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.
Tuesday afternoon BEFORE schools get out. THAT is the ONLY time I will go to Costco. 🙂
To funny…I’d love to see the holiday version of your top 10…nothing kills the holiday spirit like Costco the weekend before a holiday…”Have a happy…just shut up and ring up the stuff…my family needs 36 rolls of toilet paper.”
I make a game of trying to find the best time to go to Costco. (Tuesday evenings. I think.) (Less people, no samples.) (Never, ever on weekends it I can help it OMG.)
Sorry Bridgette, I know it is not funny when you are going through it but reading about it makes me laugh. You are a funny writer girl when you want to be.
Not that you are not completely correct on the food supply, the man, etc, as well as very funny; but Costco actually pays living wages, promotes from within, and provides health insurance. Out of all the other companies doing the same thing, Costco is by far the best one to support
Thanks Mikki. That actually makes me feel better.
I just found this; a Costco just opened near me and I lasted less than five minutes upon crossing the threshold. 🙂
Costco works well with a larger family (I had 3 kids with us, now grown). With just the wife and I are expenditures there have dropped dramatically. However, grocery store prices are outrageous if you pay attention per item and Costco is much less expensive but often the quantities may engender waste. However, with planning it can really make sense and using their AMEX card for eating out and gas provides a very nice gift certificate each February that pays for the membership fee and quite a bit more.
Also, as stated earlier, they are one of the few big companies that pay a fair wage (almost a living wage), with excellent benefits. That cannot be said about Walmart or Target.
it mainly exists for americant lemmings and sheeple who enjoy massive quantities of poor quality junk. Compare/contrast with other big boy countries. americants will do anything for enormous quanitities of cheap junk/”food” under the illusion of “quality” delusions, deceptions, denials. us.
Wow, you are so far off with this comment its funny. Good trolling.
Are you fucking serious? GET OVER YOUR DAMN SELF! Really! Go shop somewhere else and shut your damn mouth. You should be so lucky as to be able to shop where you choose.
How ridiculous they have this unholy alliance with American Express that is the only card they will take. It just screams that they could care less about you but making money then this yearly fee is pure greed also? Very transparent I hadn’t renewed for 3 years and now I remember why
American Express will be replaced by Visa this Spring.
My wife just returned from Costco for the first time. We have three kids, live in Nova Scotia and food prices are high and we were trying Cosco as an option. She found the place utterly depressing and said I could shop there but she’s not stepping foot back in that cavernous, soul sucking place. We just shelled out $68 CAD for the privilege of the Costco experience. Not sure if I’ll take up the charge and stand in the long lines she endured at 1:30 on a Thursday afternoon.
I love this, Bridgette. I knew there was a reason (or 10) I never go to Costco even though I have a freakin card. Thank you for reminding me why I don’t go. Now I don’t feel quite so guilty!
I don’t understand why but a lot of people stare at me weirdly at Costco..
I just cancelled my Costco membership after just one month (Calgary deerfoot store)
Here are my reasons: most of the items I buy and bought from Costco where cheaper at superstore if not the same price, lack of options on the other hand superstore carries multiple flavor options for the same product like perogies, Eggo waffles etc., huge lines, not enough space to move around with these huge carts, I kept bumping carts and on top of it, I have to pay for a membership!!! Highliner Frozen Cod 2kg bag at Costco 19.99 and at Superstore its 19.89 …. Go figure … I am totally confused to pay extra $60 for membership …
Shh don’t tell everyone that costo is a rip off except for their chickens….shhhh
THIS IS AWESOME AND SO TRUE!
So true, and the humor of the scenarios are accurate. I hate those damn samples, b/c of the stupid, fat, and slow people who stand spread out blocking passing aisleways. For those of us who actually want to get in, shop, and get out…its a futile hope. To some people, its like a ‘destination trip,’ they stand and block products and end caps (where carts need to turn) so they can argue about prices (compares to where – I wonder). Just as the author said…the damn exit line to check your cart and reciept just makes the savings almost null. Thankfully, my kids are older and though they eat more, don’t really eat the brands or products Costco carries. So, even very infrequent / limited trips to Costco serves a purpose for our household, I know the hours and time of the month to go…when these lines are short and efficient. (Secret – the tims is not the beginning of the month).
I quit Costco and have never been happier. Now I go to the local supermarket that has plenty of parking and I don’t need to show ID to enter. I also no longer need to worry about buying Hulk-sized portions of food, I can use coupons if I want, and I can check out using self-checkout that most supermarkets have.
One more thing I hate about Costco is the high pressure sales push to make you upgrade to the Executive Membership (they will essentially tell you that you are an idiot for using their basic membership) . Yes, I know they will refund the executive membership fee if you don’t buy enough over the year, but then you have to wait in the “Returns/Service” line to get your refund.
Everything about shopping at Costco is a pain. The reason is because selling memberships is they primary goal instead of customer service.
You lost me at “cheap food is killing our country”. Clearly you have never been poor.
God I hate the samples too but some stuff you have to try because many of the items they sell well just suck. Take the granola Kirkland bars taste like cardboard and ya buy like fifty and even the raccoons wont eat them. many of the prepped food is awful like mac and cheese yuk, where is the garbage can you I can spit this out. Yes they pay better than others but they also work these people like sled dogs, those people bust their rears for the money and benefits. Yeah no the one standing at the door that started 20 years ago. Watch the check outs and you will see if they dont ” make their numbers” there is hell to pay. Watch the employees pushing carts when its 5 degrees in the snow and decide they are well paid when you shove your cart into a corner. Watch them try to load a huge item into your mini van.. make it fit. Gosh did i not bring straps to secure my load. Just decided I needed a shuffle board.
And yes you have to pay to play. Im sorry but the little bit of savings is not worth the stress the huge lines and the horrid customers. What a privilege to pay for this fun. What is your time worth? Yes you can return food if you dont like it.. yeah drive to the store stand in a long line to return the product after finding a a place to park walk the big lot return walk back to your car and drive two miles back home, waste a half hour of your life to return the crappy granola bars.
There is a method to this madness, for Costco. Why do you think they move things everynight? or put cheap chickens at the back cause you will almost always put more stuff in your cart than you intended while you search for your favorite item that got moved last night or hump to the back to get your cheap chicken. Did you really save money? Maybe on the gas station thats about it. The rest is just a game that you lose. They got Phych 101 down. Ask yourself did you leave with more than you came for more times than not? Who wins here with saving when you buy stuff you dont need or want. Does your fat behind need 12 muffins?, cant buy six Oh no, not allowed. gotta be 12, yeah then stand a wait while an employee has to run back to the far corner of the warehouse while you wait to get your other six cause common sense says well if I buy six… Am I supposed to read the signs.. What ,Why? Yeah I need a five pound bag of Doritos.. and a shuffle board.
K.I.N.D.R.E.D. S.P.I.R.I.T. I went from hah!..to muffled guffaw..to audible extended laugh…thank you! And by the way I found this by just randomly searching “Costco S***ks”
Thanks! I wrote this quite a few years ago, but my feelings have not changed!
White racist democrats that work at Costco suck . I am a minority so I guess according to white democrats I know what I am talking about
About those jars of pickles. Old Ukrainian use them to knock down Russian drones.
Wow, this post brings back some memories. Once the kids grew up and moved out we stopped going to Costco but your tongue in cheek story is right on the mark.
On the serious side of your post, you are spot on. Americans are terribly wasteful and cheap food is killing our country.
The commenter who opined “clearly you have never been poor,” misses the point completely. When it’s cheaper to buy a gigantic box of Fruit Loops than fresh food or you can better stretch your food budget by visiting the “clown” or the “king,” or when you go through a poor section of town and see a dearth of quality food markets and a proliferation of fast food joints, then you know there’s a problem
Love your blog.
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Thanks so much Paul. Surprisingly, I’ve got a lot of hate mail over my Costco blog, but you clearly see the same thing I do.
Paul sent me here! 😀 Great post. I’m in Toronto and have had a Costco membership for years. Normally, I buy for more than just me – usually 2 or 3 friends will go in on an item … especially produce. Given this, there’s rarely waste. Last visit, I almost bought up the entire supply of feminine products for friends in Cuba. It’s the best deal in town for bulk items if you know the prices.
There’s a lot of annoyances about Costco, and for me, the people who shop there are more annoying than the rules of the store. People who stand still is a BIG ONE! Especially right at the entrance when you first enter.
Thanks for an entertaining read. 😀
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Thank you so much for visiting my blog, Eden! You are so right, it’s really the customers at Costco that make a shopping trip there an exercise in patience.
That’s so awesome that you are able to purchase feminine products for your friends in Cuba. That’s the best use of the membership I’ve heard.
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Having read this I thought it was really enlightening. I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this content together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!
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Thanks, Milford! Glad you liked it.
What makes this post great is I have never seen a costco, am not a woman, but have a son and have taken him to Wal-Mart to give the wife a break and thus find this almost hilariously relatable. Especially the Sad Cash Songs. Here, link for the bother of reading my lame comment… https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3Fn36l_z3WY
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I’m glad you found it relatable!
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