Iâ€™m not easy to market to. Iâ€™m loyal to few brands. I shun most advertising.Â Iâ€™m a jaded consumer. (I think that’s what makes me more effective as a marketer.)
Which is why I love Costco, the wholesale warehouse club. I can get good deals on a huge variety of necessities and luxuries. I feel like Costco is on my side â€“ doing deals with manufacturers of good products to benefit me. Importantly, Costco doesnâ€™t aggressively market to me in irrelevant ways. In fact, Costco is there when I want it, and otherwise out of my face. At the risk of appearing like a pathetic suburban dad, that is why Costco has become a weekly ritual and a part of my life. I even browse the member magazine regularly.
But there’s another side to this story: Costco is attempting to be relevant through all life stages. After stocking up last Sunday on diapers, baby wipes, Brita filters, organic milk and cleaning supplies, I stumbled into the clubâ€™s new casket display, positioned next to the window-shade and tire displays. (I also discovered you can purchase caskets direct from Costco.com.)
At first, I laughed. Yet it underscored an important idea: organized buying groups (like Costco members) will continue to advance commodification in ways we never thought possible. On one hand, I like the access, choice and savings. However, there is something perverse about such wide product expansion, from cradle to casket. What does that say about life and consumerism? Iâ€™m not sure, but itâ€™s concerning.
For the record, I donâ€™t intend to be buried in a casket. I prefer cremation. Iâ€™m sure Costco will offer that soon as well.