Too Much in the Cart

by Whatever Girl on December 8, 2009 · 3 comments

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Costco, a form of torture I like to inflict on myself as infrequently as possible. Here’s the thing about Costco: everything is huge. Huge shelves, huge carts, huge ceilings, huge hams, huge packs of diapers, toilet paper, jujubes, bread, toothpaste, Christmas cards, shoelaces, underwear, and huge line-ups. On my latest visit, the puddles in the parking lot were huge, the crowds huge and the voice of the woman in front of me was also huge as she called to her husband to “PUT BACK THAT DOUBLE PACK OF ALMOND ROCA, DON, I ALREADY HAVE ONE IN THE CART”. And I, with my cart, put my head down and tried to manoeuvre my way past customers making a grab for the last of the Complete Boxed Set of Hall & Oates Greatest Hits.

Costco has a way of slowly sucking my soul out of my body in such a way that I don’t really notice it is happening until it’s almost too late. I lose focus and start grabbing useless things at random like the 200-pack of boys athletic socks, or the double pack of ironing boards because, at $89.99, that is a real steal.  Or I somehow forget that I already have 7 at home and throw in another yoga jacket. Because I need a jacket to do yoga. Or I will anyway when I start next week. Fortunately, I usually snap out of it just before I get to the till, usually because I can no longer manage the cart (more on that later) and then have to go back around the store casually replacing items like I have such self control and have decided I can live without the double pack of table-top crumb vacuums.

I say ‘usually’ as this was unfortunately not the case on my last visit. In addition to the case of San Pellegrino, double vat of laundry soap and giant wedge of Grana Padano cheese,  I also found it necessary to purchase a box of printer paper, a ten-kilometre long roll of duct tape, some ski gloves, a sweater, two cases of 144 frozen croissants and various other grocery items, the combined weight of which was more than a small West African nation. Needless to say the cart became a bit… unwieldy, shall we say. I did my best to control the damn thing: leaning into the turn way ahead of time, practically sitting down to slow the cart, that sort of thing.

Unfortunately, all of these precautions were to no avail. My knuckles were white with the strain of trying to control the cart as it careened along the aisle and sweat was breaking out on my forehead as I tried to avoid taking out unsuspecting shoppers. At one point I had to make a last-second turn into the shampoo aisle as I was in serious danger of rear-ending Almond-Roca Don and his WIFE who were waiting in line to pay. It was here, next to the 2-litre vats of conditioner that I met my first victim. Poor little Ashley had chosen the wrong moment to toddle out from between the 400-pack of band-aids (with bonus 262-pack attached) and the giant disaster-pack of Ensure meal supplements. I tried a last minute evasive manoeuvre and fortunately was able to limit the damage to her foot, which I smashed into. She cried, her mother came running, I apologized and got myself out of there as quickly as possible. Which, it turned out, was more quickly than I thought was possible as I again lost control of the cart, emerging into the fresh flower section at roughly the same time as a woman carrying a large bunch of roses. I like to think that she couldn’t see me through the flowers but that’s not really true. I leaned back to stop the cart but was not quick enough and managed to clip her ankle. She was very gracious and hobbled off, pretending that it didn’t hurt as much as I know it did.

It was definitely time to leave and I made it to the till without inflicting any more injuries. At least until I left the store and headed out into the rain towards my van. “I think you just hit a bird” said the woman next to me. I peered around the boxes of croissants only to see a sparrow or whatever it was hobbling away from underneath the cart, dragging its little wing. Oh gawd I thought. Nice. Really nicely done. Clearly it wasn’t enough to maim a small girl and practically break a woman’s ankle, I also had to cripple a baby bird. It limped off, obviously trying to get as far away from me as possible. I was relieved to see it fly off a few moments later.

I made it to my van, loaded everything up, and, still expecting the cart to be extremely heavy, put my hands on the bars and pushed. You know that feeling when you have been piggy-backing your child and she gets off and you feel like you’ve just lost 100 lbs? Well my cart had just lost 100lbs too. Neither I nor the woman in the Lexus heading down my row of the parking lot were expecting my cart to leap so enthusiastically in front of her. We were both surprised. She slammed on the brakes, I smiled apologetically and made hand gestures like “I’m really sorry!” and ‘That was so weird!” I couldn’t clearly see her face but it was probably the woman with the roses. At least she could still drive.

So, if you are one of the children/customers/birds that I clipped that day, I apologize. You really shouldn’t have had to pay for my greediness. Next time I will take a few minutes and evaluate whether or not I actually need half of the stuff in my out-of-control cart.  And if anyone needs an ironing board – I have two!

Thanks for reading!



{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathryn December 8, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Dear Jane,
Thanks to you, I am finally over the guilt of our lapsed costco memebership. I will gladly pay more for less! Just imagine if the whole experience was free, it would be, even more huge.
Thanks for writing,
Kathryn and Michael

Elsie December 8, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Love your writing! Funny how it is almost exactly like the last time I went to Costco…
Now, please, blog on the flat tire incident.

Marty Layne December 9, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Love your writing. Looking forward to more.

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