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June 6, 2015

Costco Alhambra

A friend of mine visited the tire department at this Costco, which led me to look at the Yelp reviews of that store. I'm sure I have never before seen Yelp reviews like these in such quantity. And the fact that they are talking about a Costco makes it almost surreal. The place is some kind of phenomenon. The objective facts seem to be: the parking lot is terribly crowded; the store is terribly crowded; this may be the busiest Costco anywhere; and most of the shoppers are probably of some ethnic Asian background.

There are thirteen pages of reviews as I write this and the racism is palpable. Almost all of it is directed at those who appear to be Chinese. Quite a few reviews start out "I'm Chinese myself, but..."

One reviewer made a half-hearted attempt at being fair by saying that "Mexicans" and "Vietnamese" were just as bad. I'm only about a third of the way through the reviews and so far no one has said a single thing for or against black people, which really sets these Yelp reviews apart from traditional American racism.

On the positive side, when you hit upon one of the 5-star reviews (and there are many), it's such a relief from the anger it's almost like being served a dish of ice cream while sitting on the porch enjoying a cool evening breeze.

I want to know why the store is closed on Sunday while the Target in the same shopping center is open Sundays. Any ideas?

I'm going to have to make a point to visit this store (without a shopping cart) just to observe the raucous, dog-eat-dog scene. Do you think I ought to wear my GoPro camera to document it?

Filed under Shopping | permalink | June 6, 2015 at 03:48 PM


Here's what I wrote on Facebook yesterday:

The reason for the visit was that last June I came across the Yelp reviews for this store. They were so terrible, I can see why it has the reputation for being the worst store in the entire chain. I wrote about that on Ron's Log.

The Yelp reviews are here.

On my visit today I was surprised (and probably just a little bit disappointed) to see that all that negativity is just so much bullcrap. Yes, the store is VERY busy. It's the first time I've seen all the checkout lines open in a Costco. But the behavior of the customers was no different than I see in any other Costco. Nobody got heated in any of the traffic jams. Nobody rammed me with a cart. One or two people even apologized only because they thought they might have gotten in my way (they hadn't).

The parking lot was 100% full. But I had been at the Garden Grove Costco the day before and its lot was 100% full too. At both places I parked on a public street. Garden Grove was probably just as busy as Alhambra and the big ethnic groups there are Korean and Vietnamese.

The parking lot was so full at Alhambra, they've tried to put in some directional controls (closed lanes and one way lanes), but when you're full, you're full. Traffic going into the parking lot was backed up to the public road, so traffic on that road was backed up too. As I was leaving a Boston driver must have showed up. I could tell because somebody had the bright idea that you could get a traffic jam moving by just sitting on your horn nonstop.

Posted by: Ron's Log at Oct 5, 2015 9:12:58 PM

Ron, I like the idea of you filming with a GoPro and getting the impressions of what is going on. San Gabriel Valley meets big-box consumerism meets the modern American Immigrant Shopping experience. This will be interesting.

Posted by: burner at Jun 10, 2015 5:07:37 PM

The best Yelp review of this Costco comes on the last (13th) page of reviews. It's by Brandon K. of Temple City.

a pallet of socks, 10 gallons of mayo, children's tears... these are just a few items you can buy at costco. are you hungry and too poor to buy food? just gorge yourself on the free samples! half of them taste like crap but who cares? its free! the lady will always try to sell you a box of whatever shes cutting up... only $5 for 300 chicken nuggets? sign my ass up!

costco is huge.... i once got lost in the produce department. luckily i found some bananas to fend off my hunger. i should have realized i wasnt too far from civilization when i saw the jewelry department.

when it comes to meat, costco is the best. they let me pick my cow right from the herd and shot it dead... right there on aisle 14. sure, a few people looked horrified and a little girl cried... but man, that meat was so tasty!

after spending what seems like days buying tons of shit i dont need, my fat ass is worn out. what do i do? i get a slice of pizza. this pizza is totally like the best thing ever to come out of a small concrete building. with every bite, i feel more and more pleasure as my hunger subsides and i can focus on the task at hand.

if youre an alcoholic (yeah you are.... i know about the bottle of booze in your room. who keeps booze in their room?) you will love the liquor section at costco. they got all kinds of stuff to mess your ass up and turn every girl into a ke$ha lookalike. you wanna wake up feelin like p-diddy? then you gotta get your ass crunk off of some shit from costco.

overall, costco is a pretty sweet place. some of the stuff doesnt always fit in the freezer at home so i end up just tossing it on the curb. who cares? it was so cheap anyway.... i think i saw a dear choking on a frozen taco one day... thats just nature and its natural selection. gotta weed out the weak ass things, ya know? i mean, if it cant handle a taco what makes you think it could have survived a bullet from a hunter? it was only a matter of time.

Posted by: Ron's Log at Jun 8, 2015 8:53:22 PM

Costco Alhambra is boring. Spare us and yourself the gopro documentary.
It is in the heart of the nearly all Asian San Gabriel Valley, and Asians love Costco, so that's what you get.

Posted by: Ednixon at Jun 8, 2015 10:11:36 AM

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