Like millions of moms everywhere, I am primarily responsible for grocery shopping for my family. Should be no big deal.
Yet it often causes me extreme stress. But then again, just about anything can cause me to spiral into singing sad Johnny Cash songs alone in my car.
But still. Shopping sucks.
While I am aware of how incredibly lucky we are to live in a country where food is plentiful and relatively inexpensive, unfortunately, I also know our food supply is poisoned. At times I find it overwhelming to feed my family good food at a price I can afford.
This brings me to Costco.
For years my hippy-side kept me from being a member. Cheap food is killing our country, extreme waste and other generalized “Fight the Man” feelings swirled around and would prevent me from doing it.
However, I am on a budget and the prices do make a difference. I only go once a month and try really, really hard to stick to my list. I’ve thought about making blinders, but then everyone would be staring at the blinders and the last thing I want is a bunch of people staring at me.
So after procrastinating a bunch, I finally feel guilty enough about having spent the money to join that I make myself go.
Here are my top 10 reasons that Costco sucks the good from my soul. (That might be overstating things a bit. Just a bit.)
You would think with 10,000 parking spaces that it would be easy to find an empty one. Nope. I have to join the throng of sad people driving in circles, hovering and waiting for someone to come out to their car. Of course, once said person arrives at their car, I have to wait for them to unload a giant pallet of food into their tiny Mini Cooper. That does provide a laugh or two, but then they always decide that maybe they should take a break now and chat on their cell phone for five minutes before backing out. Do you not see my blinker? I am not circling again. Someone will take this spot. All the cars behind me can honk. I am not moving. This spot is mine.
2) ENORMOUS STUPID CART
I know that someone designed these freak carts and thought they were being so clever: We should totally make the cart big enough to fit a shit load of stuff and two kids. Maybe this cart designer won an award and is so proud of their design. “Best Cart in the World for Making Kids Fight” it should read. Ugh. One kid sits in the cart and one walks. Period. That is the way it is done people. Allowing them both to sit next to each other is mean to parents everywhere. Now they are both eye level with you so you can see them poke each other and cry right in your face. Thanks designer. You rock.
3) SHOWING MY CARD
You wait in line to go into the store. That’s right. You wait for the privilege of walking though the door. There is a person, a smug-looking person generally, who waves people in and clicks some magical clicker. Is there a limit to the amount of people they let in, or are they just curious how many idiots will all cram in at once? Not sure. But this is what gets me mad. I will watch. Look. Smug-person is not even looking at anyone’s card. I don’t need to dig mine out. I’ll just walk on by. “Excuse me. Can I see your card?” No you may not! I am trying to sneak in. You caught me. Call the Costco police please.
4) SAMPLES AND THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE THEM
If you have never been to Costco, let me tell you about samples. You may not know that they give out free food on toothpicks all over the store. It’s like a free lunch or some crap like that. I could care less about the samples and would HAPPILY, JOYFULLY, GLEEFULLY pass by them singing, “I don’t want your stupid sample.” But I can’t. My kids will cry and yell, “mom, free jellybeans!!!” I know…so I have to queue up with everyone else. Often they are “cooking” the sample and we have to wait. Wait!!! The line gets long and people get aggressive and mean. Oh, and they are on to you sending your kids alone to get samples while you shop. Tried that. Turns out moms have to be with them. So stupid.
5) NOT FINDING THOSE APPLE CHIPS AGAIN
Without blinders, I have to show incredible will power. I could spend so much if I bought all the stuff that I think looks interesting. I find myself saying, “that juicer looks awfully nice,” “that is an incredible price on 100 gallons of wine,” “books!” and “I really have been thinking about getting some blueberry bushes.” So when I find something that I really like, I expect it to be there again. There are these organic cinnamon apple chip things with a bear on the bag. I swear they hid them. Every time they are located somewhere else. Every. Single. Time. Sometimes I give up the hunt and mumble sadly to myself. Other times I actually ask, as if someone would know what I’m talking about. Stop moving my chips!
6) PEOPLE WHO STAND STILL
I don’t get it. They just stand there. Maybe their cart is stuck in gum. Maybe they have short-circuited and just shut down. Maybe they are self-centered jerks who don’t care they are blocking everyone behind them. Whatever the case, I hate them. Then there is the lady who pushes past you belting, “excuse me.” Really? Cause I am choosing to stand behind this moron all day. I didn’t want to go forward either. By all means, rude lady, push past me.
7) SO MUCH WASTE
My hippy-side goes a little haywire and sometimes freaks when I see people’s carts. I try to tell myself they are shopping for an entire camp or compound somewhere and that is why they have 20 chickens and 5 enormous jars of pickles. But some part of me cries a little at the thought of how much of the food bought at Costco ends up in the trash. I have visions of starving people and I start to get mad and sick to my stomach. Time to shove some free jellybeans in my mouth and move on.
8) THE LINE THAT HAS NO END
My cart is full and I’m ready to fork over my money. Sounds like a simple matter, really. Not at Costco. No. The lines are so long that you just join one and actually have no idea which one you are in. It’s a fun game. Wonder what register I will end up at? Sure hope that lady with three carts is not in my line. Oh, joy, she is. Now she needs them to go grab something she could not find. Of course she does.
9) PEOPLE WHO ASK QUESTIONS
The moment of payment has almost arrived. Next in line! I organize all my groceries with barcode showing, so they can just scan and I can go. I have my card ready. My kids have abandoned the cart now and are running circles around me. We play games like “why do you think that man is yelling?” and, “who do you think that kid belongs to?” When the lady in front of me, the one with only 5 items that I was just chatting to about the weather, decides to ask about the American Express credit card offer. And she has a lot of questions. Apparently she has been thinking of them the entire time in line and she does not want to go wait at customer service for the answers. She needs them now. Don’t worry lady. I’ll wait.
10) ANOTHER FREAKING LINE, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
You would think that would be the end, right? Victory! The stuff is paid for and we are happily munching apple chips and high-fiving. But then we have to wait in line. Again. For real. I am not making this up. You have to wait for someone to look at your receipt and make a judgey face. “Looks like you love vegetables” he says to me. I glare back. He draws two smiley faces on the receipt for my kids. One has a bow. I want to rip it up and scream at him. But I smile and make my way to the car.
Once the groceries are loaded up, the kids buckled in and the cart returned…I sit and space out for a few minutes.
Oh, I am aware of the car with the blinker. I see you and I know you want my spot.
I don’t care anymore.
I need a minute.