A trip to costco

The platitude of the title suggests that only I would be interested in reviewing this entry years later. But just to entertain the most avid of my readers, I decided to express my opinions on this whole-sale chain. In short I don’t see it as quite living up to its reputation of selling cheap stuff. Quite the contrary, among the items I sampled on a casual trip (like this evening), most of the stuff there are at least one standard deviation above the mean according to privately collected data ( in my head that is). It is therefore not surprising that I have a real hard time locating that one exceptional rosy deal that I will not hesitate to transact; for some reason I thought they had incorporated some cutting edge commodity pricing models in their inventory. Nonetheless I bought some pairs of socks and underwears for the lack of such during my getaway research trip to UCSF (it’s like wherever you go you have to eat); I am glad I stuck to my plan not to buy the outrageously over-priced T-shirts there, despite my wife’s repeated abetting. My wife, being misled by peer pressure and mass media to believe that the “cost” part in costco had anything to do with cost-saving, bought a luxury item for 60, only to find out amazon sells it for 49. So after convincing her that costco really is a mirage in the desert of buying power, and that people are simply deceived by the stacks after piles of raw goods to think that they own the whole place, while in reality they forget that its what’s in their wallets that count, I did some of my own research on google: here is a particularly unilluminating laudatio of the costco effect:

“To begin with, we were there for the diapers, so let’s look at the breakdown. Our oldest son is currently in a size 5 diaper, and still several months away from when he will be ready to start potty training. The Kirkland size 5 diapers come in a box of 168. Normal price of the case is $37.99. With the coupon, they worked out to $32.99, or less than $0.20/diaper. For comparison sake, Target’s Up & Up brand of diapers is $20.99 for the club pack, which contains 108 size 5 diapers, which works out to just over $0.19/diaper. The Target comparison also does not include the occasional in-store coupon, which would sweeten the deal more. However, for the convenience of being able to get larger quantities of diapers, I am not going to complain about saving a fraction of a cent. In addition, we want to know if we like them or not for our newborn.”
-quoted from an undisclosed source. I don’t really understand the logic in the penultimate sentence, which for the convenience of the reader, I quote again below:

However, for the convenience of being able to get larger quantities of diapers,

Judging from the math sprinkled in the paragraph, the author is simply cherishing the fact that he was able to buy a larger quantity at a higher unit price.


About aquazorcarson

math PhD at Stanford, studying probability
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