Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Hidemi's Rambling No.338
I’m an avid shopper at Costco, but since I moved in my new place, it has become too far to visit readily. The other day, I was astonished to find that a tiny local general store on the forlorn street near my apartment carried some Costco’s merchandise. Indirect stores for the Costco’s merchandise usually add big profit margins to it, so that it costs less to shop at Costco directly even with the membership fee and the transportation expenses to get there. But this local shop’s margins are trifling so much so that the prices are almost the same as at Costco. Although the shop has only few selected goods, among them are what I regularly buy, such as salsa, tortilla chips and mixed nuts. It’s a totally unexpected reunion with Costco for me. The shop hands out a stamp card for the customers and gives them stamps according to the sum of purchase. The accumulated stamps are exchanged for freebies. I’ve gotten a small bag of Lay’s, cookies, and a jar of salsa for free so far. With the scant profit margin and the generous freebies, I can’t possibly believe that this shop is profitable. It’s a wonder the owner manages the business, as I seldom see other customers and there is too little merchandise in the shop. Is he working as charity for me by going to Costco, paying the membership fee, getting exactly what I need, and selling without profit? It’s a magical shop rather than my favorite shop. I have a strange rule that my favorite place is almost certainly to be out of business. Does it work this time too, and will the shop inevitably close down soon…?