At the behest of friends and neighbors, we recently joined Costco. A subsequent trip to the megastore led me to realize that Costco can not only save me a few bucks, it can also help nation-states live in peace and harmony.
I don’t know if you have a Costco in your neck of the woods. After my visit, I hope like heck you do for one simple reason: Toilet paper.
That’s right. Toilet paper. During my inaugural trip to Costco, I found the largest package of toilet paper known to mankind.
Whereas toilet paper is normally sold in 6, 12, or even 24 packs, Costco is in a whole different league. Somehow, they’d fit 24,000 rolls of toilet paper in one package. The monstrosity was a city-block wide, four stories high, and shoppers circled it in awe.
Naturally, I had to buy it. Who doesn’t want ass-wipe for all eternity?
Costco encourages you to drive your pickup trucks down the aisles, so I hitched up the 24,000 pack to my Ford F150, grinning ear to ear. But at the checkout line, my grin turned to chagrin. The price of the 24,000 pack was $15,000. I had shot my monthly budget and half my child’s college savings in one purchase.
Costco representatives quickly orchestrated a cash-out refinance of my house, and I was able to make the purchase. But it didn’t seem right. I would be saving hundreds on toilet paper over the next twenty years, yet I had no food to put on the table for dinner tonight.
As I would soon discover, necessity is the mother of all epiphanies.
I returned home and went straight to my neighbor’s house. Dan answered the door, covered in sawdust. “Sorry I didn’t hear you over the buzz of the table saw,” he said. “I’m building an addition.”
Turns out Dan had been at Costco earlier, and had purchased a 36,000-pack of paper towels. Not only had he drained his checking account to pay for the order, but now he needed to add on for more storage.
My epiphany congealed like a sopping mass of toilet tissue. “Dan, howza bout we pool resources? And maybe let’s get a few more neighbors in on the mix?”
Dan liked the idea, so we banged on doors. It turns out the Donaldsons had a tanker of handsoap, the McInleys had a 100 55-gallon drums of oatmeal, and the Stephensons had enough aluminum foil to wrap Mars.
We resolved to share our purchases This resulted in not only cost-savings, but it strengthened our community and even led to the occasional wife-swap. Good stuff.
Things went so well that we floated our model to the UN, and world leaders soon followed suit. The US bought 27 trillion gallons of oil, China purchased 27 trillion pounds of corn, and Great Britain bought 27 trillion packets of post-it notes. Costco added extra aisles to include commodities such as iron ore, pork bellies, and plutonium.
Everyone shared, everyone was happy. Buying in bulk had led to world peace and harmony. And to think it all started with one little 24,000 pack of toilet paper.