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The Evil Men Do For Cool Gadgets :

Even though it is generally considered by people other than those related to me that I am a“hell of a nice guy”* in my own way there are days when I’m just downright mean. My latest escapade involved CostCo, a seemingly abandoned shopping trolley, and a gadgety item I desperately lusted after.

See, at a shop calledOrganized Living(their web site is completely pointless so I’m not even bothering to link to it, and I just read onYahoo! Financial news that they’ve filed for bankruptcy) they have ahand truck that collapses completely flat.

It’s really neat.

You can put it in the car boot and pull it out when you have a 50lb bag of cat litter to carry in to the house that you just purchased at CostCo.

AtOrganized Livingthis very hand truck, available in aluminium with blue wheels costs on the order of $150 plus tax. Shyeah! Right! I like shopping there and their prices can be a little steep but that’s outrageous.

Okay, so I’m at CostCo on Friday of last week shopping for all the beverages & comestibles my room mate and I will require for a BBQ we’re hosting. I’m wandering around methodically looking at items I don’t need, don’t have room for, and this month, don’t have the budget for – you know, those essential items like stainless steel side-by-side refrigerators with accompanying glass fronted, refrigerated, one gross of bottles, wine “cellar” that require a four digit delivery & installation charge.

There’s another shopping trolley in the way. It’s positioned like so many carelessly left trollies are. Right in the middle, at the most akward angle to make it impossible to pass without clanging it loudly with your own trolley. It’s just parked there, occupying space, and nobody else is in the aisle.

Unusual for 6PM on a Friday evening, don’t you think? Almost like… Fate.

Maybe nobody else purchases stainless steel side-by-side refrigerators & wine “cellars” on a Friday and they just stock one for when I’ll suddenly need an emergency refrigerator.

There’s three items in that aggravatingly positioned trolley, and one of those items is a black version of the collapsible hand truck they have atOrganized Living. “Wow! CostCo sell those? I have to see how much they are. Less than fifty bucks and and I’m getting one. Okay, I’ll go to sixty bucks, but not twenty dollars more than that.”

And so begins my spiral downwards in to the pits of evilness and avarice.

I wander every aisle. Up and down. From the front of CostCo to the back where the cooks stuff interesting vegetables inside of chickens that you can watch through a glass window and then purchase said chicken & interesting vegetable to take home for the family dinner. I even scout through the books & videos & summer garden furniture just in case it’s hidden there. This entire quest takes at least 20 minutes. Twice I come back by the trolley, and twice it’s still there.

Okay, steal it or be nice to the “owner” of the shopping trolley and leave it alone?

Okay, let’s be nice. Let’s go ask an assistant for help. Easier said than done. It must be casual Friday because all of the assistants are wearing plain clothes and cleverly hiding their name tags. Perhaps I’m getting the people who work here confused with the ones at Target who wear obvious uniforms.

So after a little misunderstanding on what I mean by “collapsible hand truck” — Okay, I realise that English is your first language and there may be some communications difficulty speaking with someone who grew up with a Mother who, at one time was an English teacher but could you try a little harder to listen to what I’m saying and not mumble and turn your head away when you reply to me — the assistant does their thing with the inventory computer. You know, enter a 12 character password so they can hit two keys to browse the inventory. And I’m sure CostCo management would be very interested to know you used profanity in your password too, you one keypress every two seconds typist.

And lo, there appears to be a single collapsible hand truck in stock. Just one. It is Fate. I am being toyed with. Some days the Universe is out to thwart me, and some days the Universe is out to tempt me.

I’m informed it is the end of the line for that item as they weren’t selling. Most of the other CostCo locations are sold out. Original list price on the item, $99.99 (of course it wouldn’t bloody selling, you want a hundred bucks for what amounts to $2 of aluminium, plastic & rubber). Reduced price: $23.99.

Ah! Now that’s more like it. The CostCo assistant opines that the item wasn’t selling but now it is and if only someone knew why it hadn’t sold when they originally stocked them. Yeah, okay, so maybe you need to take an introductory course in economics.

So on the walk back to my own shopping trolley I make up my mind, if the “abandoned” trolley is still there I’m swiping the collapsible hand truck. Total time is about 30 minutes from first discovery to when I return. And the damn trolley is still there. So I hang out casually around the trolley staring at spare car batteries that tower 30 feet above me on the CostCo shelves. You know, just hanging out. Casually, for about 2 minutes. Look left. Look right. Move coveted gadget to my trolley. Stroll off nonchalantly over to the DVD & book section and pick up five new Williams-Sonoma cooking books that are on sale (yes, the Universe really is out to tempt me today) and a pair of jeans. So the shopping trolley has been abandoned for almost 45 minutes now.

Look over to where the nefarious deed was done and I see someone stroll up to the abandoned shopping trolley, now with only two items in it, and push it off in to the CostCo crowds.

Of course, he might just have been a CostCo employee collecting the abandoned trollies and returning items to the shelves.

But I’ll never know.

And I don’t careā€¦

I got my collapsible hand truck for $23.99 + tax and about 17 seconds of guilt.

*That page originally ranked #1 on Google when you entered the search phrase “hell of a nice guy” (without the quotes) right up until around the end of 2003. So Google made it official.

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