A Healthy Utah Parable, or what a trip to Costco taught me about healthcare

Earlier this week, nine members of the House Business and Labor Committee went into Costco together during prime free sample hour and refused to taste anything.

Doesn’t that seem a little odd to you?  Costco was offering pizza, sushi, fresh fruit, corndogs and granola – something for everybody.  WHO REFUSES FREE SAMPLES?!  Apparently free was a little bit too expensive.

Costco asked the legislators if the bulk grocer could do a two-year free sample program in Utah, just to see if people like it. Costco even told the committee members that, either way, prices in store would see slight increases to fund free samples in other states.

A majority of customers – hungry customers – wanted the samples; they were paying for them anyway.  These customers still wanted the samples even after being told that the samples might disappear after two years; better perhaps to starve later then starve now.  Maybe they could even stash samples in their pockets and stockpile in case the program did, indeed, end.

But the decision makers balked.  “We don’t support Costco,” they said.

“We prefer Sam’s Club,” they said (not a direct quote, people).

They then suggested that everyone come to Sam’s Club, where the grass was much greener.  But Sam’s Club didn’t have room for everyone – oh, and their food sucks compared to Costco’s food.

Utah’s citizenry insisted on sticking with Costco, their free samples would have made life better for more than 100,000 people, but the committee members, a fairly accurate representation of the entire House, decided against the people. “Sam’s Club doesn’t steal our money by offering free samples!” they said.

“Besides, management allows us in the back where we eat catered buffets,” they said.

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