Questions From Costco Clerks? Sams? Walmart? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

Last night at Costco I was buying a small ration of beans, rice and flour. The girl at the counter was OVERLY interested in why I needed so much food. She politely asked what I was planning with all the beans 40lbs and rice 150 lbs and flour 50 lbs.

I told her that I was planning to put in in buckets in my basement for Y2K. Did it totally deadpan. She wasn't amused. I then joked that I was actually having a picnic with some Mexican friends and was responsible for doing the beans and rice.

She didn't buy it.

I would like to know if you've had similar questions at the checkout. My feeling is that we're becoming noticable due to our numbers at this point.

-- Gordon (, August 13, 1999


Months ago a Wal-mart clerk asked questions about my beans and rice. I told her I had a bunch of kids and not enough money.

-- helen (, August 13, 1999.

Remember, just because someone asks a question of you, you have the option of NOT answering. You DO have the right to remain silent. Where have we learned that we MUST answer every Tom, Dick and Harry about our private lives?

Other options: Just a friendly, "look-into-the-eyes" smile. (Lips buttoned). Then change the subject.

Or: Right after the clerk asks "what are you going to do with all those beans and rice?", with a smile on your face, say "the same thing YOU do with food, SILLY!

A smile can get you everywhere.

Hope this helps.

Practice answering in front of a mirror if you have trouble facing someone who questions you.

-- Mo questions (, August 13, 1999.

I have two standard responses to such an intrusive question, and it all depends on my mood at the time. : )

1. "Why in the world would you think that is any of *your* business?"

2. "We donate on a regular basis to the emergency food pantry."

When I am asked this question by someone who is rather snotty, I also make sure and ask for their corporate 'customer service' number. Might get them to thinking before they open their mouth. Maybe not, but I sure do like seeing their reaction. : )

And, it is true we regularly donate to the pantry -- ours, and the assistance pantry.

Like I said, it all depends on the spirit in which the question is asked, and my mood at the time. (Getting older *does* have certain advantages! )

-- Wilferd (, August 13, 1999.

Was at Dollar General today stocking up on the 2/$1 herbs and spices and the checkout lady asked me several times if I liked to cook..did I make alot of soup !! No one ever cared before.

-- MUTTI (windance, August 13, 1999.

Was at Wal-Mart last week, buying two 20-lb propane cannisters -- really just replacements for two old ones that the propane co won't refill (don't have those "important" anti-overfill devices).... Conversation went like this:

Clerk: Hey, is this for y2k or do you just barbeque a lot? (laughs)

Me: Y2k? Do you see a lot of buying for that? (notice clever avoidance of answering question)

Clerk: Oh, yeah. Lots of beans in those big bags. Rice, too. Also canned veggies. Camping stuff. Some people come in everyweek and load up on stuff.

Me: Really! That's amazing! Other stuff, too?

Clerk: Oh, yeah. One lady bought 500 bottles of lamp oil!

Me, (genuinely amazed): Wow! That's REALLY stocking up!

Clerk,(warming up): Yeah. But, you know what?

Me: What?

Clerk: The price of canned vegetables has gone up over 4 cents per can in the past week...

Me: So people who bought it before are already "makin' money"!

Clerk laughs: That's right!


At a sewing store (the kind that sells sewing machines and supplies), I found a neat treadle sewing machine that was a cobbled-together old treadle with a new machine attached -- all the benefits of non-electric with modern convenience and zig-zag attachment!!! I've actually been looking for something like this for years -- actually considered making one myself about ten years ago. Fun to use, easy set up, etc etc.

Anyway, was passing the shop and there was this great treadle machine with a sign on it that said, "y2k special". Had to go in and ask; went like this:

Me: I want that machine (etc.) So what's 'y2k'?

Salesman: y2k? Oh, that's that thing where all the computers are going to stop in January. You know, all the electricity will stop, and the phones won't work, and there won't be any food. (yuk, yuk, yuk)

Me: Huh?

Salesman: Oh, it was Phil's idea -- he thought the "y2k special" sign was kinda funny.

Me: Oh. So I'm buying a machine that is y2k-compliant?

Salesman (yuk, yuk, yuk): Yeah, as long as you can sew in the dark! ---------------------------------------------

The Wal-Mart clerk seemed to be defending her y2k customers -- the other guy, I don't know if he took it seriously or not. He seemed to have an idea (exaggerated?) of the possible effects....but....

Anyway, people are noticing.

Anita Evangelista

-- Anita Evangelista (, August 13, 1999.

When I find anything on sale for a great price and no limit, I buy enough for a year. Example, last New Years blackeye peas were on sale for .15 a lb bag. I bought several cases. Mustard on sale,2 for $1, I bought 24 bottles, ketchup .39 a bottle, I bought 50 bottles. Each time the cashier always asked why I was buying so much and I always reply "because it is so cheap". I get the strangest looks from the other shoppers and some do comment about my buggy contents which I relpy "I always buy for a year at at time, it's cheaper". I am reminded about the time Wal-Mart had coffee on sale for $3 a large can. I bought enough for a year and was amazed that no one else was buying more than a couple of cans at a time. I asked this one lady why she wasn't buying more while it was on sale, since she bought coffee anyway. She replied that she could never buy a buggy full of coffee, her family would laugh at her and she had no where to put it anyway. Most comments I get are mainly "boy, someone must really like ________ at your house!"

A friend of mine will not buy a lot of sale items at one time because she thinks it makes her look like she can't afford to buy things unless it is on sale. It actually embarrasses her!

-- Carol (, August 13, 1999.

The mailman delivering my gold, which I had to sign for, said, "It's heavy What is it, lead?" I just went, "Wow, yes, it is heavy. Gee."

-- Mara Wayne (, August 13, 1999.

A couple of months ago, while checking out at Costco, the clerk asked me if I was buying Y2K preps. I looked him straight in the eyes and said, "Actually, they're solar flare preps." The look on his face was priceless.

When I was checking out at Wal-Mart with a lot of medical & dental supplies, the clerk asked me if it was all for Y2K. I told her that my sick, elderly mother hated doctors and dentists and refused to go to them. So I was buying supplies for her, including the stuff that will fix broken crowns and fillings. She became very quiet after that.

-- glinda (glinda@overtherain.bow), August 13, 1999.

The Bears have been buying LARGE quantities of food for several years now. When asked "why are you buying so much?" my universal answer is "to eat".

If the folks start to pay overly much attention to what's in my basket I'll just start wearing my pink tu-tu to WalMart and I GUARENTEE no one will notice what's in my basket.

Not that I give a rip about what they think about the contents of my basket or my pink tu-tu.


-- Got Toe Shoes?

-- Greybear (, August 13, 1999.

Greybear, Promise you will let us know WHEN you are going to wear that pink tu- tu! It will be the perfect time to checkout without being noticed, and a sight I do not wish to miss! If my husband reads this thread, he is going to wonder why he didn't think of the tu-tu first, and start looking for one!

-- Mumsie (, August 14, 1999.

I'm still giving an honest answer when asked a similar question...I am laying in my hurricane supplies (but won't do THAT this week because one is now only 72 hours out...). If asked about Y2K, I will allow that after a third of a century in the IT field, I am concerned about it, and urge everyone to prepare prudently.

-- Mad Monk (, August 14, 1999.

If the clerk talleying my groceries doesn't make a comment about Y2K, I usually bring it up, and I talk to people in front of and behind me in line about it too. Had some interesting conversations as a result. Earlier this evening I tried this with the cashier, but I had heard her tell someone else that she had just come here from Bulgaria, and she didn't seem to understand much English.

The best conversations I've had have been with African Americans and women cashiers about my age. Younger women cashiers seem fatalistic and resigned in their responses. The male cashiers just look at you. (At least at Buy for Less.)

I've noticed that during these conversations, there are often eavesdroppers. "Well, I'm gettin' ready for Y2k, aren't you?" And I have shamelessly copied Greybear's "Got whatever?" crusade in both conversation and writing.

Got printable flyers for distribution during y2k disruptions?

And I've

-- robert waldrop (, August 14, 1999.

I usually don't use the phrase "Y2K" with folks I don't know, because few people have the same idea as I do of what "Y2K" means. I say that I expect prices to go up next year and I want to "get while the getting is cheap".

-- Gus (, August 14, 1999.

As a recent "GI" with limited funds (i.e. already living paycheck to paycheck with most of the checks arlready committed to current living expenses) I haven't had too many occasions to worry about 'drawing attention' at the check-out. Although, I do worry a bit. The first paycheck I got after GI, I went out to one of the chain grocery stores and bought about $100.00 worth of canned goods. As I carted around the store I really felt conspicuous and also wondered what I would say if anyone happened to ask about it. Didn't want to avoid saying y2k, but at the same time, didn't really want to bring it up, either. So... I get to the checkout. A young man, probably upperclass in high school, was the checker. And another young man was bagging, but had to leave in the middle and another about the same aged replaced him. Well, the checker just loved all the cans. He kept gushing to the replacement bagger how he "buried" the last bagger (that the bagger couldn't keep) and how checkers just love it when it's mostly cans. He told me, "Anytime you have lots of cans like this, just come to my line." I mean, he was absolutely gleeful about the whole thing. I have to say that it kind of made my day, that I had made his day by getting so many cans!

-- winter wondering (, August 14, 1999.

Some friends at work presented me with a Y2K tee-shirt, that reads " Y2k Who's ready? Who's toast?" I have worn it while shopping serveral times. I get to hear all kinds of interesting comments (some made directly to me, some not meant for my ears!). One thing for sure, when I purchase a large amount of anything, when I wear the shirt, no one asks me why I am buying it!

Often I am asked if I really believe that anything is going to happen. My standard reply is "I believe in risk management."

-- Dian (, August 14, 1999.

Been shopping Y2K for more than 18 months now.

If a clerk asks me "Is this for Y2K"? I answer "Yes, are you ready?"

Spread the word, the more prepared "we" are, the fewer will be knocking at "our" doors for a handout!

Y2K, It is NOT OK....Be Prepared...

-- helium (, August 15, 1999.

A local sporting goods store is closing, and having a pretty good "going out of business sale", so I went to check it out. They had some good prices, so I bought a few "essentials". Went to the checkout line, and the guy in front of me was buying two of the folding Coleman camping toilets and a book on "simple eating/cooking". I started to plop my 250 rounds of 12 gauge, 1000 rounds of .22 and 200 rounds of .38 on the counter. He takes a good look at my stuff and says "I guess no one will be trying to take YOUR food away"! I leaned over and said in a low voice "I didn't buy any food. I figure I'll just sneak up on people when they're sitting on their portable toilet, shoot them, and take THEIR food". He looked at me for a second, then we both busted out laughing (including the clerk).

Well, guess you had to be there, but it really was funny.

-- Bob (bob@bob.bob), August 16, 1999.

In July I was buying large quantities in a Super Walmart and answered honestly that Y2K was less that 6 month away. and the lady clerk almost fainted when she shouted out "SIX MONTHS" , I have no Idea when she had thought the year 2000 started.

-- rambo (, August 20, 1999.

A few family members and myself made a trip to the nearest Costco (2.5 hours) recently. On checkout the clerk asked what kind of program we were running to be purchasing such large quantities of food, propane tanks, and camping equipment. My brother replies quickly "Family Kitchen" (meaning our families kitchen - LOL)The clerk went on about her business without another word.

I was in Wal-Mart last night and overheard a sales rep at the makeup counter telling her customer what a good price the sale item was - in her comment she included "well if worse comes to worse it will be a good y2k barter item".

As I run around getting my prepps it amazes me how many others in my community are just "business as usual" I have this unrealistic expectation that someone somewhere ought to be running down the street saying "The sky is falling (Y2k is coming - get prepped)but no- one here is giving it a second though (but me it seems).....such is life, and on with the prepps.......

-- New Kid on the Block (, August 29, 1999.

I asked a sales person at COSTCO if they had gas generators.

"No, just electrical ones," she replied.

If she had just answered, "no," I would probably still be looking for one.

-- serio (, September 01, 1999.

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