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Ant Man

Ant Man

My wife made me promise to take her to BJs yesterday. I found myself in an enormous parking lot entering a gigantic warehouse. No frills, huge carts, and inventory stacked up to the ceilings, maybe 30 feet above.

I was an ant, more so than when I stood on the Great Wall of China. And the organization was as efficient as any ant colony.

There were auto tires, eyeglasses, meats, pharmaceuticals, clothing, books furniture, produce, gas containers, a deli counter, mattresses, candy, pet supplies—thousands and thousands of choices. We had two of these huge carts and filled them, including my impulse shopping (you can never have enough WD-40 or batteries). My wife is only five feet tall and can’t reach some of the stuff on the upper shelves. When she had a hip replacement she came here and used an electric cart to drive around, but it ran out of charge and she had to be rescued by a kind of BJ AAA! (No doubt this is the future of electric cars, which will be rescued by gas-driven emergency vehicles.)

The cashiers are highly effective (there are also automated checkouts) but there are no boxes, no packers, and you essentially put everything back into the huge carts after they’re scanned, then move all of that to the back of the SUV, the move it all from the SUV into your house. I was thinking I had no need for my workout this morning. (But I always think that.)

Oh, yeah: We spend $600 for stuff that will last us for at least a month (we buy a lot of cleaning materials for our new German Shepherd puppy) and saved $250 over retail prices (the computer calculates that for you). It doesn’t beat football on Sundays, but it’s a fascinating part of American life. Do these exist elsewhere?

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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