I hate all forms of shopping, except online shopping. I guess the older I get, the less patience I have for crowds of people. And I know that’s horrible, but I’m trying to be honest here. Costco is probably my most dreaded place with its shopping carts running about like bumper cars, food samples I can never eat, and the smell of Polish dogs being the only good thing about the parking lot.
Of course, I had to go to Costco yesterday with my mom to help her out. You know I love you when I agree to go to Costco with you. But know this: unless you’re my grandmother and you need the cart to help yourself walk, I WILL be driving that cart in that crazy store.
So there we are, my mom and I, braving Costco like all the other people who apparently don’t have to work on Fridays. Like, seriously, does everyone work from home like I do or what? Although our Costco memberships don’t expire until next month, and you can renew online nowadays, my mom insists on renewing IN PERSON. Some lady and her granddaughter are taking their sweet time with the customer service rep, who is the only ONE person helping out for membership. I guess that makes sense, because they need all the manpower they can get in Returns.
There are people returning toilet paper because it’s not the right kind of fluffy, someone’s blender broke on the first try, and a lady bought her husband the wrong size socks. The Returns line is like the monkey cage at the zoo, except there are no metal bars. I’m glad we aren’t returning anything, because if we were, I’m thinking that I would need a bar–and not the metal kind, if you know what I mean.
However, our line has some tension for a good five minutes. The lady with her granddaughter is still taking forever (and by “forever” I mean that I am temporarily a 12-yr-old not getting something quick enough) but my mom and I stand by. Then a woman gets in line behind us, but seems to have no knowledge of personal space. She stands in a way that really impatient people–even more impatient than I–do when they think it’s going to get them ahead of other people. You know the type: they think their errand is more important than everyone else’s, and besides, it’s only going to take 30 seconds. R-i-g-h-t.
So she’s standing right behind me, but slightly out of line, and I can hear her muttering and sighing deeply. “Gosh, this is taking so long…” Really, lady? Longer than the 10 seconds you’ve been standing behind me, breathing some of my air?
Finally, the Costco heavens open, two people are helped at once–in less than a minute–and my mom is renewing our memberships. Now that she’s feeling happy about doing this in person, I feel like an ass for arguing that she could have done this all online and saved us time. I mean, seriously? It took less than ten minutes and it’s not like I had anywhere important to go.
Then the shopping excursion commences. We go to get a present for my little sister’s birthday and I’m thinking that the rest of our experience will be uneventful. Wrong.
“You can’t have my apples,” teases an older man in the aisle.
Um, excuse me, but WHAT? We don’t want your apples, we don’t want to talk, and we’re busy. Can’t you see this, sir? But no, my mom–who, by the way, had a medical procedure this morning and is still on meds, at this point, that are equivalent to 3 martinis–decides to answer back. “Oh, why can’t we have your apples?”
And I just lean on the cart and want to shoot myself in the foot, wishing that Harry Potter’s cloak of invisibility would present itself to me NOW.
My mom starts walking next to the Apple Fiend and asks where he got the apples so she can get her own later. Meanwhile, I find my sister’s gift and have to shout at my mom 3 times until she hears me. Typically, I have to call her twice, but the meds she’s on today make it 3. “Mom! Is this the one?” She leaves the old man’s side and says yes, and I haul the big box into our cart.
Note: My mom is totally fine, by the way. And if she’s reading this (but she won’t): I love you, Mom.
Next, we get laundry detergent in another aisle, and just when I think we’ve escaped Apple Man, he’s there, staring us down–no, like LITERALLY staring us down, apples and all–so I talk abnormally loud to my mom, making up a bunch of stuff and talking about moving out, so Apple Man doesn’t interrupt us. It works and I’m relieved. Though, I’ve now upset my mom about talking on the subject of moving–and not just out, but to a different city–and she says something like, “Well don’t rush it…” I refrain from using an expletive in my response and Mom just rolls her eyes at me. “Hey,” I point out, “I could’ve cussed.”
We stumble upon the meats and cheese section, where all the food samples abound. Except I can’t enjoy anything because it’s all breaded or glutenized in some form and my mom tries the samples while giving me sad looks. She refrains from telling me how good everything is, but I can see it in her eyes, and I hear it in her Mmms. Thanks, Mom, I wasn’t hungry anyway. At this point, I’m texting my sister, who is my only form of entertainment in Costco limbo, and I ask her to save me. But she’s no help.
When we near the never-ending lines of carts ready to pay and escape the torture, my mom announces she needs Co-Q10 and I argue that I’ll just order it online for her. But she gets a bit nippy and I respond to the effect of: FINE HAVE IT YOUR WAY AND TAKE CRAPPY SUPPLEMENTS. Yes, I’ve reverted back to being 12.
Next, my mom sends me to grab a packet of organic apples and I pray I don’t see Apple Man. Who knows where he could be looming now? I’ve never gone on a covert apple mission before this and let me tell you: it’s not easy. But I don’t see anyone creepy or familiar, and have success with my efforts.
I find a shorter line somewhere in the middle and Mom finds me. We pay, I grab the loaded cart, and we finally make our way out of the torture that is Costco. I’m feeling like I need a Valium and a yoga session and a puppy, but Mom is happy, so that’s all that matters. Once we get in the car, I can breathe again and am ready to face Whole Foods. Nothing but Namaste and rainbows over there, so I know I’ll live to see another day.
And that’s how I almost lost my salvation at Costco.
All images via Meme Generator.