My heart started beating faster than usual the second I flashed my red, white and blue card. The fluorescent lights — or maybe my eyesight — began to flicker and there I was, surrounded by a sea of carts and aggressive shoppers. I had to get myself into a defensive shopping mode. The thought of it exhausted me. Why did I come to Costco in the middle of the day during a weekend?
I should have known better. I even picked a different location than usual, thinking it would be less crowded. As soon as we pulled into the parking lot I knew I had miscalculated. But I was committed and there was no turning back.
I took a deep breath and forged my way through the point of purchase items, dodging little kids with dirty faces hanging from baskets every few feet. Then I realized, all I could see was blue and orange. Broncos shirts were everywhere. Even Broncos pants, hats, maybe socks. Crap, I forgot it was the first official Broncos game of the season (clearly my household is not in sync with professional sports schedules). And I’ve learned that Colorado people are even more insane about Broncos games than Oklahoma people are about OU and OSU games. Which is semi-maniacal at best.
They must have all come to stock up on snacks for the game. It was war and I was about to get bloody. And all for some cases of bottled water, a gigantic container of dish detergent and a case of flautas.
As I made my way back to the food section, I looked down, and then gasped. I was only wearing sandals. Clearly I wasn’t prepared. I couldn’t quit thinking how much it was going to hurt if someone ran over my toes with their shopping cart wheels of fury. I winced at the thought. And as I circled back to find the shredded cheese (enough to feed the White House staff), I overheard a woman telling her friend “They’re like sharks in here…. we need to be more aggressive or we’re going down!”
Then my stomach rumbled and I realized I had come to Costco hungry. Damn, not a good idea, and especially not on this kind of day. I started scouting for the samples tables. And forget that healthy stuff, I wanted something good. But there were swarms of people with bad manners looming at every food sample table, and grabby hands everywhere. I wondered what kind of training the food sample people must undergo in order to be able to protect themselves? But I really wanted to try a bite of the jalepeno cheese sausage to tide me over until I could escape. I battled on.
A few hundred dollars later (“Since we’re here and all.. might as well pick that up.” I think that phrase is subliminally programmed into each shopper’s mind by way of the cart handles or something. Either that or “Apocalypse approaching!”), we headed for the check out area. This is when my husband realized he should have gotten me out sooner. Suddenly my eyes went wild, and I was determined to find the shortest line and knock anyone out of the way who was hesitant or undecided. I was starting to think my life depended on it. I had to get out.
Then the lady in front of us starts thumbing through the coupon booklet – not one second before she was already at the register, a huge line behind her. The checker was going to lose it and we all tried to remain calm. This was not the day for dorking around with coupons to save $2.50 when you’re spending $450.00.
Finally, we made it out… (go to the light CarolAnn)…and I took a deep breath of non-commercialized air. Our cart was stacked as if we had fourteen kids and 32 grandkids to feed. But by God, we had some good, institutionally sized food to tide us over.
Today, I’m grateful that I won’t have to grocery shop for a long while. But mostly that we made it out alive, toes intact.