote — and that’s shopping without a plan.

Consequently, my least favorite part of the week is Saturday afternoon after a few hours of ballet when my mother says we need items from the mall or ingredients from the grocery market.

These store experiences are usually inspired by the need for a few things like a new pair of pants, milk or cashews, but they end up lasting much longer than intended.

We’d go to Gap for a new pair of pants because my legs have grown and we’d end up having to stop at the Apple Store, Foot Locker and J. Crew. (By the way, Cinnabon at the end does not compensate for a three-hour trek through random stores.)

At Costco, though, it’s completely different. Besides a few specific things like 1 percent milk or organic bananas, (yes, I still believe organic is superior), Costco has everything you could ever want or need. That’s a plus, since going to one store instead of three is a huge time saver.

In fact, because Costco is the ultimate one-stop shop, it’s perfect for those emergency purchases.

Prepping for the arrival of your Italian in-laws and needing the perfect pasta sauce? Costco has a smooth, savory and grainy pesto primavera that is sure to impress Mr. and Mrs. Bianchi.

Taking your chemistry partner on a second date to the opera and hoping to develop chemistry outside the classroom? Costco has a wide selection of professional yet casual attire.

I could go on and on. In fact, I could have another biweekly blog devoted to Costco items that you — the consumer — need, but I’m not going to.

Instead, I’d like to take a step back and examine the Costco culture: It’s a community everyone fits into.

They just don’t know it yet.

Costco is a hardworking mother with three boys who always run around the store playing tag, disrupting the general order of the supermarket.

Costco is an elderly gentleman who is willing to go the extra mile for a bargain.

Unlike Whole Foods or the mall, when you’re at Costco, you’re part of a family of people who share the same desires and goals as you.

At Costco, everyone wants to get out of there as quickly as possible. The store is so packed that carts filled to the brim move back and forth, wheels ramming into the sides of displays as customers try to get through small openings between aisles.

The unpredictability is an art form.

Though biologists and historians say Charles Darwin developed the theory of survival of the fittest after studying the natural selection of finches, I think Darwin actually invented it after shopping in Costco for an hour and a half.  

Hey, if there’s only one pack of those buffalo mozzarella bites left, and I see Gary coming around the aisle with a cart full of assorted cheeses, and I don’t even really want the pack, I’m still going to grab it because it’s better to take advantage of opportunities early than to scavenge for less popular items late.

This human competitiveness is poetic. In fact, it’s beautiful to see a group of adults treating Costco as if it’s a game of hide-and-go-seek or tag, where there are winners and losers.

At Whole Foods or the Co-op, it’s completely different. If you have the mozzarella in your cart and Gary is scratching his head in front of an empty case of the buffalo cheese, by all means, it is your obligation to give him that cheese.

The world doesn’t work like that, though. If you want to be successful, take the mozzarella and think later. You saved so much time by going to Costco that you’ll have plenty of time to consider putting it back if you feel like it.

Also, at the end of the day, Costco is better because it has samples.

—By Jackson Margolis

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