Pocketfuls of Sunshine

Costco: everything in mass quantity, including people

Posted on: August 27, 2008

So I’m joining the masses and have begun writing a blog. There’ll be countless topics, some of which will undoubtedly be about family and friends. And then there will be posts about nothing. One thing is certain, however. There will be cake!

When Costco opened near my house, I was geeked. I loved Costco. It had everything you could want, in massive quantities and at minimal prices. They even had non-fat frozen yogurt, chicken bakes, and the best darn cake money can buy for 16 bucks. Costco was my favorite store. Until, that is, it became everyone else’s favorite store too.

In the past year, it has become ridiculously busy. Now, I’m never one to shy away from busy stores and traffic jams (after all I am a “city” girl), but this is over the top. With two small kids in tow, I am used to parking far from other vehicles. You would think I would want to park close, but after seeing an old guy hit the gas instead of the brakes and hit five of the six cars in the lane at Meijer (mine was the sixth that somehow miraculously didn’t get hit), I don’t ever want to take the chance that someone will plow into me or the kids. After all, it takes me several minutes to load both children and the bag of diapers, bottles, bibs, and wipes into the car. Not to mention that I have to find a spot for all the purchases amidst the double stroller, shopping cart cover, and extra clothes that are stashed in the back of the SUV. I seriously need a minivan (but we’ll save that for another post.)

Anyway, as I am heading down a lane (away from the store to get further away), a car backs up fast. I have no choice but to slam on the brakes and hit the horn. She stopped. I still don’t know how she didn’t hit me. It must have been a mere inch or two between our two cars. Strike one. Costco parking lots are dangerous.

I get the kids inside and we do our shopping. I know what I need: diapers (2 boxes please!), formula, toilet paper, water, and pop. I head to the back of the store, but I can’t get anywhere. There are people everywhere. Stopped in the middle of the aisles, staring at signs, tasting food from the old woman who always yells out in her accent, “NO MSG!” I swear it’s the only thing she can say in English. But, I digress. But seriously, there are so many people here that I wonder how anyone can say the economy is struggling. People are spending fools! Strike two. Too many people standing still and in the way. And, for the record, my infant son Bubby (no, that’s not his name and yes, I feel compelled to say that given the wide selection of baby names I have seen lately) starts fussing right at this point, his cries no doubt the result of a gas bubble.

We finally get our items in the basket (a miracle in and of itself as Bubby’s carseat takes up the majority of the basket and Beanie, my barely-a-toddler daughter, sits up front). This is when I realize that I left the 40 lb monster stroller in the trunk and start thinking about where I’m going to put these huge purchases.

We check out and head to the concession area since I promised Beanie I would get some frozen yogurt and share it with her (a treat since she is teething something fierce). There’s a line, of course. Then I look at the nearby tables set up for people to eat. They are all taken. Seriously, the Costco concession stand is the new McDonald’s. Some of the patrons don’t even have purchases with them. I think they come just for the hot dogs and pizza. And free refills on pop.

I get the yogurt but by now Bubby is absolutely done with Costco, and so am I. We head to the door as Beanie is leaning forward trying to lick the yogurt and I’m trying to juggle that, the 80 lb cart I now have, and my stupid receipt so some sap at the door can check to make sure I didn’t steal that massive box of size 4 diapers.

We come to a halt as I see a huge line of people, waiting to have their receipts checked. We already paid, and normally this doesn’t bother me, but as I said Costco already had two strikes and this was about to end the inning for me. I wait and wait, and finally some teenage kid working the door takes my receipt and says, “How’s it going?” How’s it going? You tell me. My baby is screaming, my ice cream is melting, and I can barely push the cart full of items you are checking that I didn’t steal. But I didn’t say that.

“Fine,” I say. Why do people say fine when they don’t mean it? Anyway, I told him fine and waited for him to look over the items, draw a line through the receipt, and then, he turns it over and draws a smiley face. Is that really necessary? Why not draw a unicorn? A sandy beach? Why draw anything? There is a huge line of people waiting, all of whom are probably annoyed that my baby is screaming to get the heck out of there. Strike three. I’m out.

I’m sure I’ll go back. It’s like cars and gas. You need both and hate what they cost you.

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