I love sports. I’ve been involved in them since I was very little—played for fun, played on scholarship in college, coached for fun, coached in college as a profession. And I’m excited to watch the Superbowl Sunday—despite My Cowboys falling short this year.
But I’m here to talk about a different sport. Costco.
What’s that you say? Costco isn’t a sport? Oh sweet, sweet reader. When something necessitates all the requisite preparations—like carbo-loading, mental imagery and a proper game plan—it’s a sport. In fact, it’s a contact sport on weekends. Don’t get me started.
If you aren’t a Costco or Sam’s Club member and think this doesn’t apply to you, I implore you to stay, read and learn—as preparation for the day you do join the team. You will be ten steps ahead of the game, which will expedite your acceptance on our aisles.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a shopping partner, take a little time to assess each of your strengths and play to them.
Let me offer up a few examples.
Carts. It should not come as a surprise to any of you that my electrifying presence causes the cart to shock me from here to Kingdom Come; therefore, we’ve established that I’m never the official cart-pusher. Don’t be a hero—if you’re a sub par cart-operator—allow your Costco date to take on those duties. It will hasten your store visit and keep you pain-free and available to grab monstrous quantities of short-grain rice and Greek yogurt.
Checking out. Under no circumstances are you to opt for self-checkout if you’re not up to the task. What does that mean? It means that you and your shopping partner need to know who is passing and who is scanning. My assist skills are second to none, so I’ve proudly taken on that roll at self-checkout. I strategically hand the merchandise over in a way that makes it easy to scan. I’ve got the next item on deck as soon as the pass is complete.
I don’t look around, I don’t get distracted, I don’t coo at babies. I do my damn job. People are waiting and I’m not about to let them down. Even if the guy behind me is the joker who nearly back-ended my achilles by the protein bars—I still execute a speedy checkout.
Full disclosure: I’ve called an audible and steered us to a human cashier when I didn’t feel I was up to the task of getting us in and out of the checkout line. I don’t beat myself up or hang my head. I do take some time later to assess what led to the breakdown. It’s this kind of awareness and desire to always bring your A-game that separates the Costco JV squad from us Varsity Elites.
Newbies and unknowing veterans alike, please don’t hang around the food sample tables. It’s not a trough and you’re not a cow. Take your freebie and get moving. Don’t shuffle around as you take in the flavor and pretend to be contemplating a purchase. You know dang good and well what Parmesan croutons taste like. Accept your small meal and move along.
For the love of all that is good, go in with a list and a planned route. Mentally plot your path before you step through the doors. The more you roam aimlessly, getting distracted by shiny objects, the more you disrupt the flow of cart-traffic. If you see a 60-lb bag of mulch you can’t live without, you can deviate from the planned path—but try to keep these variances to a minimum.
And please, I plead with you, please maintain awareness. The carts are big and everyone is counting on you to maintain focus. You can’t just pause in the main aisles and look around nonchalantly. Take all the time you want on the product aisles—peruse the luggage or Clorox wipes at your leisure—just don’t hang out obliviously on the main thoroughfare.
I love Costco and all that it offers and how it simplifies my life—that’s why I’m speaking on its behalf, as well as its patrons. I know not everyone “gets” it and I
can’t stand love the person who (like clockwork when anyone mentions it) says emphatically, “Yeah! Like I need 10 bottles of Ketchup!” M’kay, well maybe you don’t, Sweetpea, but the owner of a restaurant does. I know this is shocking, but they’re not catering JUST to you.
That’s the beauty of it—some people need dog food and olive oil, while others need diapers and king prawns. It’s the size of a football field for a reason.
And why wouldn’t you want to get things like paper towels and laundry detergent? Do you ever really foresee a time when you won’t outfit your bathroom with toilet paper? What is it about milk or bread that makes you think its place in your life will eventually run its course?
“Shampoo? Yeah, like we’ll need that in 2017, Suckas!!”
It’s not like I’m going to wake up in February and decide vitamins are for losers. And I’d much rather buy all these things a few times a year, rather than once every two weeks. No, thank you.
My sister loves to go in our pantry and say, “Sure you have enough green beans? You’re cuttin’ it pretty close with just 9 cans left.” She derives great joy from opening a cabinet and questioning if we have enough toilet paper to get us through winter.
I used to get semi-offended when the workers at the exit door checked our receipt against the items in our cart—as if we were thieves—until the day I accidentally shoplifted a $130 container of chlorine for the pool. YIKES. Thank you, Costco Constable, for ushering me back to the cashier but please stop looking at me like I’m Winona Ryder and Lindsay Lohan’s love child—it was an honest oversight.
The last point I’d like to touch on is the shopper who is spatially unaware. That’s fine if you’re snuggled up with your wife watching Stranger Things, but you need to get off my back at Costco. We’re not in the pit at a Rihanna concert or a crowded New York subway—we’re in a 150,000 square foot warehouse—back up.
I hope this has been an eye-opener for old and new Costco members. If you’re willing to put a little forethought and effort into it—and treat is as the sport it is—we’ll all get along so well. And one day (fingers crossed) we’ll all be on Varsity, buying in bulk and not stealing chlorine.
I’d love for you to join me on Facebook … it’s good for your health.