Costco has always seemed to hover regally above the shark-infested waters of corporate competition. The company boasts an advertising budget of exactly zero dollars, and they don’t have a PR team to speak of (evidently you don’t need one, when you’ve brought the world $1.50 hotdogs and a pumpkin pie so esteemed it has its own Twitter account).
Unlike fans of its pie, the Seattle-born superstore chain doesn’t have much of a social media presence, which is why it came as a particular surprise when Twitter user Rebecca Mix’s father got hired at a Costco in the Detroit metro area after CEO Craig Jelinek saw her tweets.
Mix writes, “he is but a constantly cheerful man, extremely good at making nachos, who merely dreams of working for costco[sic],” above a photo her father, Jeff, proudly presenting a pan of truly loaded nachos. Screenshots posted to Twitter show the manager of a Costco location in Mix’s area contacting her to say that her tweets had caught the attention of the CEO, and encouraging her father to submit an application.
A tweet of Jeff’s newly minted Costco nametag, posted a month after Mix’s initial tweet, attracted over 11,000 likes. And the outpouring of comments reflect, among other things, a profound tenderness toward a man who, for many Twitter users, evoked their own fathers.
Father’s Day 2021 will be the second, now, that many families have spent at arm’s length (quite literally) because of the pandemic, and perhaps this helps explain the simple magnetism of the story. It’s also compelling to witness a sprawling, multinational company shun the conventions of corporate marketing of which we’ve grown so wary and disillusioned; from any other corporation, this might easily be dismissed as a canny PR stunt. But given the beloved box store’s conspicuous lack of social media presence and stubborn refusal to spend on advertising (which may be a marketing tactic in its own right), it rings with a persuasive authenticity.