Costco

1175 N. 205th Street
Seattle, WA 98133
206.546.0480
www.costco.com

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It feels good to shop at Costco because you know that the woman checking your groceries and the man serving you hot buttered bread are making an average of $20+ per hour—a living wage—along with receiving health benefits, vacation time, and sick leave.  Thank you Jeffrey Brotman, founder and chairman of Costco and a generous Seattle philanthropist;  Jim Sinegal, founder; and  Craig Jelinek, current CEO, for your vision!

Thank you also for your fine wines, delicious cheeses, big screen TVs, organic produce, diamond bracelets, gigantic jugs of mayonnaise, enormous bags of potato chips, stacks of pants of every size and color, patio furniture, beach towels, pots and pans, and air conditioners.

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Thank you, also, for sometimes placing surprising things next to each other in the gigantic aisles—flags and electric toothbrushes, for example—and for the riot of color and texture that is your wonderful store.

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Costco is a joyful noise for those of us in battery- or pusher-powered wheelchairs.  For those who push their own wheelchairs, it may also be a delight.  One improvement for us:  lap-sized baskets that we can carry.

In the old days, my pusher and I would grab a cart and take the foot rests off my wheelchair, so I could thread my legs through the bottom of the cart, and wrap my feet around the cart poles.  Then, I’d grip the cart handle and push the cart, while my pusher would push me.  In this way, we would “train” around the store, giggling, but rarely getting a glance from other shoppers.

An arthritic shoulder makes our old method impossible, and this time my pusher and I did fine using a bag suspended from the back of my wheelchair and checking out twice.  But if we had not brought that bag, we could not have shopped there because there were no hand-held shopping baskets to be had.

For those with canes and walkers, please note that there are electric carts and loaner wheelchairs right at the entrance.   I definitely recommend them.   Whether you’re in the Costco we visited or a different store, you are entering a vast space filled with things you will want to look at.  It will help you to be looking at them from a seated position!

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One thing to remember:  You need to be a member to shop at Costco.  Membership is $55/year.  It’s a deal, too,  not just in the savings you will earn with your purchases but because your membership also buys you something to do on a rainy Saturday afternoon, a delicious journey from one food sample to another, and a clear conscience about frequenting a business run by people who care about their employees.

Parking:  There are many handicapped spaces in the parking lot adjacent to the store, and, if you’re there on a Saturday, they will be full.  Keep looking though.  There are a couple of handicapped spaces in the tire area next to the  parking spaces marked with “Tire Sales Only” signs, and there are other spaces close to the entrance that open up.

Entrances:  The entryway is wide, flat, and smooth.  Everything here is big, including the doorways.

Aisles and Tables:  You could probably drive a car and a couple of accompanying motorcycles down the main aisles of the store.  The smaller aisles that branch off the big ones would probably only take the car.  You will not be able to reach all heights yourself, but the staff will help you if you ask.

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There are tables at the front of the store where you can sit and eat your cheesy slice or your famous Costco hot dog.  These are picnic-style tables, and it is easy to roll a chair up to the end of one of them.

Restrooms:  It’s a loooong way to the restrooms, located at the west end of the store.  Once you get inside, it’s a loooong way to the handicapped stall.   My pusher stepped it off at about 70 feet.  It was too far for me to walk in with my cane, as I usually do, so I had to warn the women in the restroom that my male pusher would be coming in with me.  This is okay according to ADA rules, but it is probably not okay for other women using the space who like privacy.  Once you get there, the handicapped stall is fine, but the toilet paper is mounted low, and reaching it was a bit of a stretch.

Photos of interior space online:  Not on Costco’s site, but on Google Images.

Photos of entrances online:  On Google Images.

Reservations taken:  Not needed.   Tell them Spoken Wheel highly recommended them!

What the wheelchair pusher has to say:  It’s really good!  It’s a five wheel trip, except for the bathroom situation and the need for a basket.  A special handicapped restroom would be a wonderful addition.

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