Pushing buggies just one part of Costco experience

A recent trip to Costco reminded me of my days workings at the warehouse retail giant. It was a temporary position at the Peterborough Costco during the Christmas rush.

After sending in my résumé electronically, I received a phone call within an hour. Seriously, one hour. My interview took place in the Costco food court and I went in for orientation the next day.

I figured the orientation session might take two-to-three hours to complete. I was there for six freakin’ hours. One guy fell asleep during the six hours. I never saw him again.

My first day was spent outside in the parking lot collecting shopping carts. After minimal training (after all, this wasn’t rocket science), I was given my official rope and told to start rounding up buggies. The rope was long enough to connect eight shopping carts, so you could push them back to the store in a somewhat orderly manner. Piece of cake, right? Well, it would be if Costco shoppers weren’t a tad insane. After a few hours of politely waving drivers passed me while I tried to stop eight shopping carts from crushing their vehicles, I had a whole new outlook. My new mantra was “Get out of my way or I’ll dent your car”. On top of the crazy shoppers, my much younger co-workers were convinced I was filming an episode of Undercover Boss.

After a few days outside, management brought me inside to work as a cashier. It was busy, but I enjoyed chatting with the public as I scanned each item. That was the good part of the job. The not-so-great part was persuading each customer to upgrade their membership to a Costco MasterCard. I quickly realized that I’m not a natural salesman.

Typical conversation:

“Hey, have you thought about getting a Costco MasterCard?” I would ask.

“No, thank you,” they would reply.

“Alrighty then,” I would respond,

Other jobs included returns, loading groceries into buggies, garbage collection and sweeping. But the worst job by far was folding clothes. This was mind-numbing work and I was literally screaming inside my head as time seem to stand still on the punch clock. The worst part was that most of the clothes didn’t need folding.

Speaking of the punch clock, it apparently screwed up their payroll if you punched in a minute early for your shift. So, staff tended to gather around the punch clock like gazelles at a watering hole.

I should mention that fellow staff were great and you really couldn’t ask for better management. I was treated with respect and courtesy.

But, despite my hard work and charm, I wasn’t called back after the two-month contract ended. Was it an age thing, my lack of sales pizzazz? We’ll never know. Now I just go to shop and enjoy a hotdog and drink for $1.50. Best deal in town.

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