Tag Archives: costco

VP of electronics departments

One of my friends from back home, this guy Nick, he spent the majority of his time goofing off, playing video games, smoking a lot of pot. He managed to get through high school, but he only lasted a semester at college before landing back in his parents’ house with no money, no prospects. He did clean his act up though, he cut back on the drugs and video games, he went down to Costco to apply for a job.


He was naturally a very nice person, and when he took the time to clean up, spending just a couple of extra minutes making sure to shave and present himself as a serious job-seeker, he had no trouble in hitting it off with the hiring manager at Costco. Nick was upfront about his previous lack of job experience, and the hiring manager saw a lot of himself at Nick’s age, and so he gave him a chance.

“We’re going to start you off at inventory,” they told Nick. But on his first day, the guy in charge of handing out the Costco uniforms couldn’t find a red vest. “I only have blue vests,” he handed one to Nick, and it being his first day, he had no idea the difference between blue and red vests, so he just took one and put it on.

Apparently it was a big deal though, because blue vests were reserved for floor managers and heads of individual departments. Nick put on his blue vest and, because he got there super early for his first day, decided to take a walk down the electronics aisle and check out the TVs and sound systems before he had to show up for his first assignment toward the back of the warehouse.

While he was looking at the latest in ultra-HD TVs and wireless speakers, some dude approached Nick and, mistaking him for an electronics salesperson, started quizzing him about product specifications. Lacking the self-awareness to realize how his situation could have been misrepresented, Nick freely answered all of the guy’s questions. None of his answers were based on any facts or research, rather, Nick started running his mouth about random stuff he’d read on tech blogs he’d occasionally read online.

The customer didn’t know anything about technology, and so not only did he not see through the bullshit in Nick’s answers, he actually walked away pretty impressed. Which was a huge stroke of good luck, because the customer turned out not to be a customer at all. He was some VP at Costco HQ who happened to be in the area for one of those regional meetings. He hadn’t intended to do any secret shopping, but he stopped by the store for one of those really cheap hotdog and churro combinations that Costco is so famous for and, while he digested his lunch, he found himself wandering through the store. That’s where he ran into Nick.

Unfortunately for Nick, his conversation in electronics with the unintentionally undercover VP took longer than expected and, as a result, he was late for his first shift at the back of the warehouse. When he did show up, something like ten or fifteen minutes late, the shift supervisor was furious. “And what are you doing wearing that blue vest?” he demanded. “You think this is a joke? Give me your vest and get out of here!”
Nick had no idea how things had turned out so wrong. Dejected, he took off his vest and tried to hurry through the parking lot, hoping to make it to his car before any unexpected emotional dams broke, causing a potentially public display of waterworks not really appropriate for a grown man in his late twenties who just got fired on his first day of work. Before he made it to his car though, the VP called out to him in the parking lot.

“Nick!” the VP said.

Nick turned around and saw the guy from the electronics aisle.

“Yeah?” Nick said.

“Where are you going?”

“How’d you know my name?”

“From inside. Your nametag?”

“Oh yeah, right.”

“Listen, Nick, I’m actually VP of operations for the region here at Costco, and I’ve got to tell you, I was really impressed with your handle on the electronics department back there. You ever think about going for a job in corporate?”

And Nick didn’t know what to say. None of this was really making sense. And he was still feeling the rush of very conflicting emotions bombarding his thoughts. The best he managed to get out was a, “Well, I don’t know … uh.”

The VP took out his card and said, “Listen, why don’t you stop by regional HQ tomorrow. I’d love to introduce you to the rest of the team.”

And seeing as how Nick just lost his job, he thought, what the hell? He might as well give it a shot. He showed up the next day and met with a whole bunch of VPs. He really didn’t know anything about business, nothing about profits or revenues or supplies and demands. He just showed up and started talking about the new Roku 3 and solid state hard drives, random topics that he’d remembered seeing headlines about on all of his favorite web sites.

The VPs ate it all up. They didn’t know anything about electronics either, but they weren’t at all familiar with the popular Internet sites, and so Nick’s ceaseless stream of trending technology talk filled the whole conference room with the fresh energy and buzz that only a youthful outsider could bring to the table. He was hired on the spot.

And the work was easy enough. The suppliers didn’t really need any input from a VP. They all knew which products were moving well, and merchandise like giant TVs and external hard drives basically sells itself. And so Nick found himself with a cushy office job, a fat paycheck, but a lot of time to kill during the day.

And so one day he was feeling particularly restless, he decided to check in on his old store, the place where he was almost gainfully employed for an entire day. He went to the food court, bought his hot dog and churro, and then took a walk past the electronics department. He looked at all of the TVs and speakers and, as he rounded a corner, he ran right into his old boss, the guy who fired him for slacking off and wearing the wrong vest. He was helping a customer, answering questions about square inches and dpi, all of this weird technology lingo that Nick was surprised he even knew. Maybe the job was starting to rub off on him. Maybe he knew more about electronics than he thought.

For a moment, he was consumed by the idea of flaunting his rank, by butting into the conversation and embarrassing this guy that had once cost him his job. But that wouldn’t have been the right thing to do. And besides, if he got this guy in trouble, what if he eventually got fired? What if he one day stumbled upon his own promotion, and wound up in a position even higher than Nick’s?

No, he decided to take the high road, to walk away. But not before standing there a little too long, making a weird extended eye contact with the man wearing that blue vest. Nick thought, does he remember me? Did I make enough of a dent in his consciousness that day so that he now recognizes my face? Would he be surprised that I’m now technically his boss? Nick decided to walk away before the urge to get involved came back. He thought, maybe I’ll get another hot dog, and one of those giant sodas. And he turned around and walked away.

This new memory foam pillow has changed my life

I’m feeling so relaxed. My whole body is just so comfortable. And it’s all thanks to this new pillow I bought at Costco. It’s made out of space-age memory foam. I’m not even joking around, it feels as if sometime over the course of the past month or so, it’s like I’ve had a spine transplant or something, and while the positive effects weren’t necessarily noticeable right away, I’m looking back now and I can’t even imagine how I ever managed to fall asleep without my awesome new pillow.


It’s the best twenty-five dollars I’ve ever spent in my life. My success story should have begun sometime last September, and in an alternate reality somewhere, I can only hope that people might have already read this months ago. Because it was on a trip to Costco last fall where I first saw memory foam pillows available for sale.

“I’m totally getting that pillow!” I said out loud when I saw the display right past the entrance. That was my first mistake, saying it out loud. If I could go back in time and do it over, I wouldn’t have said anything. I would have just made a mental note, Rob, come back later and buy that pillow. But I didn’t. I announced my intentions to the world, to my wife.

“What?” she shot back right away. I don’t even think she was looking at the pillows, or had any idea what I was talking about. But it was the way that I said it. I came off too strong, right out of the gate, like I wanted it too badly. Her natural response was to add a measured dose of reality to what sounded like nothing more than a soon-to-be impulse purchase.

And I can’t even blame her. Being married is all about existing in a perpetual state of negotiation. If one party notices the other party getting a little over excited about an in-the-moment decision in which the first party wasn’t even considered, it’s unlikely that both parties are going to be able to come to an agreement, not without that second party offering some pretty steep concessions.

“We don’t need new pillows,” was my wife’s yin to my bulk-store yang, “And twenty-five dollars? Come on.” She didn’t know what she was talking about. I would have gladly paid thirty, forty dollars for a memory foam pillow. In fact, I thought that I was being reasonable in only going for the pillow. If I made all of my own life decisions, I’d be sleeping on a California king-sized memory foam mattress. I know they’re expensive, yes, but I’d gladly take on as much debt as it would cost to be able to stretch out my whole body, my limbs extending as far as they could reach in every direction, unable to feel anything but the gentle yet firm cradle of futuristic memory foam.

But I’ve yet to even begin to formulate a successful strategy on convincing my wife to upgrade to an awesome bed. Even though we spend so much of our lives sleeping. Even though I’m six foot four and I really could use something a little more accommodating than the used Queen size spring mattress that we inherited from my aunt.

Like I said though, marriage is all about haggling, and my enthusiasm at seeing that pillow signaled to my wife that it was worth more in personal relationship points than the twenty-five dollar advertised price. When she said no, I ignored her and put the pillow in the shopping cart anyway. And then every time I went to put something else in, the most routine of purchases turned into, “Really? You’re going to get that pillow and the yogurt? What are we made of money?”

And so finally, I found myself in the position of being allowed to buy just the pillow, or the yogurt, the socks, the underwear, the chocolate covered almonds, the double-A batteries, and the reggiano cheese. We could have stood there forever, I could have argued that it was ridiculous to equate all of those things that I would have purchased anyway to a twenty-five dollar pillow, but even at this point I could see that it was pointless, my wife had drawn a line in the sand that I for some reason couldn’t figure out how to cross.

And after half an hour or so of arguing why a pack of ballpoint pens wasn’t going to throw us into financial ruin, I started to see the potential upsides of giving in somewhat, allowing her to veto my pillow so that I could get all of this other stuff argument for free. Besides, if it wasn’t the pillow, it would have been something else. No trip to Costco can really be considered complete without denying your significant other from purchasing something, anything really. What’s important is that you said no, and the other person listened. In this particular shopping trip, this meant no pillow for me, and I guess no Swiffer wet-jet for my wife. Because two can play the veto game, and what good is having the power if you don’t exercise it every single time?

And so I continued to exist for another several months, if you want to call it existence, even though it really wasn’t much of anything besides rolling around listless every night, unable to fully reach the deep sleep I needed to recharge for my waking day. Winter came and went, and by the time we stopped in to Costco next, I had almost forgotten about the memory pillow. Luckily, the display was still there, in the same exact spot, and I knew that this time, I’d get my pillow.

Sure, I had to give up a lot for that pillow, all sorts of breakfast cereals and bulk coffee. But I remained steadfast in my goal, to go home with that pillow. I even tried to argue for two pillows, because I just knew that as soon as my wife saw how refreshed I was after each night’s sleep, she’d start to commandeer my futuristic neck support. Little by little, she’d start getting closer to my side of the bed every night until I had no choice but hand it over and wait for another Costco trip to buy a spare. And there’s no guarantee that it would be a simple purchase. I can just see it now, “What do we need two for? We’re fine sharing just one.”

But it’s seriously the best pillow I’ve ever laid my head on in my entire life. It’s got these blue bubbles on one side that provide a textured surface for when your head first hits the surface. And after you’ve laid your entire weight down, the edges shift up to provide total support from every angle. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my life.

Someday I’ll have that memory foam bed. I have no idea what kind of bartering it’s going to cost me, but the day will come where my whole body gets to experience the comfort that’s now reserved exclusively for my neck and head. To anybody that goes to Costco, if you’ve been eyeing that pillow and thinking to yourself, “Nah, maybe next time,” I urge you. Buy it. Buy two or three. Go by yourself, don’t tell anybody. Don’t even announce the new pillows. Just slip them in your regular pillowcases and watch your loved ones transform overnight thanks to a dramatically improved sleeping experience. They might think it silly at first, but in no time they’ll all be thanking you.