The Joy of Costco: A Treasure Hunt from A to Z
Chances are you probably already know about Costco’s legendary dollar-fifty hot dog combo, which hasn’t changed since 1984. Same goes for their incredibly inexpensive rotisserie chickens, priced to get people in the door and shopping. But did you know that Alaskan Costco shoppers sometimes have to guard their purchases from gangs of thieving ravens as they head for their vehicles? Or that Costco sells half the world’s cashews? Or what about the fact that seventy-five percent of Iceland’s population are Costco shoppers?
All these facts and more — things you’ve likely never thought about but will surely be delighted to know — can be found in The Joy of Costco: A Treasure Hunt from A to Z by David and Susan Schwartz. The enthusiastic authors spent seven years visiting Costcos all over the world and have presented their findings in a dazzling array of text boxes covering pumpkin pies, logistics, gasoline, hearing aids, coffins, and so much more. After a brief history of Costco and its founders, various topics are arranged from A to Z in a way that feels wild and free (“in part to replicate the seemingly random experience of shopping at Costco”), meaning you can read the thing from cover to cover or just open to any random page and dive in.
Even if you don’t share the authors’ somewhat peculiar enthusiasm for the retail wholesaler, even if you’ve never set foot in a Costco store, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more informative, concise, and pleasant crash course in foreign business practices. Tidbits about a Japanese law allowing an existing business to object to a similar business opening nearby, or a South Korean law requiring a portion of construction funds be spent on public art, are fascinating glimpses into how countries around the world operate.
It doesn’t hurt that the book is also well designed. In fact, it’s a work of art, sporting a pleasing color scheme and more than 200 delightful illustrations from artist Martin Hargreaves. Even the most mundane facts about Costco’s Auto Program are fun to read when they’re accompanied by hatched pencil drawings of gift wrapped sedans. The book covers everything from foreign food courts, to pet services, to road trips, and ties it all together with a fun, cohesive style. It is a joy to behold.
The Joy of Costco deserves a spot on your coffee table. Houseguests may initially scoff, but give them five minutes with the book and they probably won’t want to give it back.
|David and Susan Schwartz
|Hot Dog Press
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