Oh, Costco, how I loathe thee….

Yes, I have a Costco card. I have two teenagers; if I didn’t buy meat & milk in bulk, they’d stage food riots.

It isn’t that I hate the place. The store, in and of itself, is really rather a neat idea. Where else could I get a gallon vat of garlic olive oil, 20lbs of frozen orange ruffie and enough aluminum foil to make hats for 1,000 conspiracy theorists all in the same place? They even sell coffins. I’m tellin’ ya, they got everything.

So why, you ask, do I feel such a sense of dread at the prospect of spending half my paycheck in what should (for me, one of the world’s happiest shop-a-holics) be a joyful money spending experience? Let me tell you.

We start with the parking lot. No, even before the parking lot, as Costco is the second left turn off the freeway. Meaning that everyone is darting around everyone else, jockeying for position in order to NOT be at the back of the huuuuuge two lane line of people queued up to get in to the megaparking lot. Unless you’re going to the gas station, which is a category all its own, and I just do not have the strength to talk about it today. So. You enter the parking lot, which covers about three times as much space as the store. There are spaces everywhere, mostly hidden by the behemoth SUV’s which comprise the vast majority of vehicles in the parking lot. However, none of that matters to the people circling the same four aisles directly in front of the store, cruising like giant land whales waiting for a space to open up, and expending more fuel in the parking lot than they took to get there in the first place. So, I take a spot outside those four crucial aisles, grab a super sized cart, and make my way in with the rest of the cattle people lined up waiting to get inside.

Okay. We’re now inside. Aisles open up to the left, the right, and straight ahead. So what do people do when they first get inside? That’s right. They stop. Look around. And discuss with their SO/children/parents what they’re looking for. MOVE!! DAMMIT!! GET OUT OF THE WAY, THERE ARE PEOPLE BEHIND YOU! We navigate around them and move on, saving our ire for later because people standing in the middle of the damn aisle, oblivious to the dirty looks and muttered comments are all too frequent in Costco. Kitchen gadgets on the left, patio furniture on the right, meat aisle coming up ahead.

There is a special circle of hell reserved for the people who frequent the meat aisle at Costco, and by all that is holy, I will be the one to deliver their eternal torment. I walk calmly up and reach for a package of ground beef. Before I get less than two feet to the counter, a vindictive angry woman SHOVES her cart in front of me, gives me a look normally reserved for lepers or child molesters, and proceeds to shove her huge ass between me and the meat counter. I expect to hear a loud beeping noise as she backs up, effectively blocking everyone from the ground beef. I understand her consternation; after all, the butcher had just stocked the ground beef five minutes prior, and there were only a hundred or so of the six pound packages. She could’ve gone through those all on her own. I wait, and she flounces off. I grab a package and move on to the fruit where, oddly, I have very little competition while choosing produce.

Deep breath. On to the next hurdle; the frozen food aisles. These are actually wide enough to accommodate several carts across. The aisles themselves aren’t the issue. No. It is the end of the aisles, where Costco employees have set up hot plates and sample displays, that we encounter gridlock. And why? BECAUSE, DAMMIT! Parents feed their kids LUNCH at those sample trays! They go from one to the other, back and forth, over and over, and they park their carts RIGHT IN FRONT, effectively blocking the aisles, refusing to move lest anyone get an inch in front of them closer to the FREE FOOD!!! RUDE. ASS. JERKS!! If you’re going to wait for the food, fine! Move your cart out of the damn way, and STAND IN LINE! I WANT TO GET THE OVERPRICED MAHI MAHI, AND YOUR STUPID CART IS BLOCKING THE AISLE!!

*Wheeze…gasp*…. Okay. Nearly there. On our way to the queue, where OH YOU STUPID LITTLE BRAT, where is your mother, and does she have enough of the Brawny paper towels from the cleaning supply aisle to wipe up your blood when I dismember you for spilling your five samples of chocolate frozen yogurt all over my new shoes?! GAH!! GET ME OUT OF HERE! To the queue, where they don’t actually bag any of the groceries, and I have to ask for a box for the smaller items, but at this point, I don’t care because I just want OUT!

$240 and 14″ of receipt later, I am on my way to the door, stopping every so often because the daft cow in front of me has to stop at the food cart for a mega slice of greasy pizza and tub of diet coke for $2.99 before continuing on to the door, where some kid who barely looks old enough to count to ten checks the merchandise in my cart against my receipt. “Crown Royal, huh?” “Yep.” “Party at your house?” “No, it’s my gift to myself for making it through here without killing anyone.”

Pushing my cart along, navigating beyond the first four aisles where the same idiots are STILL circling for a spot, to my car. Load up and take the cart back. Come back and find three vehicles all waiting for my spot, wedged so close I have no hope of backing out. Eventually they figure this out, and back off. I pull out and narrowly avoid getting clipped by the winner, heading for the exit and home, the whiskey strapped safely in the passenger seat behind me.