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Salt Lake Costco bracing for Palin visit

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 8 2009 12:00 a.m. MST

Sarah Palin waves while holding her son Trig at a book signing for "Going Rogue" at the Mall of America on Monday.

Andy King, Associated Press

Better bundle up if you want to see Sarah Palin during her book tour's only stop in Utah — you're probably in for a long wait in the cold outside the Salt Lake Costco.

Palin isn't scheduled to arrive at the discount warehouse for her three-hour book-signing appearance until noon Wednesday, but store manager Kevin Campbell said he expects the self-described political maverick's fans to start lining up the night before.

"We'll be here all night long," Campbell said, adding the store plans to set up portable toilets to help make the crowd comfortable, as well as have marketers on hand to sell the $50 store memberships that are required to enter Costco.

Also, 1,000 tickets for the book signing will be handed out before the store opens its doors, he said. Although that's normally 10 a.m., he said the store will likely open earlier Wednesday to get people out of the cold.

"It's really a matter of crowd control and making it convenient and fun and safe," Campbell said. "I look at Costco like the Disneyland of retailing. This is a brand-new ride and it's lots of fun and we're excited to offer it."

Even those customers who manage to get a ticket, though, may end up without an autographed copy of "Going Rogue," Palin's memoir that details her experience as the Republican vice presidential candidate in 2008.

"She's guaranteeing about 500," Campbell said. "Literally, you can't sign 1,000 books in 180 minutes. It's just not physically possible."

His hope is that Palin will at least briefly address the crowd. But that's not anticipated, and Palin is not set to do anything else here before heading to Reno, Nev., for a Wednesday evening book signing.

That has state GOP Chairman Dave Hansen irked. He tried unsuccessfully to arrange an event for Utah Republicans featuring Palin, but was turned down. Hansen said after weeks of attempting to reach a Palin publicist, he was finally told she is only signing books on the tour, not making political appearances.

"I just think it's rather strange that if this woman plans on having a career in politics, wants to run for president or whatever, she wouldn't do at least something to get in touch with the party faithful in the state," he said. "It would just be nice if she gave back to the people who made her."

Instead, he said, "the only way to see her is if you pay your $28.99 (the book is discounted to $15.79 at Costco) and stand in line and watch her sign her name for 10 seconds."

e-mail: lisa@desnews.com

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