The Idiot Girl’s Guide to Costco Shopping

Against my better judgment, I decided to go to Costco.  On a Sunday.  Again.

When will I learn?  It’s like Chinese food. Every time I eat it, I swear it’ll never happen again.  Three weeks later, I’m shoveling General Tso’s Chicken into my face with the urgency of someone who’s discovered the last plate of food after a nuclear holocaust…and someone’s trying to take it from her.  Ugh.

After surviving the trauma of my Costco expedition, I thought it might be helpful to provide an overview of how to achieve what I like to call Costco Nerve-ana.

Step 1:

Spend 30 minutes mentally perusing your refrigerator, pantry, kitchen cabinets, laundry room, closets, bathroom cabinets, basement, garage, yard and shed to determine items you may need lots of.  Make list of items.  Include toilet paper regardless of your current stock.

Step 2:

Leave list on coffee table and drive to Costco. Enter Costco parking lot behind the slowest-moving minivan on the planet.  Crawl through parking lot behind minivan looking for an available space.  Stop near front door to allow 17 shoppers with overflowing carts to inch toward their cars (and freedom).  Glance at 44 empty handicapped parking spaces.  Breathe deeply.  Proceed to parking space approximately one mile from Costco entrance.  Curse the parking gods.  Look frantically around your purse, the passenger seat, the floorboard and the glove compartment (yes, the glove compartment) for your list.  Curse.  Convince yourself that you will remember items on list as you shop.  Proceed to Costco entrance.

Step 3:

Obtain shopping cart and fumble through your wallet for your Costco membership card.  Curse. Swear that you will clean your purse TODAY.  Find card.  Jockey around slow-moving shoppers exiting store.  Breathe deeply.  Display Costco membership card to front door guard.  Wonder briefly why this is necessary, but immediately stop caring as you walk through the warm, stupid-dust infused blast of air.  Gaze lovingly at 60-inch HDTV and question – just for a second – why you had children.

Step 4:

Proceed slowly through main aisle.  Stop behind confused woman who can’t decide which way to go.  Attempt not to become enraged at woman directly to her left who has stopped in the middle of the aisle to catch up with her neighbor who is directly to her left, thus blocking the entire aisle.  Breathe deeply.  Inch past seven aisles of housewares and auto supplies because, really?  Head to bakery section.  Resist temptation to purchase 10-lb bag of Fritos, giant cheesecake, 5lb bag of oatmeal raisin cookies and 24-pack of muffins.  Curse metabolism gods.

Step 5:

Walk toward gourmet cheese and meats aisles.  Stand in line with four other people making small talk with Costco employee while waiting for microwave to finish cooking chorizo.  Taste morsel of chorizo seasoned only with air. Note that it is the most delicious thing you’ve ever tasted.  Place 5lb package of chorizo into your cart.  Inch toward next aisle.  Elbow past unsupervised children to grab last piece of melba toast slathered with Boursin.  Place 4-pack of Boursin in cart.

Step 6:

Walk past healthy produce section and head for paper aisle.  Place case of water on bottom of cart.  Take a second to catch your breath. Swear that you will get in shape. Consider purchasing case of Frappucino, but decide against it (not because you’ve sworn to get in shape, but because it’s too expensive).  Locate toilet paper and paper towels.  Briefly consider purchasing Scott toilet paper, but decide to purchase Charmin instead…because you deserve it.  Place toilet paper and paper towels in cart.  Consider space issue.  Crouch down and wiggle/heave case of water toward the back of the bottom of the cart.  Take a second to catch your breath.  Place toilet paper at the front of the bottom of the cart.  Curse.

Step 7:

Walk toward refrigerated/frozen food aisles.  Wait in line with seven other people for Costco employee to finish cooking frozen spinach-ricotta ravioli seasoned only with Pam.  Taste ravioli.  Decide it’s the most delicious thing you’ve ever tasted.  Place $11.99 bag of frozen spinach-ricotta ravioli in your cart.  Proceed down aisle.  Place 24-pack of Light and Fit yogurt in your cart (for the diet).  Place 40-pack of ice cream sandwiches in cart.

Step 8:

Proceed to cereal aisle.  Place giant box of Special K (with berries!) in your cart (for the diet).  Briefly consider jumbo pack of Pop Tarts.  Decide against it (not because you’ve sworn to get in shape, but because you don’t like the brown sugar flavored ones). Proceed to end of aisle.  Wait while woman in front of you waits for an opportunity to turn onto main aisle.  Breathe deeply.  Do not become enraged when she starts talking to her 2-year old and misses break in traffic.  Curse.  Turn cart around and exit through other end of aisle.

Step 9:

Proceed to pasta aisle.  Stop in front of tomato products.  Try to remember whether you need tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes.  Place both in cart just to be sure.  Briefly consider whole grain pasta, but place 8-pack of thin spaghetti in your cart instead (because it says ‘thin’).  Place 32oz jar of capers in your cart because it’s only $6.99.  Ignore the fact that you use an average of two tablespoons of capers per year.

Step 10:

Proceed to cleaning/laundry products aisle. Place 3-pack of Pledge, gallon of Pine Sol and 120-load jug of Tide in your cart.  Rearrange items in cart to accommodate new items.  Take a moment to catch your breath.  Wait for crowd at end of aisle to move into main aisle that is crowded with check-out line overflow.  Curse.  Turn cart around to exit through other end of aisle.

Step 11:

Proceed to vitamin/pain reliever aisle.  Spend 20 minutes desperately searching for 150-count bottle of Midol. Realize that it’s only available at the pharmacy.  Wonder why.  Curse.  Proceed to pharmacy.  Notice that it’s closed.  Curse.  Proceed toward Tampax aisle.  Note that Tampax products have been replaced by diapers.  Curse.  Stomp through aisles to find Tampax products.  Note that selection of Tampax items has been changed and no longer includes your favorite.  Curse.  Place lesser product into cart because it’s still a good deal.  Wipe sweat from brow.  Breathe deeply.

Step 12:

Proceed to check-out lanes.  Quickly scan lanes for shoppers with fewer items in their carts.  Secure spot in line.  Wait.  Realize that you’re thirsty.  Really thirsty.  Read sign above café.  Consider $1.50 hot dog and drink deal.  Notice line for café. Curse.  Load products onto conveyor belt while woman in front of you writes a check.  Hand cashier your membership card.  Run to other end of register and frantically place scanned items into cart as she scans them so as not to hold up line.  Ask cashier to repeat the total amount spent.  Try to hide flash of horror. Breathe deeply.  Shove receipt into purse and inch away from register thinking of justifications for amount spent.

Step 13:

Proceed toward exit.  Get behind at least one customer with a flatbed cart, one with ADD and one with at least three children in tow.  Curse the café customers who have left their carts in the middle of the aisle while they enjoy their $1.50 hot dog and drink deal.  Breathe deeply.  Proceed past carpet and hardwood flooring samples.  Wonder who buys those products.  Inch toward Costco exit door guard.  Realize (when it’s finally your turn) that you’ve shoved your receipt into your purse.  Fumble through purse desperately trying to find receipt.  Swear that you’re going to clean your purse TODAY.  Hand crumpled receipt to Costco exit door guard.  Wonder if he thinks you believe he’s actually making a note of what’s in your cart.  Roll eyes.  Wait for Costo exit door guard to run marker down your receipt and set you free.  Proceed to car.  Defy laws of physics and squeeze items into trunk.  Get into car.  Take a moment to catch your breath.

Step 14:

Drive home.  Unload items onto kitchen floor in 35 trips.  Put items away.  Realize that you already have at least 17 of 40% of the items you’ve purchased.  Curse.  Sit on sofa to rest a moment.  Notice shopping list on coffee table.  Realize that you forgot to purchase 35% of it.  Curse.

Step 15:

Locate vodka.  Prepare cocktail.  Drink cocktail.  Nap.  Wake up disoriented.  Decide it’s too late to cook dinner.  Order take-out.


3 thoughts on “The Idiot Girl’s Guide to Costco Shopping

  1. O-M-G! This is so freakin’ funny. It honestly sounds like you took notes all during the trip. 32 oz. of capers??? I have seen that jar and I have lusted after it, but I restrained myself. That time.

    Donna: Thank you for the laugh out loud virtual trip to one of my personal favorite emporiums of commercialism. If they sell it, and it looks like a good deal, I will come.

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