Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The nine circles of Costco hell

If only Dante had known how applicable his famous text would be to the act of taking two children under three to Costco for groceries. Everytime I venture out to Costco with the girls, I find myself saying (not yelling, never yelling) "this is an exercise in patience girls!" before I have even parked the car. Oh the parking limbo dance you do at Costco! Will this be the lane where you spy a coveted end spot, only to find an oversized SUV hugging the line so tightly there is no way you could open your door, let alone manage the gymnastics it would take to get your child out of their car seat. So you drive and drive until you find someone inching, creeping, crawling out of a spot in the first three lanes by the entrance and you call it a win. "Yesssss!" with a fist pump in the air.

But that is where the wins end my friend, because now, as you look around in envy as other shoppers simply grab a cart on their way in and breeze by the greeters without a care in the world, you decide which of the two options you have is the least unappealing. Do you strap one child into the cart, wrestling with her to get her legs in the right slots without breaking her tibia and then strapping the other smaller child into an ergonomically friendly carrier which will not allow you to grab large boxes or taste anything hot and delicious? Or do you take the stroller with the baby in the seat and the toddler riding shotgun on the glider board, which limits a normal grocery shop to 20 items, but a Costco shop to three?

Neither choice is a great one, believe me.

Once you've managed to tie everyone down and get through the door (and not gouge anyone's eye out in the process), toddlers' eyes light up with every possibility they see before them. Costco, by its very nature, is a physical manifestation of gluttony. Huge hunks of meat, bags of popcorn the size of a 2-year-old and 1,000 roll packs of toilet paper? Yes please! And if you're a toddler, why not try to scale those packs of TP and hide behind flats of tomato sauce? I mean, why not give mom or dad a heart attack by disappearing into the black hole that is an empty space in the housewares aisle? And while they're at it, they might as well take up camp in the shed display near the bread, because lord knows you are not getting past that one without some sort of a negotiation.

I'm not sure which sin comes out more when doing the actual shopping - greed or lust? Does she need a full princess dress up set (that should read "another") or a 100 pack box of chocolate milk? According to the toddler, she needs it, she wants it, she must have it. As she lays out on the floor or halfway out of the cart wailing when you don't put it in the cart, angry and violent "I WANT IT!!!", all pride goes out the window and you cannot get to the cashier's line fast enough. Don't worry, you're nearly there. You just need to get through the separation drama which comes at checkout time.

"Almost done," you think, "I can do this," you whisper, as your eyes glaze over and you contemplate a drive-thru treat for yourself and maybe even the kiddos if you're feeling generous. But one little hand, one chubby reaching creeping baby hand is out of the carrier before you can say boo and has grabbed ahold of the $10 organic salsa and in slow motion horror the hand pulls the salsa off the conveyor belt and did you know that hard plastic shatters just like glass when dropped from the right height? You thought you were all on the same page, the same team, the same side trying to all get out alive but no, treachery has occurred and you are staring the enemy in the face, all six teeth and dimply grins of it. 

As you finish your walk of shame out the door, there is a light at the end of the storm. The greeter at the door who puts happy faces on the receipt! Never have you lusted for someone so much in this moment! Someone who can turn it all around, turn those frowns upside down with the simple swipe of a Sharpie :) You give the privilege of holding the receipt to the toddler, who can barely contain her excitement on route but then turns mute when the destination is reached.

You all emerge from the store and as you load the jumbo prawns and one million packs of wipes into the car, you swear this time will be the last. It's not worth it, you think, I just lost years off my life. And it's not worth it. Until you run out of milk and diapers and wipes and toilet paper. Then the circle begins again. Thank goodness for the samples. 

~ H
P.S. I know I missed Heresy and Fraud. But I got the rest. So cut me some fricking slack ;)


  1. OMG Heather, you nailed it! I'm sure this is exactly how it goes for every parent who shops at Costco with toddlers. Hilarious!

  2. Totally! I usually use my precious alone time to do groceries now. The last time I was in Costco with both kids I was yelling at Caleb over the stupid chocolate milk bottles and then ran into a friend, ugh. But she was as stressed as me thank goodness!

    1. I went there last week by myself and finally was able to look at some clothes. It was so great!