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.