Top 10 reasons I hate Costco OR sometimes people suck

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.)

1) PARKING

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.

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Question everything and then make rice crispy treats

I am not sure where it came from, but my parenting style is basically an obsessive quest to question everything.

My mother wasn’t that way. Her parenting was pretty instinctual. She spanked us when she thought we needed it, gave us plenty of kisses, encouraged us to play outside and rejected the abusive way she was raised.

My dad was very hands-off. He did try to teach us to be civil, not use profanity, and to have an appreciation for art and theater. However, I don’t think he gave parenting much thought.

So although I can’t trace the origin, I have been on an information quest from almost the second of conception of my boy. It started with pregnancy nutrition and growing a healthy baby. I’m embarrassed to admit that I actually played classical musical through headphones on my stomach, just in case that actually would help my baby be smarter.

I even created a website in which I updated WEEKLY, sometimes DAILY, my pregnancy symptoms and the growth of my boy. How obnoxious. Wow.

I then moved onto researching labor and delivery. I read everything I could. I was like a crazed maniac trying to solve some complicated mystery. I don’t know how many books, articles, websites I read, but it was too many. Far too many.

After he was born it didn’t stop. I subscribed to a newsletter that told me every milestone my baby should be on, and then flatly rejected it. I read book after book to try to establish what felt right to me. I questioned EVERYTHING. I took nothing for granted.

Why did I do all this you ask? It’s not because I love my children more than anyone else. Nope. It’s not that I wanted to “one-up” my mom or anyone else. No way. It was because I wanted to be good at something. Really good at it. I wanted to rock this motherhood thing. I wanted to be perfect.

Perfection is a tall order. It will come as no surprise that I was constantly disappointing myself.

I remember when my little girl was just a few days old I got sick. Nursing had been a nightmare. I was confused because I’d had this beautiful home birth and now things were awful. I remember crying, shaking from a high fever, digging my toes into the carpet in immense pain and still feeling guilt that my 2-year-old was watching a cartoon.

What the hell was wrong with me?

When I finally got help the lactation consultant actually yelled at me. It was just what I needed.

“You have nothing to prove,” she said. “We all need help.”

I accepted that because I had no choice. I did not like it. Not one bit.

Over the last six years I have had to learn that lesson over and over. Needing help does not make you weak, it makes you human.

I am still learning to trust my instincts and do what feels right, even when others look at me like I am crazy. I wish I could get there quicker and that I could just relax and stop questioning so much.

This leads me to rice crispy treats.

I have so many food issues that I could write 50 blogs about those and not even scratch the surface. So let’s just say, I’m crazy when it comes to food.

I have consciously tried not to pass those issues onto my kids. I nursed both kiddos until almost 3. I made homemade baby food and didn’t let them taste sugar for as long as I could.

I try, REALLY I DO, to not use food as reward. My kids know what GMOs are and about organic food. They know why I’m picky about the animals we eat and have seen images of what commercial chicken farms look like.

I want my kids to be informed consumers in every aspect, particularly about food. However, I do think that sometimes I am robbing them of simple pleasures that other kids have.

That brings us back to rice crispy treats.

My kids have seen them and tasted them at a friend’s house. I have casually called them “chemically laden poison.” Yep.

That’s not giving them food issues at all. Sigh.

So this week, as I’m busy healing and digging myself out of depression, I decided to just do something crazy. What if we just made rice crispy treats? No reason. No questions.

My first instinct was to buy organic everything and modify the recipe (which is what I normally do.) But I fought that urge. Not this time.

I bought the Kellogg brand cereal and the Kraft marshmallows. We tied on our aprons and prepared to follow the recipe on the box.

one

Look at those happy faces. They were very excited, but they had some questions for me:

“But don’t these have GMOs?”

“You said they are bad.”

“Are you sure about this mom?”

“It’s OK to have them once in a while, ” I said. “We don’t eat them all the time and I thought it would be fun.”

I was proud that they questioned it, but also sad. Maybe they should not know about such things as small kids. Maybe I’m wrong in teaching them about our polluted food supply.

No. Stop analyzing and questioning. It’s just rice crispy treats. Move on.

two

We added the butter and marshmallows. The kids took turns stirring them on the stove top and watching it all melt into goo.

“That’s cool,” my boy said.

three

I honestly can’t remember ever making these and was shocked at how easy they are to make. In just a few minutes we were done.

They decided to use the pumpkin cookie cutter to make them more seasonal. We all wished we had some M&Ms to make a face on them. Maybe next time.

We ate all four for dessert that night and they were unquestionably delicious.