Costco – Case Study In How To Lose A Customer

All Costco had to do was keep their mouth shut and stay out of politics.

But they didn’t.

Instead they figuratively “Took a knee” to the Radical Alt-Left of Antifa, BLM, The Woke Mafia, and the Twitter Trolls.

What Had Been & Could Have Been

Now I’m in the market for a My Pillow. Not hard core, but eventually. WHENEVER I see one in some store I’m going to buy one as an “impulse buy”. I’ll not be looking for the best price on line. There’s margin in that kind of sale.

I typically have done an ‘every 2 weeks’ grocery and gas run to COSTCO. A little less often during the “Lockdown” crap as I’d stocked up on about 6 months of excess groceries to work off (so mostly buying perishables now) and not going very far so gasoline is lasting longer in the tank. But still, eventually I’d have been in the store and had a reason to go down the non-grocery isles, seen a My Pillow, and stuffed it in the cart.

Now I won’t. And NOT because they are discontinuing the pillow. Because I’m discontinuing them. (mostly).

Realize I’m not being all hard core political about this. I’m staunchly “middle of the bird” and neither right-wing nor left-wing. Like most folks, I’m a cross section of beliefs. What the Alt-Left folks (socialists / Marxists like BLM, Communists like Antifa, etc.) are doing is polarizing even the MIDDLE GROUND into being only accepted on the right-wing. They are about 15% of the population and driving the other 85% away toward the conservatives. OK, I can do that…

For me it is much more about how I feel when I go to get in the car.

In the past, my dominate feeling was smug pleasure at knowing I was going to be getting a good deal on gasoline and groceries and that, with just a little labor on my part, I’d cut my costs by repackaging enormous sized units sold at COSTCO into normal home sized units. I’d get to use my food storage and prepping skills. I’d get to use my restaurant back room skills learned as a kid. It was a nice mix of nostalgia, my own skills being used, and economy.

What Is Now

Now, I think “Go to Costco” and instead there’s this feeling of DREAD. I now know that they hate me. They despise any conservative value I might hold. It caters to The Alt-Left, and who knows, I might even be funding them via some Corporate blackmail Donation program. I also know that the products they are offering are NOT the best. They have made a political decision on products to carry, so I must assume that’s how they will filter ALL their products. Damaging the free market and aligning with Those Who Hate Me. ONLY offering products with a political spin, not based on best product.

Now, do you think I’m going to be in a hurry to point my car toward COSTCO and feel all that? Do you think I’m going to be happy about my decision to shop there that day? Um, no. In fact: Hell No.

It really is that simple. Customer Perception and Customer Experience. My perception of Costco has now shifted from “Beneficial and positive” to “Evil and hates me”. Good luck ever shifting that back. Customer Experience will now be with angst riding on my shoulder… with annoyance at where MY MONEY might be going to be used against me. Wondering if BLM Banners will be greeting me in a few months. With simmering pissed-ness and with ‘be on alert’ in the wings.

The Consequences

A week or so ago I went to do my usual “fill up the cars”. Normally I’d just combine that with a COSTCO run. Instead, I pulled out Gas Buddy and did a search for something else. Found a station with slightly better prices much closer. Why make a 9 mile run to COSTCO for gas if I can get it closer and as cheap / sometimes cheaper? That was about $120 all told filling the few cars.

It’s been something like a month? Maybe more? Since my last COSTCO grocery run. I get in the car and think “I need eggs, chicken, lamb, bread, …” should I go to COSTCO? And then the feeling starts to creep in… And I also realize my tank is already full, and I’ve gotten used to shopping at the local discount markets that have about the same prices on eggs, chicken, bread, lamb, wine… So just why not go to that place where I feel comfortable and wanted…

That’s another $150 to $200 / month. Maybe more.

Which has me puttering to the store nearby instead. Now they have a marketing shtick where they price very low “on sale” and higher in between, and where very small sizes are very high price / unit; so I do need to be careful to buy any “stocking items” when they are on sale (tuna for example) and to buy the “big size” for economies (flour) and do my usual Costco “decant, repackage, store” process on them. But my costs are about the same and I don’t have to feel bad in the process.

I do need to “spread it around” between a few stores instead of just the one Big Box. The cheap gas is a Mom & Pop. There are 2 “cheap chain” grocers with different name products priced low (about 2 miles from each other so an easy loop). For things like tires, I’ll be doing Tire Rack instead of Costco ( I think I’ve bought 5 or 6 full sets of tires at Costco over the years… never again. About $800 /set.)

Not only that, since I was driven to the My Pillow web site, I see they have about a 1/2 off with promo code option. (IIRC it is more off with the RSBN Promo-code, says 66% with “RSBN”…) So I’m now thinking maybe Costco isn’t all that great a way to buy non-grocery things either…

Now as the number of things where my first thought used to be “Costco Run” drops, the utility of the whole “big run” drops, eventually from a positive economic net gain, to a net loss as the gasoline / transport cost is amortized over ever less “stuff” bought there. It has already dropped below “break even” without even thinking about the membership cost. Next renewal? Maybe not…

In Conclusion

That’s sort of the point. It isn’t a grand political movement ideology driven “I’m Going To BOYCOTT!!!” thing that drives customers away. It is a slow erosion of Brand Image and Customer Experience.

I didn’t decide to boycott Costco (unlike NFL / MLB who shoved it in my face). I just read that they were dumping My Pillow and thought “Oh, darn, I could have just bought one on the next Costco run”. Then when the time to gas up came, just didn’t feel positive about driving all that way for gas and wondered “anything close enough cheap enough?” (so I don’t have to think about Costco…)

Then for groceries, I just decided to check out some more local options (since I didn’t need to gas up on the Costco Runs nearly so much and since Walmart had become “customer hostile” with locking up products and no checkers…) and found I can get all “the usual” just as effectively closer to home and a better customer experience.

In short, I’m just slowly fading away; from the Costco point of view.

We still have an item with an adjustment / maintenance warranty that takes us to the store every so often. That will still happen (in fact, has happened). It isn’t like we’re shunning them entirely. BUT: I found myself walking the isles thinking “Don’t need that, don’t want that, have plenty of this…” as I’d stayed stocked up at the more local smaller stores. So even when I was IN Costco and walking the isles, I wasn’t buying. I’ve “moved on” emotionally and structurally.

That’s just how it is with “Get Woke, Go Broke!”.

I don’t know that I’ll ever go back to NFL / MLB. Plenty of good high school and college stuff if I need a fix. If I want “Hotdogs on the BBQ and Beer” I don’t need to pay someone $60 for the experience, I’ll just go camping or do it on the patio. They must now WORK to get my attention back.

I don’t know that I’ll ever go back to Coke or Pepsi. I’ve “moved on” to iced tea. I do know I’m not going back to StarBucks. Pete’s is just as good (in some ways better) and they don’t have a Track-Me token forced onto your laptop. I’ve also put a DIY Kit in the car and I’m good with making my own coffee at the park, truck stop, rest area, whatever. Plus, I feel good about the world in the rest area – while StarBucks reminds me they hate cops, hate me, hate America…

The list goes on. Products and brands that shout at me “We HATE you and your values too!” just don’t make me feel good about buying them, seeing them, having them in my house or car, or sitting in their shop. So I choose to “distance myself”. That old “I know when I’m not wanted, gotta go” thing.

In some ways it’s very odd. I didn’t set out to boycott things. I set out to get a good deal on decent products and not care at all about politics. But the forced infusion of Political Crap into the corporate cultures has driven me away. I have NO IDEA what the political leaning might be of my current gasoline station and grocery stores – and that’s the whole point…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Economics - Trading - and Money, Human Interest, Political Current Events. Bookmark the permalink.

44 Responses to Costco – Case Study In How To Lose A Customer

  1. Greg says:

    Welcome to our small minority. My personal boycott of Costco is over twenty years running now. They pissed me off enough to say I’ll never set foot in one again and I haven’t. Granted, there are price savings advantages that I’m forgoing; I’m OK with that. I not much more fond of Wallyworld either, but I only go there a couple times a year, with a definite list. Last time there I was only able to fill about half my list when I just said screw it, I’m outa here.

  2. YMMV says:

    Cancel Culture is the new guillotine.

    Image from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/rabble-rouser/202103/the-rise-culture-censorship

    My Pillow’s CEO Mike Lindell” who’s facing a $1.3 billion lawsuit from Dominion Voting Systems over his accusations that the company stole votes in last year’s election”

    BILLION? Free Speech is certainly not free. If their point is “We (the state) can crush little bugs like you … so do NOT even THINK it!”

  3. Jim Masterson says:

    I haven’t been to a Costco warehouse store since this pandemic started. I do get gas from Costco, and I have ordered a couple of items on-line. Cutting out Costco completely will be hard for me. I’m a Coke-ahollic so ending my Coke addiction isn’t in the cards either. (Tea is out, because I suffer from kidney stones. Tea is notorious for causing them. I haven’t had a kidney stone since I stop drinking tea.) Nor can I cancel my COMCAST account–I’m hooked. :-(

    Jim

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jim Masterson:

    One need not drop to zero to have effect…

    So, for example, if you “Gotta Hava Cola” and the only choices are Coke or Pepsi (like at many fast food venues), pretty much stuck. OTOH, when in Giant Grocery Store, there is very likely a 3rd brand available. RC, Shasta, etc.

    Similarly, depending on where you live, there are alternatives to Costco. In Florida, I got a B.J.s card. It is, basically, a slightly smaller Coscto like operation (complete with cheaper gas). I really liked them when I was there and will get another card when next I return. The “State” drop down on their store locator lists about 17 States, mostly “Back East”:
    https://www.bjs.com/clubLocatorDetail?source=homepage
    Maine to Florida and New York to Ohio. So, in that range, you have another option.

    Walmart is not much better than Costco on the Getting Me Annoyed scale, but I’d shop at their Sam’s Club stores before I’ll be back at Costco (similar big box membership card with gas operations, but more nation wide, just not anywhere near me…)

    There may be others too.

    Per Comcast: Did they do something evil? I mean, beyond their usual PIA non-service?

    There are a LOT of alternatives to traditional cable now. From “5 G” via a Telco to the Roku (which seems to have every channel you can imagine, even pay ones with individual sign up – how we get Disney / Hulu package and Paramount / CBS package and more) that runs over your internet connection. Then there’s https://pluto.tv/welcome Pluto TV. Got a browser? You have TV…

    So I don’t believe that you can’t dump them. I do believe that, like me with AT&T internet, it may be the only choice at any reasonable price. (Though I’m hoping the wireless stuff will knock them off that perch…). So it’s a choice, not an obligation, but the most rational choice at the moment.

  5. Jim Masterson says:

    @EM:

    As a retired Naval officer with twenty years service, I have Commissary (and Exchange) privileges. That’s where I do most of my grocery (and liquor) shopping. (The Coast Guard station has better liquor deals, but they are located in downtown Seattle. I have stopped going into Seattle for obvious reasons.) The Naval support complex is 22 miles north of where I live. There’s a Costco on the way for gas (the Exchange gas is rather expensive). However, I often get my morning cereal milk from the local QFC.

    “Per Comcast: Did they do something evil?”

    Todd Hermann, our local Seattle talk show host, keeps pointing out that service fees paid to COMCAST are divvied out equally–including CCN and MSNBC to name a couple of examples. Supporting COMCAST is also supporting those idiotic organizations. But Hermann doesn’t have a TV, so it’s easier for him.

    Jim

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    @YMMV:

    I’d wager the Audit in Maricopa County will be useful to him ;-)

    @Greg:

    I think it was about 20 years ago Costco did something to annoy me a bit and I backed off a little then too. But not as bad as now. One thing I remember is they decided to only sell me the tires placarded on my car. Which would be fine if they had them… but it was 14 inch rims and very old car so a 195/75 tire. Now a 205/70 fit just fine, but no, that they would not sell. Despite having sold me the 195/75 tires originally… I think it was one more set after that they drove me off to Tire Rack and lost all my tire business.

    At the time I was doing something like 75,000 miles+ / year (on the road to job sites) so it was roughly a set of tires a year… I liked the idea I could go into any Costco anywhere and get replacements for road damage or a whole new set if needed. Yet got hung out to dry with no compatible tire they would sell me. IIRC, since then, I bought one more set from them about 8? 10? years back. They went to the car bone yard with the wagon that finally reached EOL. Still had some tread left but had mostly aged out. Replacements came from Tire Rack, installed by an affiliated dealer or ordered and installed by mechanic. Never missed the COSTCO service idea since. Did have to buy the occasional odd tire when AwShit happened on the road middle of nowhere (so a “Cooper” in Florida from, IIRC, a Sears, and another odd tire from a Sears in New Mexico when I had a blowout.

    I had 4 vehicles with the same bolt pattern and almost the same tire specs. All Mercedes, 3 x W123 and 1 SLC. I’d put The Best New tires on the Spousal Wagon, and then from there they would migrate down the stack. The SLC specified one larger size, but could run on the smaller tires if you didn’t mind occasionally squealing them on flooring it ;-) I’d run a set “to be burned up” on my work car shooting all over the place. Construction sites with nails, whatever. Didn’t all have to match either in brand or age or tread. Sometimes I’d have one size on the rear, another on the front. So 205/70 on front 195/75 on the rear, or 195/70 on front and 195/75 on the rear. IIRC, 215/65 also was about the same 25 inch height. Then the “middle” W123 was my “good car”, so it got the “slightly worn” tires from the spousal car when a new set was needed.

    Every so often, the SLC would finally wear out a set of the 205/70s or the 215/65 and I’d move them toward the “burner car”. Sometimes a couple would be “used up” and just tossed and only 2 would have tread left. Sometimes a “spare” was headed toward aging out and a tire full of tread but only 2 years life left would head to the “burner”. By doing this, pretty much constantly, the Spousal car, the SLC, and my Good Car all had a nice matched set of pretty new to very new tires. And the car I was cranking miles on would wear out whatever was headed for gone in a few months to a year.

    Rinse and Repeat…

    It was really a nice feeling when I’d pick up a nail at a work site, and just not care. Whatever tire it was, had already given a few years of service and likely didn’t have much tread left anyway.

    Now?

    Now I’ve got 2 cars that are picky about “Tires Must Match” (4 wheel all wheel drive) and where they don’t really match any other car (though the 4Matic could swap rims with the 300TE w124 I think… bolt pattern and wheel geometry match, but one is low profile rims matched to the look of the new car and the other 1989 “Wedding Cake” like… so would look really funny. Then the 190 has littler tires by a size or two. Only one W123 left. AND all of them getting nearly no miles on them. Every single tire out there will age out before it wears out. No real sense in even trying.

    Plus, 3 of them have nearly new tires all around, the 190 has 2 x new, and the W124 isn’t going to wear out that tread before I’m worn out… I put about a tank of Diesel in it 2 or 3 x a year…

    Long wondering thing… but the point is:

    Costco Tires drove me away a decade+ back, and now they can never get me back as I don’t need tires for a long long time.

  7. Jim Masterson says:

    @EM:

    “. . . there is very likely a 3rd brand available. RC, Shasta, etc.”

    I missed that on the first read through. I do not like Pepsi, RC, Shasta, Brussels sprouts, etc. And I’ve tried them all.

    Jim

  8. philjourdan says:

    Sam’s club here I come!

    You might want to think about the sheets instead (or in addition to) the Pillow. I just bought some for our bed, and they are as good as Boll and Branch and at half the price!!! I have nothing against Boll and Branch. But Egyptian cotton at half the price?

    I hear tell that Lindell is looking at creating MyStore – competition for Amazon. Please do!!!

  9. jim2 says:

    I’m cancelling my Costco account ASAP. And will include “effing idiots” “leftard” and a$$h0l3.

  10. philjourdan says:

    @EMS – Re: Comcrap – they own NBC – nuff said.

  11. Ed Forbes says:

    I moved to WINCO from COSTCO years ago due to prices and the insane quantities COSTCO requires you to buy. When buying for 6, it made some sense, but not now buying for 2.

    And WINCO just has better prices on general groceries than COSTCO.

  12. philjourdan says:

    @Ed Forbes – That would work for me. Problem is, there are no WINCOs out here. We got Sams, BJs (whoever came up with that name should be shot!) and Costco. BJ’s is a 40 minute drive. Sam’s is as close as Costco. So as much as I hate Walmart (for other reasons), I am going there.

  13. Pinroot says:

    I can’t understand why stores (and other businesses) cater to this 2%-5% of very loud crazies. It doesn’t make any kind of business sense, when you essentially say ‘to hell with the 95% of our customers and what they think’. All it seems to take is one or two people complaining, and the stores just give in to whatever they want. I haven’t been to Costco since the scamdemic, over a year ago, and I haven’t missed them that much. There are a few things I like from them, and I may renew my membership one last time, just to stock up, but maybe not. They’re on the other side of town and that whole area is very congested, and not really worth the trouble most of the time.

    I’m somewhat lucky in that a lot of these companies are places I didn’t do business with before they got woke, so I don’t miss them now. I gave up on soda about 4-5 years ago, now when I dine out, it’s either unsweet tea, or beer (depending on the meal), and seltzer water at home. I was never big into sports, so I didn’t have to give up NFL/MLB and whatever other sports got woke. Same with a lot of other products. I don’t have boycott something I already don’t use. I think a while back I posted a list of companies that had gotten woke, i’ll have to see if there’s an updated list. It’s impossible to give them ALL up, but at least knowing who is woke and who isn’t lets you make an informed decision. At the same time, it would nice to have a list of businesses that you can support, national, regional and local. If most (all?) of them would just keep their politics to themselves, and stick to the business they’re in business for, that would be fine. But no, they have to advertise “A percentage of all of our sales goes to support SJW International” at which point, I decide I don’t want to support SJW International, and they’ve lost a customer. And the number of people who are getting tired of it is growing. We’ll see where it ends.

  14. philjourdan says:

    @Pinroot – Ivy League MBAs. They think social media is the mind of America (back in the 80s when they destroyed the company I was working with, it was idiot professors with tons of book sense and zero common sense – same thing).

    It will take some time before they realize that they are alienating half their customer base. If they have any intelligence. But it will come. The list of boycott companies is increasing. There are ALWAYS alternatives. I have already shifted my pet food buying to Chewy. Not as convenient, but just as cheap when bought in bulk. And with 14 cats, Bulk is not a problem.

    On a side note the feral queen has blessed us again. Anyone up for a kitten in 6weeks? Adorable and they will take to you in days!

  15. DonM says:

    Costco pissed me off for different reasons; but I still go to there and still will.

    I left my car in their lot over night. I met my daughter there and then gave her a ride to her school a few hours away … bought her a (better) used car on the way. The next day I was to meet a friend at Costco to pick up the car, but it was gone. I called the police … to report it stolen & found that it was towed.

    It was parked in a standard space, & this Costco has no signs or limits on parking. There are a row of spaces along the loading dock that could interfere with truck access (I design parking lots on a regular basis, so I made sure I parked in the least obtrusive space).

    Halfway down the loading dock was another car (also parked in a marked space). It had been there for a week, pissing off the loading dock people. They finally called the towing company that had a ‘no parking’ sign at the bank next door. … they had my car taken away just for good measure. The loading dock folks just shrugged … “It was in our way”.

    So, I parked my other car in the MOST obtrusive marked space (wrt to the loading dock) and waited a couple hours at the other end of the store for the manager to show up for opening. In my conversation with the manager, I found that she was not very intelligent or competent … lacking customer service skills and likely hired so they could check a box. The loading dock people radioed her during our conversation and she said she had to go help them out of a different situation; I told her that “there is one only one situation, although it has does have two parts ….”

    Since then, I recognized that their hiring practices went sideways years ago and assumed that whoever is in charge of HR is a piece of the woke. I wonder if the main guy has looked at the pros & cons of things, or if he is just taking (what he sees as) the easy way out of decisions. Maybe the main guy has delegated too much responsibility to recent graduates.

    Anyway, I still go to Costco. And I park in the same space every time (even though I have to walk the length of the store to get to the entrance). And they are still too stupid to get rid of that space. And they are still too stupid to even put up a sign.

  16. DonM says:

    And straws … they now use the worthless paper straws. I ask the food counter guy if they have any real straws & he looks at me like I am clubbing a baby seal. I don’t buy slushies or sugary coffee drinks there anymore.

  17. philjourdan says:

    @DonM – the towing is up to the local Costco management, And the straws list you as CA. Sucks to be there.

  18. Pinroot says:

    @Philjourdan – You’re probably right, and these days, all of these college graduates with degrees in gender studies are going to work for these same companies. It’s infected open source software, and I can’t very well boycott that. I guess I have to pick and choose which stuff to support and which to ignore.

    You have 14 cats? We’ve got seven, and that’s a handful!

  19. Taz says:

    (meh) I still like Costco…just quit going because I refuse to play that membership game. Had always planned to use them again if the money made it right.

    But I now have yet another reason not to go there…and honestly I’ve had zero problems replacing the other companies I boycott.

    Remember “pink slime”? Haven’t returned to McDonald’s since. Once dropped considerable coin there. So yeah, that was quite an annuity they tossed when they cheated.

    It is amazing how few CEO’s really understand what it costs to replace a customer. Cuz they sure keep doing it.

  20. Steven Fraser says:

    @EM: Wife and I stopped going to Costco A few years ago, and I do not miss it at all. I drive so little that I put < 2000 miles on my truck last year, so a nickle/gallon makes no diff to me.

    What I do see coming, as a means to change the political winds… is a Constitutional Convention, to plug some of the procedural holes left by the founders, who expected for people who swore an oath to actually fulfill it. Here is how I see the issues:

    1) Restore the representation of the state legislatures in Congress: repeal the 17th amendment. As it stands, the States have no representation in Congress, to protect their rights and powers.

    2) Define treaties as limited to powers that the Congress has, not powers that it does not have.

    3) Create term limits for Members of the House (10 terms) Senate (3 terms) and Federal Judges (20 years). Raise the Presidential term limit to 3 terms, or repeal the 22nd amendment clause which limits it to 2.

    4) Reinstate the definition of a "Person" to be an individual human being, born and to-be-born, and not an organization.

    5) Restore the rights of Free association and of Peaceful assembly..

    IMO, that would be a good start.

  21. E.M.Smith says:

    @PhilJourdan:

    Per FrankSpeech:

    DDoS or just load crashed the system:

    This website frankspeech.com/ is currently offline. Cloudflare’s Always Online™ shows a snapshot of this web page from the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. To check for the live version, click Refresh.

    “Houston, we have a WINNER!!!” ;-)

    In either case….

  22. E.M.Smith says:

    @Steven Fraser:

    Per #2: I’d like to see an explicit “Treaties are subservient to the Constitution and may not extend above it’s powers nor beyond it’s limits” (however you phrase that in Law Speak…)

    Per #3: Um, too long. 3 terms for House, 1 for Senate… Leave POTUS at 2.

    EXPLICITLY state “ALL Constitutional rights under the Constitution and Amendments are ABSOLUTE and not limited.”

  23. E.M.Smith says:

    @Don M:

    GAK! I remember putting one of those paper things in my mouth on the run to Florida and thinking “WTF? Who transported me back to 1955?”… (I tended to get pizza and gas at Costco along the way on that run. Not anymore…)

  24. Tim says:

    Schools are doing it too (getting all political and stuff), and at least one parent has had enough. Found this on Jo Nova this morning…

    https://bariweiss.substack.com/p/you-have-to-read-this-letter

  25. beththeserf says:

    Sometimes the cost of what seems like saving $ now, can be too much in the hereafter.

  26. H.R. says:

    “And another thing….”

    The kids gave us a membership to Costco. I’ll be keeping my membership because I get hearing aids and glasses there. I went to an independent audiologist for a few years and she was just super; really well versed about my hearing problems. She knew all of her clients and remembered all the particulars of their cases.

    But she set up her practice more than an hour away, and her hearing aids cost 3 – 4 times more than Costco’s aids and they are made by the same companies. Also, when little bits and pieces need repaired or replaced, I can have that done on the spot at any Costco. I have taken advantage of that a couple of times while in Florida.

    And glasses; their glasses are a third of the price of anywhere else, and whatever lab they are using to make the lenses, I have never had better results and have had worse results from other places.
    .
    .
    .
    But what I can’t figure out is why Costco gets a pass from the greenies. Costco has the least eco-friendly packaging I’ve ever seen across sooooo many products.

    I understand the factors driving their non-recyclable packaging and their over-packaging. It’s done because of the bundling, for theft prevention, and protection during the long trip from China.

    A lot of their bundled items are in that deadly dangerous @#&%! blister packaging that requires a chain saw to open. OK. I get it, and I didn’t really need that finger anyway. But you can’t separate the plastic from the paper for recycling, so it has to go to the dump.

    I’d just as soon send everything to the landfill, but our township has a contract for both garbage collection and recycling with one refuse collection company.

    I talked to that company just last year for some reason I can’t recall, and while I had them on the line, I asked about the recycling part of their business. They said they were making money off of the recycling biz. Not a lot of money, but it wasn’t a loser.

    The other thing I asked about was if they took glass, because a lot of the communities in our metro area do not take glass. I hadn’t been throwing glass jars in the bin because I thought no one was taking in glass. Yup. They take glass jars. Throw it in, and don’t worry about the labels. And they have a buyer for the glass. Cool!

    But plastic can’t have paper stuck to it. They can’t deal with that and it gets sorted out for the dump right up front if you do throw it in the recycle bin. And Costco packaging seems to be in that category.

    Costco packaging makes me grumble about the wastefulness of it all.

  27. E.M.Smith says:

    @Beththserf:

    I always liked Thomas Sowell. Clear thinking at its best.

    @Tim:

    That is quite a letter. Also clearly thought and to the point. Teaching racism is NOT the way to have it die out.

    @H.R.:

    Hearing aides and glasses are the reason I was walking the store (and not finding anything to buy) not that long ago. Spousal maintenance ;-) So we will be keeping our membership too, just not using it for anything else much.

    Like I said, this wasn’t a “burn the card in the street BOYCOTT!!!”, but just a drifting away from that uncomfortable feeling…

    Per Packaging & Recycle:

    Yeah, I’m not keen on buying a 2 oz. object with 1/2 pound of packaging either… We even bought a special tool (like very short beak sturdy nippers) for cutting whatever that stuff is that they package things into. But that isn’t just Costco. Seems a plague in many stores now.

    What saddens me, though, is that companies claim all sorts of things can not be “recycled” when in fact they are easily recycled. IFF you let go of the notion that the material must stay THE SAME material. Just about any plastic, paper, cardboard, motor oil, etc. etc. Stuff With Carbon, can be chucked into a gassifier and turned into “producer gas” or “synthesis gas” or even “water gas”. They are all variations on theme, but very useful industrial gasses. Just various ratios of CO, CO2, and H2 depending on your goal. There was a time the nation made such gas all over the place. The stereotypical image of trying to suicide by putting head in oven come from that era and CO gas.

    There’s even some places doing it and you can buy industrial equipment to do it with trash. I’ve posted links to it before.

    So that “plastic / paper” thing doesn’t need to go to landfill, it can be turned into fuel gas to power their operation, or turned into “synthesis gas” and back into new plastic. Landfill is a choice not a requirement. But sadly, far too few people in recycling paid any attention in chemistry class, or took one at all.

    One example making fuel gas: https://sierraenergy.com/
    Another DIY car: https://www.treehugger.com/diy-trash-powered-gasification-car-video-4857088

    Unfortunately, the EPA et. al. classify gasification as incineration when it isn’t. The final USE as FUEL is incineration, but you can just as easily set up the facility to turn the gas into feedstock for plastic making.

    https://www.globalsyngas.org/syngas-production/waste-to-energy-gasification/
    MSW is Municipal Solid Waste:

    Gasification converts MSW to a usable synthesis gas, or syngas. It is the production of this syngas which makes gasification so different from incineration. In the gasification process, the MSW is not a fuel, but a feedstock for a high temperature chemical conversion process. Instead of producing just heat and electricity, as is done in a waste-to-energy plant using incineration, the syngas produced by gasification can be turned into higher value commercial products such as transportation fuels, chemicals, fertilizers, and even substitute natural gas. Incineration cannot achieve this.

    Oh Well… Eventually folks will figure it out… Or not…

    Maybe you could slide one of those pages under your recycle company guy’s nose…

  28. Jim Masterson says:

    @Steven Fraser:

    The trouble with a Constitutional Convention is that everything is on the table, including removing the 2nd Amendment. I’m not sure why removing the “Corporations are persons” concept would be a good thing. I’d like the commerce clause removed or explicitly limited. I agree that the 16th and 17th amendments should be repealed, and that treaties don’t trump the Constitution. The Federal Reserve should go bye-bye. If Congress met once every thirty or forty years, it would be a great improvement–and they would have five seconds to get their stupid business done.

    Jim

  29. Jim Masterson says:

    I like this quote supposedly from John Adams:
    “In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.”

    Jim

  30. p.g.sharrow says:

    The one thing that must be addressed in a Constitutional Convention is a means and manner to enforce it. The Constitution was written to be followed by Honorable Men,which a lot of politicians are not. The Supreme Court was an after thought cobbled together by Congress that had no teeth and was politically selected. Without an Constitutional Court with teeth that can prevent enforcement of unconstitutional activities we are still at risk of rogue from agencies such as the CIA from taking power through compromised politicians and judges. ..pg

  31. cdquarles says:

    Reminder, at least until it is changed, a convention called by the states is not necessarily anything goes; for said states do have to agree on process and what amendments they propose and pass. Then the States have to ratify those just like those proposed by Congress.

  32. DonM says:

    Phil, I think the paper straw is nationwide … I am in Oregon.

    As per the towing, they can’t do it here unless they have appropriate signs. (My towing cost was waived/paid by Costco; I would have made them bring the car back, but I thought about potential damage from the tow guy.)

  33. philjourdan says:

    @pinroot – re: cats.

    Got a feral mother that knows how to open cat doors! So 6 of them are from her (2 got away). As soon as she brings the next litter (Born Tax day) I will attempt another kidnaping! We are being overrun!

  34. Pinroot says:

    @philjourdan – Cats are a lot smarter than people realize. We’ve had all of ours spayed and neutered, so as long as my wife doesn’t see any that she feels need rescuing, hopefully we’ll stay at seven for a while.

  35. DonM says:

    Pinroot,

    I had a cat that would watch and learn. It recognized handles, knobs, & latches for their purposes as soon it saw some use one.

    It would jump up on the railing near the front door and try to turn the door knob … we would hear it and open the door form him. Twice, somehow, he got it open (two strong paws and a controlled ‘fall’ off the railing); the door just opened and the cat walked in while I was watching Saturday morning cartoons.

    The other cat we had, and most of the other cats in the neighborhood deferred to him even he wasn’t the strongest or biggest. He would sneak other cats in on occasion to share food with them (he had dry food in a bowl all the time); he would stand next to them and watch them eat while our other cat would act as lookout.

    I’ve also had other cats that were too stupid to clean their own butts. Some are smart, some are stupid … kinda like people.

  36. Pinroot says:

    @DonM – We have a couple that understand a few words. When they’re in my lap, I can say “I need to get up” and one of them will make an annoyed sound, but get up and let me up, her sister, she just moves, no complaints. If they’re doing something they’re not supposed to, you can say “No!” and one will stop, her sister will just look at you like “You’re not the boss of me!” and keep doing whatever. Overall, all of ours are smart to some degree or other, so I guess we’re lucky :)

  37. philjourdan says:

    @Pinroot – that is my problem. My wife has never seen a cat she does not thinks needs rescuing! We were in the ER for an elder cat one day when a couple came in with a kitten that had torn its sutures open after the neutering. They told the receptionist that if they could not fix it to put it to sleep!

    After they went and sat down, my wife went to the receptionist and told her if they did not want the kitten, she would take it in!!!

    Another occasion, she went to the SPCA to get a young male. While there, a woman came in with a young female. She wanted to return it. They said they would have to charge her for the returns, and the woman got indignant! Said she would just toss the kitten to the curb!

    yes, my wife brought it home,

    Another occasion, She was visiting her friend in Texas. Her Friend’s father came to visit her from Oklahoma. With a 4 week old kitten. Did she leave that kitten with her friend in Texas?

    I knew you could say she did not!

    Last example. I was helping my sister haul some trees to the dump 7 years ago. As there were many trees, we were doing it over several weekends, On Memorial day weekend, when I came over to help, she surprised me with a “gift”. A co-worker had a cat that had a litter with 3 white cats. Knowing that my wife loved white cats, ,my sister offered me “1 or 2”. So I texted my wife with pictures of them and told her to pick ONE.

    While my sister and I were hauling pine tree limbs to the dump, my wife was rapidly racing to my sister’s house (we live about 40 miles apart). But as she had only been there when I drove, she was unsure of where she was. SO called me when my sister and I were headed to the dump with full loads. Based upon what she said, I told her she was about 5 miles from the house and to continue on her course.

    My sister and I dumped our loads and headed back to her house, When we got there, my wife was there cuddling 3 white kittens. Before I could say a word, my sister said “you can have one or 2”. Of course she picked 2!!!!

    I can go on, But do you really want me to? That is why we have 14 cats (and 3 outside).

  38. philjourdan says:

    @DonM – you know that cat that my wife went to pick up and got the “toss to the curb” one>

    He opens doors too! He has opposable thumbs! But he only uses his super power for good,. :-)

  39. DonM says:

    Had one that would fetch; after 15 or 20 times he would get tired of it and drop the ball in my shoe rather than bring it back. Same cat would leave the mice on the front door mat, always without the head. He hated Blue Jays and liked to kill them; never killed other birds though … one time he got jealous of the parakeet, used the top of his head to push the bird away from the seed and started eating the seed himself.

    If they weren’t ‘smart’, with recognizable traits, we wouldn’t have ’em.

  40. Steve C says:

    In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods. They have not forgotten this.
    – Terry Pratchett

  41. Pinroot says:

    We had one who was pretty sly (which I guess is a sign of intelligence). He was an old rescue named Rufus who had several health issues, so we were over protective of him. He would go into our neighbor’s yard from time to time, and we preferred he stay at home. There was a row of shrubbery between the neighbor and us, but you could see through it enough to tell when Rufus was over there. I would call him, and he would run along the line of shrubs (not realizing that we could see him), until he got past them, then he would turn left and cut over to our property. The driveway ran along the property line, so he would go behind the cars, then come out on the other side, walking slowly towards the house, acting like he had been laying in the driveway behind the cars the entire time. I laughed at him every time he did it, and we always played along, letting him think he had fooled us. I miss that guy.

  42. E.M.Smith says:

    We had a cat named “Magic”. He got that name as he could always find a way to “disappear” from the house and get outside. One day I caught him ooozing his way between a window screen and the frame as it could be pushed out about 2 inches… (no box could hold him).

    Eventually after a many years he disappeared. Outdoor cat and all. We figured Car, or Dog, or worse. Finally, after about 5? years we got rid of the “Cat Stuff”. And about 3 years later got a call from the Shelter. Chip read, cat found.

    At that time he was about 19? years old and had somehow crossed a freeway and (we suspect) could not figure out how to get back. Very old cat that had lived rough a good while with kidney issues (shrunken) and “worse for wear”. OTOH a LOT of kittens around look a lot like him, so there’s that… Made it about 4 months further, back at home where he grew up as a kitten and surrounded by those who loved him.

    No box nor house could hold him, but he’d be very thankful should you put out some wet cat food and preferably the “Good Stuff”… He was “captured” by a lady who put out some wet food in a crate and was quick on the gate… or we would never have got him home again.

    He was remarkably happy at being “back home” and pampered in his end of days…

  43. philjourdan says:

    @EMS – cats prefer to die in isolation It is a supreme acknowledgement when one comes home to die. I have had several do so. I acknowledge their love. As a pet owner, there is no greater demonstration of love.

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