Friday, October 25, 2013

Schadenfreude and Costco

Schadenfreude is taking delight in someone's misfortune - a German word, it's common English usage now.

Sometimes, when I see articles about Costco taking delight in troubles, I wonder if the author isn't experiencing a little schadenfreude.

Costco is a successful company that delivers a quality product with good customer service, and Costco's employees make a living wage.  For all these reasons, Costco engenders envy and jealousy.

When Costco sells a product that is recalled, news articles proliferate. When Costco is sued, it's big news.

Recently, a woman in the Imperial Valley, California, Costco managed to get locked inside Costco at night. Admittedly I don't know the facts of the case. I did read that she wasn't a Costco employee but was employed by a vendor with a kiosk in the store. After two hours, she pulled the fire alarm to be let out, and the police log notes that she expressed anger that Costco didn't apologize.

Perhaps this story got picked up by the news media because of schadenfreude; people liking to read about Costco making mistakes? 

But, maybe not. Maybe it's newsworthy because spending the night in Costco sounds like fun to many people.  The story reminded me of "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankwiler", a children's book about a girl and her little brother, who run away, hide, and live for a while in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York city.  That always sounded like great fun to me; getting locked up in Costco sounds pretty good too.

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