What Costco feels like when you’re five and how it makes me feel as a parent

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We went to Costco for the first time in ages.

It was a zoo.  It wasn’t Superbowl, or Black Friday, or even the night before Christmas but it felt like each cart was a bumper car with a mission to get groceries and get to the line with a personal best time.

And this kind of shopping buzz makes me feel like everything is some magical new purchase that I need ASAP.  So it’s dangerous. I find it hard to shop there without coming home with a new shirt for the back of my closet that looked like such a deal at the time or kids pajamas, or a new vacuum or a mega pack of mini Rubbermaid containers.  (The last one almost nearly came home with me, but I realized it wouldn’t fit in my cupboard in the 11th hour.)
Does anyone actually buy what they came to buy at Costco?  Do I need a list? Or an app to keep me on track?

And, why I always feel the need to taste a little sample of hot freezer food, I don’t know.  But my kids think that’s the best part of Costco so lining up for these treats always adds a bunch of time and stress to our visit.  Because although line ups work everywhere else in the store, with samples, I’ve noticed it’s more of a swarm technique, and we haven’t totally figured that one out yet.
And we all nearly get run over by carts every time.

pirate ship stuck in traffic in Seattle
At least we weren’t run over by a pirate ship. We saw one stuck in traffic on the way home from Costco and only in Seattle is a pirate ship a normal occurrence.
But there was definitely traffic in Costco too. The checkout lines were incredible and long but you knew that already because we made the rookie mistake of coming on a Sunday.  Somehow not being there in a while made me forget, but it was like lining up for food at Paseo without the satisfaction of an amazing sandwich (Or even beating the Paseo line by pre-ordering over the phone.  I wish we could pre-order groceries at Costco and just come and pick them up.)

lining up at paseo

So this trip we finally got to a line that we hoped ended with a check out at the end.
But we were stuck.  Did we dare split the family and have someone lineup for a hot dog, churro or ice cream to eat on the way home?  Could we really eat any more after all those mini bites of toast and cheese or mango chutney salsa on fried air-dried peas? And could we really survive another line?
So I sat down with my guys while the hubby checked out.  We sat and watched all the madness go by.

waiting at costco
And then I got it.
This is what Costco feels like when you’re five.  A sea of feet and carts and stuff.

And I realized when I shop at Costco not only am I shopping, I’m providing my kids with gladiator training and hoarder survival skills.
We now have way more toilet paper/cheese/shampoo/gluten-free organic and kale-ified smoothie mix than a small apartment block might need.
So maybe we might need to limit further shopping excursions here for our planet’s sake.

styrofoam mountain at tsukiji market
It definitely doesn’t bring out the best in me or my fellow humans.

And I can’t tell if I’ve actually saved any money by shopping at Costco on the trips I’ve added unnecessary whim purchases to my cart. My biggest fear after seeing my hubby’s pictures of Tsukij Market in Japan is are we negating all the composting/recycling/reusing that we’re trying to do at home with all this shopping and packaging waste?

But I do love to acquire and there is no doubt a trip to Costco is a shopping adventure and an experience.  And at least last trip the only extras I bought were bulk veggies and fruit. Because apparently I do not have the gardening skills to survive an apocalypse so I still could not live without a Costco.

pea with a problem
(PS. Does anyone know what’s happening to my peas? They ALL look like this.  I think it’s lack of water but my mom has terrified me that I’ve added something to the soil.)





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