I love Costco. Let me back up here. I hate shopping. I mean really hate shopping. After 15 minutes I get twitchy. Mildly anxious. I don’t know call it what you want some kind of somatic reaction.

Which is not to say I love shopping at Costco but that I trust them. There was a business assessment article on them that confirmed previous information and my gut feelings from shopping there for years.

They apply and live by ethical standards.

You do know, the retail industry has spent mucho dineros to study and create every aspect of the shopping experience so it, and here I am truly not making this up; increases our alpha/brain wave state because that leaves us more “suggestible”. Manipulateable. Everything they do is designed to separate us from more of our money than we might have planned, than might be in our best interest. The layouts, the pricing, the placements, the color combinations, the color combinations on which shelf, the background noises, the use of oxygen pumped into the air systems, etc., etc., etc. Seriously.

Back to Costco, here’s what I see; their hours are 10-6 which has to take it easy on the help, so they are not all worked to death. Close the store and let them re-stock. They actually put employee needs at the front of the list of considerations and importance!! This is confirmed by high retention stats-94%-the average team-member has worked there 18+ years. Average pay-$22 an hour.  When the last big recession hit-you remember; layoffs all over, Wall Street foreclosed on 3 million+ homes- Costco did not lay anyone off. In fact, they handed out raises.

“Costco employees are given greater responsibilities too, which makes them a happy and highly motivated workforce. ‘They are constantly innovating, constantly improving, and that’s why Costco can pay them a lot,’ says Ton.”

The vast majority of their promotions come from within.

They do not carry huge numbers of goods-only 3,700 products compared with 140,000 at a Walmart superstore (think high alpha/suggestible waves, corresponding low beta/theta) and half a billion at Amazon. Which I love-plus they don’t have 14 different kinds of the same product which to me is the best part, because it seems to me they work hard to find the best product within the moderate price range. Value.

True Story – I have known numerous people who joined the Peace Corps over the years and they all report the same thing; that they are given more training for when they re-enter this country than they got when they went to the new country/culture in the first place. The (condensed) reason; the overwhelm of all the products in the stores!! I Am Not Kidding!! People report actually breaking down and crying while standing in a grocery store!!?

Costco’s mark-up averages out to 11%! There highest is 14-15%. You don’t want to know the mark-ups we’re paying elsewhere. Their profits run 2% which Wall Street is angry with them about! (it is publicly traded).  You understand; Wall Street is mad they are not charging us more!! 

They take returns almost religiously, no questions asked.

They have virtually NO PR Dept.!? They simply let their walk be their talk. If a journalist wants an interview they call the person and often that executive answers their own phone!! Including from their basic employees. If an employee has a complaint (or suggestion) they can call anyone on up to the CEO.

They work hard to take care of their people, they work hard to take care of their customers (great, reasonable products, service, etc.) and they make a real profit doing it.

What’s all that got to do with the price of tea in China?

It’s a model, a model we can apply over and over. This is the sort of visionary business approach we can apply to anything.

But first we have to want to. It would be in our best interests to get pro-active in these realms.
I’ve never been a fan of the use of the word evolution applied to spiritual matters, like you see on bumper stickers and the like, in hippy burgs like Carrboro.

Oh Evolve! Popular perception aside we don’t just “evolve” things better.  We consciously work at it.

As stated in TIL; “Evolution doesn’t “plan” to improve an organism’s fitness to survive; it is simply a goalless process where random mutations can aid, hinder or have no effect on an organism’s ability to survive and reproduce (en.wikipedia.org)”

Evolution is random and unconscious and is not behind our oh-so-broken system. That has all been “designed” by forces, some beyond our control. So the word I like is advance. Conscious Advancement!

That’s the stage of development we are at now.

Even with conscious pro-active application to our improvement you find it goes slow and not as planned.

More will be revealed.

That’s why I look at what I see in front of me-like a store that seems to work well/right/ethically and successfully-then think of how to apply that to our addiction issues. How about we just give people “good service” which a friend suggested about another recovery leader who had a major restaurant management background: Bring the service component of all that food service experience into the treatment/recovery supports arena. What a concept!! A detox concierge!! Again, I’m not kidding. It’ll make people feel good at the moment their feeling low!! Immeasurable worth to that.

It is a theme of mine, actually a couple of themes in my life: when we truly look/accept reality it begins/kicks off the process of change, so why not, as a society, get to it and get honest. And B)

There’s tons of solutions. Once we wade through the darkness we can work our way toward numerous solutions.

In fact, it makes me want to make a list of problems and next to that a list of the solutions, some of which are remarkable.

For example, we are told/sold the idea/sub-consciously tend-to-think there is a “shortage” of money for said problems.

Let me ask you, have you ever lost a gift card and then wondered how many have been misplaced and un-used?

TIL – “Since 2008, more than 44 BILLION dollars has been spent on gift cards that were then never used. (nypost.com)”

This is an accurate statistic. $44,000,000,000, lost in the garbage or an old suit in the back of the closet or the back of a drawer. There is no shortage of money.

WE have the money to get ourselves back to the Garden.

I’m covering a lot of ground, as my mind is wont to do so thanks for reading my ramblings and I am going to wrap it up here with a movie recommendation, a golden not-so-oldie, Quiz Show.

Superbly filmed/Directed/Produced by Robert Redford in 1994, this historical drama is based on a true story, pertinent to this day, maybe more pertinent. With a stellar cast, from a book by Richard Goodwin, speechwriter to JFK and husband of Doris Kearns, respected historian whose Abe Lincoln tome ‘Team of Rivals’ was the source for Spielberg’s movie, ‘Lincoln’. Check it out, and…

Keep shopping smart out there,