WOODINVILLE — A lone white Costco shopping cart with a cult following had sentiment spinning out of control last week.
The cart’s color led to its fame and nearly to its demise.
What’s up with that?
The cart, a white unicorn in the herd of slate gray metal workhorses, for four years went by the name Blanco.
Yes, you read that right. The cart has a name. And people call it by name. It even had a worker name tag, until people kept stealing it as a souvenir.
Push it around the store and you get a dozen people saying “Hi, Blanco” or “Lucky, you got Blanco.”
You are no longer just another ordinary shopper when seen with the beloved Blanco.
Turns out not everyone loved Blanco.
The white cart faced being decommissioned over the weekend under a cloud of mystery and controversy.
The reason: “It’s classified,” a cashier said.
The word in the aisles was that someone could be offended by the name. Blanco means white in Spanish.
“Yep. That’s the bottom line,” said an employee who didn’t want to be identified.
The Costco corporate office did not respond to a request for a comment.
Social media exploded when news broke last week that Blanco was being eliminated. A “Save Blanco” group was started. Diehard fans threatened to picket the store on Sunday. Most expressed sadness over the loss.
All over a shopping cart that is so much more than just a shopping cart.
The mythical cart’s story begins when the store’s fleet of white carts was replaced by gray carts in the land of Woodinville Costco #747. “Yet one dared to hang on, to resist the insurrection,” Blanco’s bio reads.
The white cart was discovered in a nearby ravine in 2017 and placed back in service.
A worker named the cart Blanco and founded “The Legendary Costco Cart” Facebook page that has some 2,500 followers.
Blanco became part of Costco culture, with first-person Facebook posts about life inside the warehouse and parking lot lore.
The day in the life of a shopping cart, told with wit and humor.
“Does this cart corral make my butt look big?” Blanco asks when its backside is shown in the front row of carts.
“Give me your tired boxes, your poor containers, your huddled corrugated masses yearning to be recycled, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore,” a post reads of the cart on a box run.
Numerous photos show shoppers beaming with joy taking Blanco for a spin as they fill up on Kirkland supplies. It takes the drudgery out of buying jumbo packs of toilet paper and paper towels.
“It’s dumb, but it’s fun,” said Costco regular Neil Enns, Seattle Storm team photographer and frequent contributor to the cart’s Facebook page. “It’s just a quirky little thing.”
The cart, when Enns gets it, makes him feel “like a badass,” he said. “I’ve got the best cart in the whole store.”
His wife made him a mini white cart ornament for Christmas last year.
Blanco joined the mayor at the town’s summer parade to haul water bottles to hand out while blasting Taylor Swift music. It was loaned out to charity events with Santa Claus, a food bank and grade school. At work, the cart was gussied up in garland for holidays.
Comments praised the cart for its service.
This skeptical reporter — trained in the maxim, “If your mother says she loves you check it out” — had to see it for herself.
Prowling the Woodinville lot, a white cart was nowhere to be found in the massive shopping cart corral or pens of gray metal.
Hmmm, where was this Blanco?
“Somebody took it in,” a cart wrangler said.
My heart raced. I was 150,000-square-feet away from finding Blanco. My husband grabbed a gray cart. “I am going to pretend I don’t know you,” he said. And he headed off.
My search spanned electronics, clothes, meat, toys, booze. Aisle after aisle, nothing but gray carts.
Blanco had to be somewhere …
Then, the white metal unicorn appeared in the distance. At the end of a frozen food aisle, a tall guy stood by the cart, pondering the goods behind glass.
He’d already piled about a dozen items in the white cart when I accosted him. He knew the legend of Blanco and was sympathetic to my mission.
“Do you want to swap carts?” he asked, reading my mind.
It was my lucky day.
For the next 20 minutes, Blanco led the way as I loaded its sturdy frame with boxes of wine, coffee, dried mangoes and “limit 2” cases of water.
Blanco didn’t make toilet paper and paper towels magically appear, but it did make me get noticed. Blanco fans were everywhere. I felt special. Or as Enns put it, “badass.”
Heck, I was ready to join the uprising to keep the cart with such magical powers.
Fate intervened, or maybe it was pressure from shoppers: The cart was granted a last-minute stay of execution.
On Saturday, Blanco was given a new name: Dash.
A new spin was put on its backstory to try to explain away the name change to make it a happily ever after tale, which the world needs more of.
Dash was also given a name tag.
The Facebook page was changed to “Dash The Legendary Costco Cart.”
Carts are the unsung heroes of getting food on our table.
Yet they are taken for granted. Shoved against curbs. Slammed into rows. Abandoned in the road. Or, like everyone’s favorite white cart, dumped in a ravine.
Blanco never made “Employee of the Month.”
Maybe Dash will.