Friday, November 27, 2009

Bigger Boxes

I went to the new Costco on Tuesday evening. There seemed to be hundreds if not thousands of people there. The store wasn’t open for business. Instead it was a community celebration where Costco was feeding the masses plates of food rather than the usual something or other skewered on a tooth pick. Of course I did not partake.

My first impression was of the lights on the ceiling. The photo above is of a found photo, not the Costco in Warrenton, but it left me with the same impression. It reminded me of the lights inside the foundry of my home town. I got somewhat a maudlin feeling when I realized that the fathers of my generation worked in foundries under lights like that where they produced steel and machinery that was not only used for the US infrastructure but for export. However, now the fathers of the new generation work under these lights in a big box store selling stuff that was made in Korea.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a member of Costco, and I realize what this store has done for the local economy, be it all the temporary construction jobs, or the permanent positions with fair wages and benefits. I know of their philanthropy with local charities. Costco is a vital part of our present economy here on the coast. They are now probably well within the top ten employers in the county. They pay employees that probably spend money in a business that supports your family.

I used to rant on this blog about my anti development sentiments. I even did so recently deeming Warrenton as Whorenton for encouraging these sorts of big businesses to come to town, but as Bill Clinton learned early in his presidential tenure, “It’s the Economy, Stupid.” Costco is making a difference in the local economy and if our economy doesn’t grow it probably we probably won’t thrive as a population.

I’ve seen this in nature as well. Take a bee colony for instance. If there aren’t enough bees in the hive the colony will die. If there isn’t enough nectar the bees will starve. If things are good where there are a lot of bees and a lot of nectar the colony will divide, grow and become productive in other ways.

Ideally I’d love to live somewhere where there are no buildings other than barns that have a foot print of no more than 3000 square feet. I’d love to live where people turn their lights off when they go to sleep at night. Sadly a place with those desirable things probably couldn’t support me economically. Those are places where you are born into an industry. You don’t just go there and start working.

I suppose that I benefit by living here and I’ll have to accept the grotesque consumerism and all the future landfill I see occupying the shelves of the new Costco. People want what they want regardless of my opinion of what is ideal.


Blogger Beth said...

Last night at dinner we were just noting that one could go from home to work to Walmart to home to work to Walmart...and never lack for any of the necessities of life - unless you count fresh air, a glimpse of nature and actually having a life.

6:49 AM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

It's funny, now that you mention it. The things needed to happen to make this an ideal society would put me smooth out of a job. I guess as long as I don't get eliminated in the pogrom, I'm okay with that.

6:51 AM  
Blogger mark said...

Not a big costco fan myself, but you're right -- it's part of the fabric of this community and turning back the calendar ain't gonna happen. The anti-everything crowd wants us to live in a Thomas Kincaid picture, or at least the same neighborhood as Ozzie and Harriet. NIMBYs have a role to play in all this, but when the heat and smoke drift away, we're all consumers of Kirkwood products, Kroger branded stuff, and natural gas in one form or another.

8:46 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Beth, I am always amazed by how Walmart has these loyal, fanatical shoppers. There are plans to build one here, which I will never visit.

Darev, there is crime everywhere. You just get to deal with those that were stupid enough to get caught. So rest assured, there will always be stupid people in your future.

Mark, you are right, resistance is futile. We have all been assimilated. Welcome to the Borg nation. But you know, after the initial shock of a new development, we get used to the idea pretty quickly. It's all OK until we look back and remember the good old days.

6:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was offered a free one year costco membership. With just my husband and I, I couldn't see any reason for partaking in Costco's uber consumerism. We go through one small jar of mayo a year if that, I can't imagine buying Costco's gallon size of any condiment. There are a few non perishables I would buy, but don't need, so why?


8:10 AM  
Blogger Guy said...

For me it's a better price on gasoline, vitamins, laundry soap and socks.

9:17 AM  

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