Costco Woes

Every so often, my wife and I get in the car and head off to our nearest Costco so that she can stock up on food for what I can only guess must be our fat imaginary houseguests, while I have the pleasure of trying to guide our oversized cart through crowds of fellow shoppers who seem intent on doing their utmost to get in my way. They stop and chat side by side in aisles, they bump their trolleys into my arse, and they seem to cut me off and block my way at every available opportunity.

My cursing and muttering only ceases when I’m lining up to get the free samples they hand out. That’s my only pleasure in Costco – lining up and then lining up again and seeing how many times I can snaffle something before being recognized as a serial sample taker. Well, that and the knowledge that my reward for all the mounting trolley-rage will be a fantastically cheap and unhealthy lunch in the food court.

I am pretty sure that I consume more calories in a lunch at Costco than I usually do in any single week. The hotdogs are big and greasy and only ¥200. They come with a free drink and unlimited refills from the soda dispensers. Pizza slices, chicken bakes, and bulgogi bakes are all similarly well-priced and, I would imagine, similarly heart-unfriendly. Nevertheless, it’s not often we get the chance to so indulge, and my greedy eyes always find me thinking, “Why not just get one of everything?” Such was the case the other day, where after an especially trying time of attempting to guide my cart past people with no apparent sense of spacial awareness, I sought to calm myself with an over-indulgence in comfort food.

As I went to purchase the artery-thickening fare, my wife found us a spot at a table next to a thin Japanese man. He was sitting enjoying nothing more than a hot coffee. I smiled at him as I placed our haul of gluttony down and hoped he wouldn’t think, “Yappari, you greedy fat fucker.” It’s probably what I’d have thought, with my mood already having been maddened enough to snap and complain about the slightest little annoyance.

But he just gave me a little head bow and carried on with his coffee. And then I managed to knock my entire Coke all over him, his phone and his man-bag. I swore as if it somehow hadn’t been my fault but when I saw the state of the poor fellow I began apologizing profusely albeit rather uselessly as he stood up and began wiping off his sodden accessories. My wife ran off to get some tissues and we tried to mop up the sticky flood. I apologized again and again, but the man simply shrugged it off and said it was no problem. He was far more understanding than I would have been. He didn’t even raise his voice, never mind his fists. But then again, I didn’t expect him too. People rarely do here. Situations in which I would expect at least a volley of abuse elsewhere often pass without much expressed rebuke. Or perhaps the man just pitied me because I made quite a pathetic sight, leaning across the table in a busy food court and dabbing gently and submissively at the obviously wet crotch of a Japanese chap.

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6 Responses to Costco Woes

  1. LylesBrother says:

    I too have had similar experiences here in Japan. Events which should have landed me in jail, hospital or deported end in polite bows and apologies. A very interesting blog post! Thank you for sharing with us. ~Kurt 🙂

  2. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Ouch, sorry you had that experience.

    For what it’s worth, I once did something like that, except it was ketchup, it was on myself and it was on an important date. Thankfully she still married me years later. Amazingly I then did the same thing in the same restaurant five years later too. A curse of some kind?

  3. Mattn says:

    You are a scary gaijin though. Do you reckon your wife would’ve got the same reaction if she had been there by herself and spilled coke all over the guy? Alot of Japanese people seem naturally sedate in these situations, but I’ve seen some guys suddenly grow some balls when it comes to putting a woman in her place.

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