Costco Wholesale, one of the largest retail chains in the world, is a labyrinth of a store. It's a members-only maze of everyday essentials and products you don't really need, sold in obscenely large quantities. Everything is bigger in Costco. Do you need 900 rolls of toilet paper? Got you. What about granola bars to feed approximately 400 children? No problem. Are you short on off-brand jeans or sea bass or the latest Janet Evanovich novel? Don't worry. Here, you can purchase whatever you think you need—a lot of it—at a reasonable price, and then all you have to do is stroll out the exit with your gigantic shopping cart as a dude with a highlighter pretends to check over your 100-item receipt. Here, everything is heightened, grand, exaggerated.
Including, it would appear, tempers at the free sample lines. For the most exciting thing about Costco, aside from the discounted TVs and massive churros, is stopping to eat whatever it is they're offering to you for no money, usually served in those tiny white cups reserved for ketchup. Is that a pig in a blanket? Why thank you, ma'am. Don't mind if I do.
Elderly men in South Carolina, it turns out, recognize the glory of the free sample all too well, because according to the State, two of them got into an all-out brawl at a local Costco, fighting over who cut who in line.
On Tuesday, a 70-year-old wearing a hat and glasses was apparently waiting in line for some free cheese when a 72-year-old in a Hawaiian shirt allegedly cut in front of him, snagged some, and darted off. (The guy didn't even have the nerve to chat cut.) It could have ended there. Tragedy could have been avoided. But then there were cheeseburgers.
The 70-year-old, apparently, had to right a wrong. These were, after all, free samples we're talking about. Later, he reportedly saw his nemesis idling in the queue for cheeseburgers, so he sprung into action: He cut in front of him. According to the incident report, the 70-year-old told his foe that "he could get in front of him because he knew he would just cut the line anyway." More heated words were exchanged—and then the 72-year-old in the Hawaiian shirt raised his hand and hit the 70-year-old in the head, slapping his hat off.
According to the State, the Coscto employee serving up the fateful bits of burger confirmed the story, saying that yes, the "man in a Hawaiian shirt hit the other man in the head and it sounded very loud, and that the man’s hat flew off his head."
When the cops arrived, however, the men were gone—though officers did, reportedly, speak to the 72-year-old on the phone, who acknowledged his involvement in the incident. No arrests have been made yet, but the police, citing inconsistencies in the men's stories, are hoping to obtain the security footage. And what will it show? Did either run into neighbors or old friends in the aisle and chat about their grandchildren loving college? Did one of them snag a hotdog on the way out, or have an eye examination at Costco Optical? Did the 72-year-old flee the scene, past the dude at the front door, without even flashing his receipt?
We can't know for sure yet. Until then—unlike our two septuagenarian pals in South Carolina—we'll just have to wait patiently.
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