It's all fun and games, til someone puts an eye out......

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Costco Trip

I have to tell you about my trip to Costco.

More than likely you have made a trip to Costco at least once.  If not, you have probably frequented Sam's Club or some type of wholesale club.  If you haven't, I recommend getting a trial membership.  If for nothing other than viewing the insanity.  Just once.

Let me start by saying that I went to Costco with my sister, as I don't have my own membership, so we share.  She pays for the membership, I shop there.  I think it sounds fair.

We were also escorted that day, as usual on any day, by our boys:  my nephew, 3 1/2 years old, we call him Goolie, and my younger boys, Tiny T (8 years) and the Bull (12 years).  I only give the ages, so you know what I am dealing with here.

Generally speaking, we try not to take the boys to Costco, as it does not usually end well, but as it was, we both had just gotten back into town and needed groceries, so off on the crazy train we went.

The trip started going south as soon as we got out of our cars.  In the parking lot.  Great.

Bonus #1:  My nephew had just gotten back from a trip to a tropical place and was definitely "all sunned out".  (As we are in Texas in August, it is typically around 102 degrees.  Let's just say hotter than Hades.) He started seeking shady places in the parking lot, on the way into Costco.  My middle son had to pick him up and run into the store.  With Goolie screaming all the way.

Bonus #2:  My nephew is at the very independent stage.  Translation:  he no longer wants to ride in the cart.
It could be that he doesn't fit comfortably in the cart.  He is what we call a "giant" baby.  He weighs about 50 pounds and he is still three.  Not much of a baby anymore, but definitely giant.

Bonus #3:  It was as crowded in Costco that day as it is at a weekend Nascar race.  And the drivers inside the store were equally as crazy.  The only difference, is that inside Costco with carts, there are no blinkers, no brakes, and no one is issued licenses to drive.

Bonus #4:  Costco was doing their typical weekend sampling.  If you haven't been there, let me explain.  They set up sampling carts at the end of every aisle wth various products to sample to all their customers.  It is wonderful, but it causes clogging of the aisles for regular customers who aren't there to eat lunch, but there to shop and bolt!!!

Bonus #5:  Coscto has toy aisles.  We leave those aisles to the end of our trip and use them as bribes for the main portion of the food aisles.  You have heard the term "Parenting is a series of bribes and threats?"  I live by that.  It is my mantra.  I am quite certain that is how the pioneers lived.  Or they worked their kids from sunrise to sunset on the farms.  Either way.

Bonus #6:  Toddlers don't want to stay in carts for long periods of time.  I made an executive decision to let my nephew out of the cart. Bad move, admittedly as it meant my kids would have to watch him while I continued shopping.   But he had been in the cart for half an hour and that is about 20 minutes longer than he was comfortable with, plus the toys were calling to him. 

And when I say calling to him, they really were.  He had found some Transformers toy that talked and made all sorts of fun noises every parent wants in their home.  And at Costco, there is never the Dollar Variety toy to pick up as a quick bribe.  No, they carry the $40 Christmas present toy.  And my sister was not into Christmas shopping that day. 

So, no go on the toy.  Which caused him to spiral......

We headed up the aisles to get to the front as fast as we could.  We knew we had started the ticking time bomb....

Now, I mentioned earlier that my sister and I "share" a Costco membership.  She purchases everything and I pay her cash afterwards.  I know this is not how Costco intended the memberships to work, but I rarely shop with her and she goes at least once a month, so it works for us. 

As a lover of Math, my favorite part of going to any grocery store is to see how close I can come to the grand total before the cashier starts ringing.  In Costco, I have another fun game.  I like to figure my total so I can know how much to pay my sister. 

Ok, its not a game, its a necessity, considering that is the only way I know how much to pay my sis.  When they ring us up, I put all my stuff first on the conveyor belt and have them subtotal it before they proceed with my sister's groceries.

Well, we definitely picked the wrong lane.  Don't you love it when that happens?  You choose an aisle that appears to be moving quickly, then after you unload all your groceries, something happens and you realize you made the wrong lane decision???  That is what happened to me that day at Costco.

Apparently they were doing some quality control that day and the manager was working the carts.  Basically, he was organizing our cart so that the cashier could look at our products and just scan the bar codes.  Faster scanning makes it more efficient, right?

WRONG!!!!  Now, all the products we had separated into our specific piles, had been combined, rotated, and completely uprooted.  All in the name of efficiency!!

My sister looked at my face.  She knew I was panicking.  Now how would I know how much to pay her?

I watched quietly, trying to catch my items, looking for prices so I could know how much money to give her after the trip.  I definitely could not keep up. 

And I could not, for the life of me, figure out why that manager had to mess up my system.  It had worked for me so far, why not this trip? 

I was sweating now.  I never really enjoy when things mess up my system.  I needed this system.  I lived by the system.  I wait the entire shopping trip so I can run these totals.  It's weird.  It's neurotic.  Chock full of OCD, I know. But that manager there was really digging in my side.

Now, I will give him this.  He did ask before he arranged our cart, "Is this together or separate?"

The infamous question.  Now, if I had my own membership, it would have been separate.  Then I could have known how much my total was.  I would not have had to worry about how much I had to pay my sister.  As it was, I was using my sister's membership.  And saving $40 a year.  Some might call my discomfort Karma. 

My sister looked at me, and sympathizing with me as only a sister can do, made one comment to make me feel better:

"Seriously, you are so weird."  And that was that.

If you don't have a sister, you have to go out and get one. 

It is totally worth the free shopping trip to Costco.