Saturday, July 23, 2005

Additional Proof The The New York Times Occasionally Publishes Worthwhile Material

Costco, Where You Can Find A High-Quality Television, Great Tri-Tip, And Good Underwear Just a Few Rows Apart And At Great Prices

Three straight pieces appearing in the New York Times have been very appealing to me. Somewhat disturbed by that fact, I have also examined my thinking and decided that I am not losing my mind, even though I liked the Tom Friedman piece referred to just below and I also like this New York Times article about Costco, entitled "How Costco Became The Anti-Wal-Mart." I did have to put aside my natural skepticism about an article this positive that addresses a subject related to Wal-Mart, which has been a lefty pinata for some time now.

Viewing the matter simply as a consumer, I realized that I have been patronizing my local Costco more and more lately. Once I got over the sheer overwhelming size of the place, I found myself liking the way the Costco stores provide goods and services to customers. (Free enterprise working on me, I guess.) Reading the article educated me a great deal about Costco and its apparent place in the world of high-volume warehouse stores. For some reason I can't quite grasp, Wal-Mart has always left me feeling a little cold-- not because of the lefty attacks on it, but because . . . well, I don't know. But I like Costco and I like the approach its CEO, Jim Sinegal, takes to his customers and employees.

Why Do They Hate Us, Cont'd

Well, not because of Iraq. At least that's the convincing case made by Olivier Roy in this New York Times op-ed piece. It's too tightly-written to excerpt to any useful effect; read the whole thing. Roy generally de-bunks any notion that the islamofascists are motivated by any high-minded or even rational goal.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see it now, the long slow decline toward voting Demo all because of a shopping visit to Costco and the constant temptation of the New York Times.

The following is excerpted from the Hedgehog's future biography:

"Lowell Brown was feeling out of sorts for reasons he couldn't find words to explain. He was standing next to a large stack of 100% cotton oxford shirts with button collars that were priced to sell and would be more than appropriate to wear to his job at a large national law firm. He ran his hand across the cotton shirt, feeling the fabric and pausing to brush his thumb across the buttons to check their quality. Yet the nagging feeling of uncomfortableness remained and he left the shirt where it was displayed and pushed his cart towards the meat department at this Costco where he would decide whether to purchase a regular tritip or perhaps a Bill Bailey Santa Maria style piece already marinated in the bag.

This funk had actually begun earlier in the day. Lowell's wife had called to inform him that their son needed some additional equipment for the Scout camp excursion he was scheduled to begin that afternoon. Lowell was in the car headed to lunch with colleagues but detoured into a Wal-Mart instead. As he waited to pay for the items he felt cold, for reasons he couldn't say why.

Perhaps it was the tens of thousands of items made in China by cheap labor and now sold by friendly checkers who can't afford health insurance due to their own low salaries? The fact that thought popped into his head was troubling. Wal-Mart had some of the lowest prices on consumer goods and that saved everyone who shopped there money. The profits generated by Wal-Mart by restricting salaries and benefits to employees also assured huge gains for shareholders, the owners of the company. Wasn't this the American way?

Lowell decided to stop thinking about it as he drove to meet his wife to drop off the items. He turned the radio to KCRW. 'Morning Becomes Eclectic" had given way to NPR's Day to Day. Lowell didn't believe that NPR and PBS should be partially funded with tax dollars (they were, after all, conduits for the Democrats to foist their ideas on an unsuspecting public) yet more and more often he found himself turning to those channels. At least no one was screaming on this channel and he was tired of hearing the same music over and over on the other FM stations.

As he listened he pulled his car into the drive thru at a McDonald’s restaurant. As he sat in the car a few minutes later looking at the Big Mac he had purchased that same cold feeling from the visit to Wal-Mart returned. The sandwich didn’t look like the same one pictured on the side of the semi-trailer that was unloading materials into the back of the store. He wondered how it was this sandwich cost less today then he remembered it costing nearly thirty years ago.

That cold feeling was stronger now and Lowell did something he couldn’t remember ever doing before. Despite the fact he had just purchased the thing he stuffed it back into the bag with the freedom fries and tossed it into a trash can he pulled the car next to. He then drove to nearby West Hollywood to the Whole Foods Market and went inside to the salad bar.

Sitting on a stool at a small round table near the checkout stands Lowell enjoyed his salad. As his hunger gave gradually to satiation he turned and took notice of the table next to his. A young man about 28 was sitting listening to an ipod and reading a L.A. Times article about the shrinking number of fish off the coast of the southland. Lowell had read it himself earlier that day and found it somewhat disturbing. Ultimately, he brushed it off as just another indication that the L.A. Times was a liberal rag. When the young man next to him noticed him looking and gave him a polite smile Lowell wanted to mention that the Times was probably just hyperventilating about a problem some lefty was imagining but instead he didn’t say anything and simply nodded back.

At Costco Lowell was in the produce section when it happened. What if it was true? What if I was wrong? What if Bush was wrong? All three thoughts hit Lowell at once as he loaded a box of vine ripened tomatoes into the basket setting them next to the Mozzarella Fresca he would serve them with later that night. He and his wife were hosting two other couples active in the local Republican party for some appetizers and conversation. Would they be able to tell? Tell what, Lowell thought, I haven’t done anything wrong.

Lowell drove towards the house with the radio off. He smiled as he waved to his wife while pulling into the driveway. He felt better now that he was home. The nagging thoughts from earlier began to recede, although not entirely. Something had changed in Lowell’s life this day and as he carried the items he purchased at Costco into the house he would never imagine where that change would lead him in the future.”

In the next excerpt, Lowell purchases a hybrid Toyota and votes for a tax increase to expand public transportation.


Posted by Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

Saturday, July 23, 2005 2:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ghost: LOL! Don't get too hopeful, however . . . .


Posted by The Hedgehog

Sunday, July 24, 2005 4:14:00 AM  
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Friday, September 30, 2005 8:08:00 PM  

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