i will admit that riding a bicycle to costco sounds at best ill-advised, at worst, just plain stupid. hourly zipcars litter every new condo complex in this land of newly built towers and car service van drivers loiter the exit doors of the warehouse behemoth like spiders ready to snare the vehicle-less brooklynites into their web of convenience.
but i was only making the visit for one item. one measly item! a bike would do for one item, i told myself. to this, you shake your head again and think me ridiculous to make the 8 mile bike ride with a shopping list that contained only one item. but when 50 tablets of that item cost $25 at rite-aid and 180 of them cost $11 at costco, i think you know where the starving artist is heading.
the simple problem with costco is that it's impossible not be be bombarded with things you suddenly NEED to buy, even when you're wearing imaginary blinders against this likely pitfall. the dirt cheap allergy medicine for jade was a no-brainer, and no problem. same with the two and a half pound bag of coffee. i had a canvas bag.
but then IT caught my eye. the necessary and completely stupid thing i told myself, rather, screamed at myself that i HAD to have. it was a plastic filing bin for $7.69. only hours earlier i had contemplated making the ride to staples to pick up this very thing that i actually did need for more than double the price. i had vetoed this earlier trip for the ridiculous reason that i had only just heard the night before of staples co-founder, Tom Stemberg, campaigning for Mitt Romney. now i realize this is a ridiculous trap. i understand that the chances that the owner of costco isn't some evil denizen of the underworld are slim. but having those words fresh in my mind, i could not, with a stable stomach, walk through the automatic doors into the super-chilled aisles of staples that day. plus, how would i get the plastic bin home on my bike?
of course, that last quandary still held true at costco, only worse, considering staples sits half a mile from my apartment, and costco, 8 times as far. but did that stop me? no! i was in the COSTCO BRAIN. must have! such a deal!
so i stood at customer service for 25 minutes while 8 different supervisors searched for string, or rather, opened and slammed the same drawer, shaking their head with incredulity and glaring at my bike helmet. The ninth finally found it (naturally, a costco sized box of it) sitting on the floor beside all of their feet.
so i set to work tying knots like i was the boss.
as i pedaled home over the pulaski bridge, hands forced down to the full speed racer posture, my precious plastic booty forcing my actual booty to barely balance on the front tip of my seat, other riders laughed at me. i felt ridiculous and a little tough at the same time.
then i remembered the men and women i witnessed DAILY in shanghai, hauling loads like this one i saw outside of a fish market--meaning, some of those boxes have ice in them. and fish aren't too light either: