Saturday, February 7, 2009


I was standing in line at my neighborhood Costco, wheeling along a flatbed filled with my weekly purchases of toilet paper, prunes and garden hoses, when I came to a shocking realization: I almost forgot to visit the Costco restroom.

Going into the Costco restroom is always a highlight of my trip. It is similar to when I visited that golden domed temple thingie in Jerusalem, only the Costco restroom has more Arabs.

After entering the restroom, I always make a point of signing the guest register attached to the clipboard hanging on the back of the door. It’s little touches like that that make customers feel welcome at Costco. Once, I even found some delicious Junior Mints that had unfortunately fallen on the floor near the toilet. However, utilizing the well-known 10-second rule (where you can still eat food from the floor 10 seconds after you see it), my mouth soon enjoyed a tingly and refreshing wake-me-up.

Much to my surprise, however, not everything in that magnificent palace of poop was up to the high standards I expect of Costco. For when I was done with my personal evacuation plan and reached for the toilet paper I was truly shocked. Why, this was not Kirkland Signature brand toilet paper at all!

Believe me, I am intimately familiar with the Kirkland Signature toilet paper: its feel, its dimensions, its scent, its texture, its taste. This was an imposter. And yet, doesn’t Costco exclusively feature, and indeed sell, Kirkland Signature paper products (including tissues and paper towels, not to mention their delicious rotisserie chickens, a dozen of which were currently getting cold on my flatbed cart.)

Something was amiss; I could feel it from the tip of my acid-refluxed esophagus down to my formerly fertile and now flaccid penis. Someone was trying to pull a fast one all right, and I bet the executives at Kirkland Industries would be very interested to know about this scam. But before I unleash all my rage in a diarrhea-like torrent, I will still give my beloved Costco a chance to explain itself. I’ll start with the manager. But where was he hiding?

I quickly donned my Kirkland Signature sunglasses so as not to draw suspicion and scanned the vast Costco landscape. There was Dottie, the customer service clerk. Hmm, her Costco vest seemed a little askew. And then there was Charlie, the rugged highly trained security agent, poised at the exit, pink highlighter in hand like a revolver, meticulously marking each shopper’s receipt as they exited these hallowed portals. Oh, Charlie, the stories you could tell!

So far, everything looked pretty normal, but all this observating was tiring me out. I reached into one of my dozen bags of Kirkland Signature Trail Mix for a quick blast of energy (take that, Red Bull!), when suddenly I noticed something very interesting. Churros were on sale today for 75 cents. I made a mental note to pick one up on my way out, unless I needed to make a detour to the Sheriff’s station to report a certain toilet paper swindle. And those Sheriffs laughed at me last time. Ha, this will show them.

After getting back in line to purchase another case of Kirkland Signature Extra Strength Glucosamine HCI Chrondroitin Sulfate Tablets, I realized that my checker was none other than Marcus, the Costco Manager. And some people believe that there is no such thing as fate.

I played it cool, gracefully whipping out my Costco card on request with lightning speed. As Marcus bent down to pick up my card, I noticed another interesting thing. He was wearing Kirkland Signature Denim Jeans.

This presented a conundrum: If Marcus was wearing said jeans, I could assume he was a fan of the fine Kirkland products. Then why on earth would he allow his store to have non-Kirkland Signature brand toilet paper in its restroom? There was only one possible answer: Marcus recently purchased a speedboat, divorced his wife, moved to Marina Del Rey to live the swinging speedboat single life, developed a severe gambling problem at the Commerce card clubs, was in debt to his bookie for $500,000, and needed the money to make his speedboat payments, not to mention alimony and hospital bills due to a conjugated sigmoidectomy. It was all so obvious. Why didn’t I see that before?

I did feel a bit of empathy for Marcus, so as he handed me my receipt, I simply said with a wink, “How are the waters?” Marcus acted dumb, as if he had no idea what I was referring to. I quickly let out a small fart, just so he would know that I was on to his Kirkland Signature toilet paper switcheroo. I could tell by his wince that he knew I was onto him. Whatever bribe you got, my friend, I hope it was worth it.

As I pulled my two flatbeds to the exit, I noticed a wink in Charlie’s one good eye as he counted my items and, not unlike Rembrandt, painted a pink mark on my receipt. So, Charlie, you old spotted owl, you knew too, didn’t you? Although I would continue my investigation another day, I rested easy knowing Costco was in good hands with Charlie on the job.

And there was still Dottie’s strange vest. But that would have to wait until my next Costco visit tomorrow. Something tells me my work here is not done yet. Not by a long shot.


  1. Good luck with you're toilet paper war. We had a similar coo at my high school... in fact that was someones political platform during council elections... "Vote for me, and I will get soft toilet paper for all". Needless to say we elected him, but the toilet paper did not change. More lies and political deceit. These politicians learn it young.

  2. You do lead an interesting, exciting & adventurous life!!! And I must commend you on being so really don't miss a trick, do you!! But just between us, I would have opted to leave the mint where it was. Didn't yomomma ever tell you about that kinda thing??!!