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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Reprint: My Costco Condom Story

(Note: This anecdote occurred when I was a wage-slave for Costco Wholesale. I spent 18 years working for that company, working my way up from cart-pusher to manager, before quitting in May of 2009 to pursue a writing career. Originally, this story was posted on my website last year.)

I answered a manager call to the Pharmacy one day to find an older man in an electric cart waving a box of condoms around. When I identified myself as a manager, he tossed the box at me and said, "What size are these?"

The man had a completely straight face and seemed a little pissed off, so I stifled a chuckle, even though I noticed the Pharmacy girls cracking up behind their windows.

"What size?" I managed to ask.

"Yeah, size," he said. "It doesn't say anything on the box."

I turned the box over in my hands, fumbling for something to say without bursting into laughter. I couldn't ask the usual leading questions like "well, what are you going to use this for?" or "are these for you or someone else?"

"You know," he continued. "I don't want to get these things home and find out they're the wrong size."

"No," I managed to say. "That wouldn't be good."

"There's an 800 number on the box," he pointed out. "But when I called to ask them, they hung up on me."

He seemed genuinely shocked at Trojan's lack of customer sympathy.

"I think maybe these are just standard-sized," I then said. "You know, one-size-fits-all?"

"That can't be true," he snapped. "And if it's an assortment, what do I do with all the wrong-sized ones?"

This was my out.

"You know," I told him. "We guarantee everything we sell. If you find out these don't work for you, just bring them back on your next visit and we'll give you back your money."

"Even if I use some of them?"

"If you're not satisfied, you can get a full refund."

"Okay, then," he said and took the box from me, tossing it into his basket and rolling away.

I walked away as the Pharmacy girls burst into applause.

jjwylie@gmail.com
www.jjwylie.com

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