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Wow, look at what I have been missing

Quite often, I pride myself in being first in acquiring things, such as a blackberry the week they were launched, a VIC 20 computer, in 1980 and a reverberator on my 1965 Comet. In some things however, I seem to be at the end of the line, being the last person in my family to own a colour television and, being what I am sure to be, the last person in Canada to have a Costco membership. Well, that all changed last week. Visiting a craft show in Oshawa, I came upon a booth where they were selling Costco memberships, something I have always maintained I have no need for. The sales person was good and convinced me my life was not complete until I filled the void of not being a member of the greatest opportunity on the planet. I signed up, obtained my card and home I went, not being able to get this prospect out of my mind. Well, yesterday was the day to take the big plunge and head to, what turned out to be, a place, filled with hundreds of people, all on a mission. As it was a weekday, the first thought that crossed my mind was, doesn’t anyone work anymore? I clutched a buggy, not sure if I needed it, but didn’t want to appear a neophyte in this sea of professional shoppers. I started along the aisles and grew amazed at the treasures I was found: a computer hard drive, at a very reasonable price, an office chair and all sorts of books and appliances. I was learning how to maneuver through the narrow passageways, with a buggy which was too large, no doubt intentionally made that size, realizing the other shoppers had no time for me, and ignored my constant apologies for hitting their carts. The staff was among the friendliest anywhere. The ones I spoke with couldn’t be more helpful and I was quite pleased with everything, when suddenly I came upon the food section. I am not sure how to sum up the quantity of things available, and yes I bought enough Golean cereal to last a year, and certainly more chocolates than I really needed, but oh… it looked so good. Maybe next time I will brave the lineup for free samples, wanting not to appear too eager on my first adventure there. Finally, after a very fast two hours, it was time to leave. That in itself was an escapade. I made my way to the front of the store, only to become lost in a sea of buggies, and, what seemed like, irritable shoppers. I tried to figure out the process of standing on one side and leaving my buggy on the other, and the cashier was quite helpful. And then it happened! “We only take MasterCard, debit or cash.” I was stunned. I only use Visa and have used debit twice in my life. I fumbled through my wallet and found my bank card, only to have it declined, because my debit card had not been activated. Embarrassingly I was ushered to a holding area and explained I had another card in the car. I went to retrieve it, and it seemed to work, but for the fact I had no idea what my PIN was. The attendant was friendly and compassionate, and we finally agreed on a cheque as payment. I walked toward the exit, head up high, as I had now joined the elite rank of a Costco shopper. Maybe next time, I will venture out on a Saturday and see what real shopping is like. Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, published author, award winning photographer and keynote speaker. Watch his new show ‘The Jonathan van Bilsen Show’ on YouTube

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