Monday, November 19, 2012

One man's defiant effort to be the whiniest dick on the planet

Adam Probolsky, of the OC* Register, was directed to write a story about the recent 20th anniversary celebration at his local Costco.  He got off to a decent start:

The Irvine Chamber of Commerce and Costco's Irvine Spectrum location will have a special ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 16 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the store at 115 Technology West.  The public is welcome from 9 to 10 a.m.; a ribbon cutting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. 

Factually accurate.

Seeing this calendar item from the Irvine Chamber reminded me that I wanted to write about Costco.

Do go on.

I have a Costco membership and go a few times per year. However, I am not an avid discount warehouse shopper like a lot of other people I know. 

This is a fairly normal relationship with Costco.  I would be curious to see what percentage of the population Adam thinks of as "avid discount shoppers", though frankly I wouldn't be that curious, because this whole thing is boring.

I do not appreciate being asked to show my card on entry and then my receipt upon exiting. In fact, I ignore these requests every time.

I don't really know what to say, Adam; that's how shopping at a place like Costco works.  A followup email to Adam yielded some other requests that he ignores on (dubious) principle:

-when movie theater employees request his ticket
-when police officers request his ID
-when children request Halloween candy
-when his wife requests sex on a weekday

Anyone who has been with me on a Costco run is either entirely amused or very embarrassed by my behavior.

Pictured: All of Adam's former friends after one disastrous trip to Costco
I push my cart, with purpose, through the entry threshold. This is usually when a card checker says, "Sir, I need to see your card." I ignore him or her and press forward. 

Phrases like "with purpose" and "press forward" make me think that Adam is taking this campaign just a little too seriously.  Additionally, the title of the piece is "One man's defiant Costco run".  That's really what he called this, because he is a valiant freedom fighter against the tyranny of requesting proof of membership to enter a members-only store.  To return to the passage at hand, though, it would be far easier and less confusing if you just said "I don't want to do that".  Silent protests are useful for cases where people are being denied a voice and the protesters wish to visually represent this injustice by wearing tape over their mouths or similar, like so:

Pictured: How Adam Probolsky sees himself when he goes shopping
Silent protests are less useful when you are just acting like you cannot hear a person who is asking you a question because that is their job, especially when there is no sane reason for you to ignore that person.

With two or three more attempts at getting my attention, and with escalating decibels of "Sir!" being shouted, another member will usually tap me on the shoulder to let me know the card checker needs to speak with me. 

You say that as if this is somehow not a typical response to a person ignoring another person who is speaking to them.

I thank them politely

Seems unlikely.

but continue on my way. The member, who thinks they were being helpful,

Because they were.

oftentimes acts befuddled and gives the impression of feeling slighted that 

you acted like an asshole towards the greeter at Costco?

I didn't hurry back like a good little sheep would do.

Oh, right.  Let's break down the Costco shopping population:

Ignorant Costco masses.
Adam Probolsky.
Once I am in the store, no one bothers me. I make my way through the aisles, filling my cart as all the other shoppers do until I am uneasy about having enough money to cover the cost of what I am buying. 

Holy shit, that's the most boring paragraph I've ever read.   "I went to the store, selecting items that I needed for personal consumption, until the cost of the items I had approached the funds I had available for the purchase, at which time I went to the cashier to exchange my money for goods."  I'd rather read the fine print on my bank statement than this bullshit.

After checking out, I deliberately leave the receipt at the register. Sometimes the assistant to the checker will hurriedly bring it to me. I refuse it.

How interesting!  Please, Adam, explain why this is important!

This is an important step in the process of keeping the honor of free people everywhere. not show membership cards and to litter my receipts about wherever I please

This is when things get fun. 


Costco's policy of checking your receipt before you leave is, to me, unacceptable. And therefore I will not adhere to it. 

Adam Probolsky is to Costco what James Harrison is to the NFL.
"Roger Goodell's policy of not allowing helmet-to-helmet hits on defenseless receivers is, to me, unacceptable. And therefore I will not adhere to it."
There is a good chance I will lose my membership over this column, but I am OK with that because I feel like it will give aid and comfort to other receipt checker dodgers and perhaps start a movement that will overwhelm the system and break Costco's idiotic policy.

If you change the words "membership", "column", "receipt checker dodgers", and "Costco" to "life", "protest", "prisoners", and "Britain", this paragraph could be a speech given by an Irish political prisoner going on hunger strike in the 1970s.

They claim it is as much for your protection as it is for theirs. This is ridiculous. Other than perhaps a candy bar when I was 10, I have never stolen anything. So don't treat me like a criminal. 

Adam's argument is that he's so trustworthy, no one should ever be suspected of stealing anything ever.  For what it's worth, they do allow 10-year-olds in Costco, and they do have candy.  Where do we draw the line, Adam?

Getting out of Costco without showing your receipt is much more dramatic than entering without showing your card. Upon exiting, the staff will follow you or send security after you. 

Because the main reason people do this is because they are trying to steal things.  Adam seems like the kind of guy who would get indignant if a police officer asked him why he was hanging around that bike rack with a hacksaw, because can't they see how trustworthy he is?

I know my rights though. Once I paid for it, I get to leave. You can't hold me hostage. 

I would guess that most Costco employees are so excited for Adam to leave that they just give up and let him go at this point.

If you want to join me on this little effort, know full well that you are within the law and any attempt to physically stop you is not only wrong but likely either false imprisonment or assault or some other crime that Costco doesn't want its employees charged with.

Join the movement!  It's likely not illegal, but I don't want to come out and say that in absolute terms because I didn't bother making sure I'm right.  Let's get a reaction from Costco employees and fellow shoppers everywhere:

Fuck off, Adam.

* Don't call it that.

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