Sunday, January 24, 2010

I Hate Costco

Just finished the weekend with another brutal trip to Costco. Can there possibly be a worse shopping experience in America than going to Costco on a weekend? I think not. Sure the warehouse company is doing mega business and I wish I had bought its stock five years ago. But as far as shopping there one shouldn't go there if he is trying to control his blood pressure or anxiety. At least double your medications before heading out to the store.

There is something about having a massive number of people all crammed into one store that brings out the worst in humanity. It all starts in the parking lot. You circle the parking lot for an eternity, warming up the Earth's atmosphere another two degrees Celsius in the process, eventually stalking a shopper heading for her car. You feel like an idiot driving along at one mph following a total stranger, hoping she doesn't cross over into the next lane. When she finally gets to her car, she spends fifteen minutes unloading enormous quantities of frozen pizzas, toilet paper, wine bottles, and potato chips. Then as she leaves and you are ready to make your move, some moron coming from the opposite direction cuts into the space. You scream obscenities that will land you in the third circle of Hell and continue the Search for a Parking Space at Costco.

When the parking Gods finally grant you a spot, you are now faced with the daunting task of actually shopping inside the store. Giant grocery carts are whizzing by, with nobody giving anybody an inch of extra space or courtesy. Even NASCAR has rules about driving and passing. It is so bad I'm afraid to let my five year old walk next to me. I put her in the cart lest she gets into a hit and run with another shopper. Again huge numbers of shoppers are congregated around, well, everything. Good luck trying to get a free sample of food; somebody will steal it right out from under your fingertips. And whose stupid idea was it to put all the produce inside an open freezer? Sure it keeps it fresher but on a warm day when you're wearing T-shirts and shorts you don't want to walk into a room that's only forty degrees.

Finally the greatest challenge arrives, the checkout. An immense number of check out lines are open but each line stretches back halfway into the store. Which line might move the fastest? Let's see. One line has only five carts but each cart is packed to the rim. Another line has seven carts but fewer items in each. I'll try the seven cart line. Then you wait and wait and wait. Why does that person have to pay with a check? Doesn't she know it's the 21st century? Who doesn't own a debit card in this day and age? The next person says his wife is bringing more stuff and will be here in a minute. Ugh. I think my aneurysm is going to explode and leave a convulsing mass of human tissue here inside Costco, as if anybody would care.

Suddenly the aisle next to me opens up. I make a dash for it. The person on the other side also makes a run for the open line. Ha I made it first. Oh boy he doesn't look too happy. Hey what the hell. He has put the separator bar ahead of my stuff and is putting his items ahead of mine on the conveyor belt. What the f***? Of course the Costco employees are just standing there doing nothing, just talking about how much longer until closing time. I want to give this a**hole a karate chop right into his cricoid but alas, he is six inches taller and fifty pounds heavier. I think better of it and try to control my rage, and humiliation. Besides self preservation, it wouldn't look good if the newspaper reported that a local anesthesiologist was arrested for assault and disturbing the peace. Our group might not appreciate that kind of publicity. I tell myself, I'm letting this gentleman ahead of me, out of courtesy and respect for my fellow human being. Uh huh.

Finally, made it out of the store. Walk slowly back to the car, dodging all the traffic. Predictably there is a car tailing us as we walk all the way back. Okay, now it's my turn to slowly put my things in the car and strap the kids in the car seat while a stranger is lurking right behind me. Getting into the driver's seat, I let out a huge sigh of relief. Made it through another weekend at Costco. Until next week.


  1. You have an interesting perspective regarding Costco. I can imagine how one's attitude could easily become as yours with regard to shopping there, and I admit that at one time, I felt as you. But that was long ago. I suggest adapting the following mindset and actions when going to Costco. I'll address each point in your blog entry, but first I advise that you go to Costco with a very leisurely, relaxed, calm pace in mind. Accept the fact, like most busy shopping areas, that it will not be pleasant if you are in a huge rush. Don't think of it as work, but as an enjoyable pleasure.

    Parking - When you are going to Costco (or any large store), it is best to park in the outer rim of the parking lot, where there are many free spaces. Do not get trapped into waiting for free spaces, or having to experience drivers with muted spatial perception. Just park way out. You will be in the store more quickly than if you had waited and struggled to find a space closer. The exercise is good for you as well.

    Easement/Aisle-ways in the Store - Best again, to stick to the outer rim. Avoid following all the other sheep, and do that which others don't. Immediately go to the outer perimeter of the store and navigate inward if you need something from the center areas. Then return to the outer track again and repeat. Again, don't be in a hurry. Just move along at a steady pace.

    Samples - Unless there is nobody around, don't eat the samples. Never is it wise to wait in line for food samples. Most of the people that do this are fat americans whom need to keep their stomachs topped-up all the time. It's best not to associate with that crowd :)

    Checkout - You should obtain a magazine to read while in line and just accept that it will take some time to complete the process. Again, don't be in a hurry. As you point out, there are some individuals who still use paper checks because they are either paranoid about credit/debit cards, or they are senior citizens living in the past. Another personality type is the non-working mother who thinks that writing a check is a display of financial savvy. Also accept the fact that some people have tunneled awareness. They do not even think about people waiting behind them. It is all about them, and causing delays might be enjoyable to them, because they view themselves as being smart shoppers, discussing things with the clerk, or price checking etc. Annoying, but true. Don't let it ruin your day.

    Return to your car - this should not be a problem if you observed my first suggestion about parking on the outer rim of the lot. Good exercise and no stalkers waiting for your spot.

  2. Ommm. Ommm. I picture clear blue ocean. Peace. Serenity. Nothing will get to me today. Ommm.
    At our Costco during peak hours, which is anytime from 10:30 AM to 6:30 PM even the perimeter parking spots are taken. I now make it a practice of only going to Costco within 30 minutes of closing time. Plenty of parking spaces and checkout moves faster, fewer customers and the employees are in a hurry to close up.

    1. Oh Great Zee thou hast struck a nerve amongst your brethren ! Hey thats why 1) i only eat food the reps bring in & 2) all my shopping is done thru amazon. Click & win ! & I get my soaps, books, lamps & CD's all in 1 box ! & Mr UPS knows me personally !
      Spoilage u say ? Perishables u say ? Well lets u & i start an internet amazon - like order & delivery service for foodstuffs etc.? Anesthesia is looking less profitable everyday my friend. PS your blog is a GAS !

  3. OMG.... is that a picture of the ISSAQUAH COSTCO? I ****ing HATE Costco! Especially THAT one! My boyfriend's dad is a pencil pusher in one of the offices there, and he always comes home "soooo exhausted...." *smashes head into wall* He's so tired he can't even take his dog (which I also hate with every fiber of my being) out to the porch to shit, and so WE get to do it during our smoke breaks where I just want to sit in peace. Woopee. Costco is a place for freakish yuppie seniors who are obsessed with bulk for some freakish yuppie senior reason. I grew up in Kentucky where there are hardly any bulks stores and people shop NORMALLY and don't mind parking a little further back.I get so annoyed being in the passenger seat and watching my boyfriend drive an extra 5 miles around the lot just to get a "good spot". Because his dad works at Costco, it is part of my life. I hate all the "Kirkland Signature" garbage in the house. It almost always tastes terrible. I hate Costco and all the inconsiderate, the stupid teenage employees, the nose-in-the-air fucks that shop there. There was also an incident where 20 out of 70 of my boyfriends pain pills (with high street value, mind you) were STOLEN and management didn't do shit about it, he just made excuses. And I also got bitched out by my boyfriend's dad because he thought my complaining would cause him to lose his pencil-pushing job. Way to put your job over your son's dire health condition. Costco represents everything I hate in my life right now. DIE COSTCO!! AAAARRRRGGGHHHH!

  4. i <3 COSTCO!!!!! :)))p.s. i hate spoiled brats ;)

  5. I hate Costco's. I hate the rude people who shop there, and I really hate the people who work there. They give their customers the "bums rush". At Christmas, as I fumble through my pocketbook, which is supported by my cart, to get my bank card out, a man asks, "How, are you doing?", I look up, he snatches my cart from me, never making eye contact with me, that was a tactic to pull my cart away from me, now the cashier wants to know "How are you doing", I know he dose not care, but I proceed to ask why the lines are so close together, the woman in the line next to me has backed up on me three times like she is trying to step on me or something. It is not entirely her fault the lines are ridiculously too close,"Oh, that is just how this store is" he replies. Now the woman behind me, is slamming her stuff up on the counter. I only bought three things as I go to pick my three items up, the cashier starts aggressively sliding her stuff into mine. The same woman who was behind, who was also practically breathing on me as I tried to pay for my stuff, now she joins in and is about to move my stuff out of her way. I told her very sharply, "that I would be out of her way in a minute" , as I leave, the door checker asks me how I am doing today? The door checker is not looking at me as they ask me this, because they have been standing up there talking with a coworker, my presence seems like an annoyance to her conversation. When I tell her not good, she tells me to have a good day. Next time, I will be prepared, as I shout out "Merry Fucking Christmas! I have a bad experience every time I go to Costco's. My brother told me he is so tired of the bums rush treatment, that he always writes a check on purpose, I used to use a debit card, now I write a check and I print it too. Now when they ask me how I am doing, I tell them I hate shopping here and I fill out a customer complaint card on the way out!

  6. I hate Costco too! Why do we pay money to go to shopping hell?!?!?! The only reason I go is for my husband who is obsessed. Last time I went I lost it. Not good. So I had all the problems that you describe in your post, but those are normal and I just try to be zen about those unpleasantries. But this time, as I'm finishing checking out while shopping with my 3 year old daughter, the stupid up-your-membership guy comes by to try to get me to pay more money to shop. While he's trying to upsell me I absent mindedly put my receipt in a place I could not find 5 seconds later (yes, I know, I'm an idiot for losing my receipt in 5 seconds, but that's not the point!). So the receipt checker guy is telling me to find someone in a red vest and is frantically trying to just get my cart out of the way - "please move your cart ma'am, you can look for your receipt once you have moved your cart, can you move your cart ma'am?" I should have just bolted, but no, I'm such a rule follower! So I just go up to the customer service window and ask person what I should do. He tells me I have to move my cart and go the back of the store and talk to a manager in a back room office so they could print me another one. Does he not see that I have an antsy 3 year old that is going to freak any second now? Do these people not have children?!?! As I asked him if he was kidding he said, "no I'm not, and please move your cart." All these people could think about was moving my cart . . . so I pushed my cart into the wall so it slammed pretty hard - not real proud of that one. He finally got that I was pissed and walked me back to get a receipt in a friendly customer service oriented way (finally!). The receipt checker said, "thank you, have a nice day." It was all I could do to keep my cool in front of my kid. NEVER going back again . . . I HATE IT!!!

  7. I live in Canada and I believe that the worst thing about Costco is their pushing American Express Credit Cards on customers trying to check out. I had 2 staff lecture me at the same time and it just felt like harassment. I had made many long-term purchases so I won't be going back anytime soon. I kept saying "no" to them. Having one person do this is bad enough but double the pressure is disgusting considering that I pay money just to enter the store. They even did it to my elderly parent once as I took them there periodically. It was just gross. Besides, many mainstream retailers are openly competing with Costco now.

  8. You forgot to mention about having to wait in line again to get out of the store as they check your receipt treating all their customers like they are criminals. I can't tell you how many times they've botched up my photo orders. Also, why no express check out lane? Lots of people come in for one or two items? And what other grocery store opens at 10am? The hours suck too! Finally, what about the gas situation? It's absolutely the worst. They shut their pumps off at night. They've got full time attendants that scold you if you try to pump gas with your car running and more long lines. I even got Hepatitis there from eating their stupid, organic frozen berries. Costco blows!

  9. I rarely shop at Costco. Once a month is more than enough. My two biggest pet peeves (on the only two occasions where I lost my patience and challenged the staff) were instances that they cause with their own moronic policies: Once I was made to wait for a rather long time while the staff at the till "were counting the till". Who does that when the line is open? If you want to count you ill gotten gains close the line and at least give us the chance to leave the hellhole in a decent amount of time. Today my line stalled for no apparent reason. I was third in line and we were just standing there. I finally yelled: "What''s taking so long?" The "lady" at the till told me "we are getting some money for this gentleman". Again, I said. "what's taking so long". She replies: "we are getting some money from the safe". Never saw the underlying question: why are your procedures so antiquated and not costumer centered? I thought of talking to the manager but realized that it will be no good: Costco is not typical retail. They wouldn't care. And why should they. They have enough idiots lining up to give them all their money for the cheap crap they sell.