Will Costco have to change with the times?


Two years ago, my wife and I walked out of our local Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) because the checkout lines were too long. That's not a problem any longer.

On weekends, the place seems busier than a beehive but it is less crowded than it used to be. People -- mostly middle class from what I can tell -- saunter up and down the warehouse store with a year's supply of toothpaste, laundry detergent and the biggest chocolate cakes you have ever seen in your life stuffed into their carts. Of course, there are the free samples. My favorite sample provider is the "crab man." He is an elderly gentleman who pushes seafood dip and bellows in a voice that sounds like it has gargled with rusty nails for decades "you don't have to be a crab to like crabs." Top that off with the $1.50 hot dog-and-soda lunch special and you have got a full afternoon.

Or do you?