LA HABRA, CA – Any given Saturday, Costco can feel like a circus with bodies pushing over each other, racing to fill their shopping carts with oversized, under-priced consumer staples. Like a 5 gallon jug of mayonnaise for the same price per ounce as you’d pay for a 9 gallon jug anywhere else. Anywhere else that sells mayonnaise by the gallon, that is.
This Summer, select Costcos will become a circus. Starting today, Costco Customer Appreciation Summer Circus events will be popping up to show customers just how much Costco appreciates being the place people choose to shop for sacks of dry red beans, 100lbs at a time. “We’re up against Amazon who’s just offering more,” says Costco CEO W. Craig Jelenik as we tour one of the 10 Orange County Costcos test-running the Costco Circus program. “When people want 96 rolls of toilet paper, they know they have options. If they go to Amazon, they can buy toilet paper and watch a movie.” He ducks to allow a trapeze artist some space to work. “If they come to Costco for their toilet paper, they can watch a bear riding a unicycle. In real life!” And just like that, a bear rides by us on a unicycle. “See what I mean? Doesn’t that make you wanna grab a single package of 14 tubes of toothpaste or an HVAC system for your house or maybe both? You know you can buy both of those things here, right? In case you’re ever in the need for toothpaste, and a complete central air system overhaul, at the same time. We offer both of those products here, under the same roof, for some reason. Just bags of pre-mixed salads, adult diapers by the pallet, and garage shelving. All under one roof – where you can also get your eyes examined. So why not throw in a circus?”
And with that explanation, any why questions get replaced with how questions and we just move on. “Other than the, um, issue during yesterday’s dry run,” he said, referring to the lion attack on the elderly woman handing out microwaveable pot-sticker samples, “we’ve been having a great time.”
So come on down to select Costcos on Saturdays this summer. You can get a 48 count box of Squirt soda, have your tires rotated and watch a clown on 20 foot stilts navigate his way through the random stacks of books all under one roof. “We’ll always find unique and interesting ways to shove more shit and people into our stores,” Mr. Jelenik says with a smile.