Have you ever been to a cart race? A shopping cart race, that is!

Costco was a madhouse. Don’t go on a Sunday afternoon. But really, is there ever a perfect time to go to Costco in the city?

Shopping Cart Antics
Photo by Sayla Brown on Unsplash

We drove by, couldn’t find a parking space. No, not a “good” parking space, NO parking space. I’m not going in there. Decided to go to Target instead. And it was a good thing we did because I found the perfect Fall sweater. I don’t want to hear it. I can be a little extra if I want to.

Then I was too hungry to go anywhere else, so we stopped for a sandwich.

“What are you looking for?”

“Something different. I always get the same thing.”

He sighs and loudly proclaims, “Finally. I’m so tired of watching you eat that! Sheesh!”

“Ok. What are you getting?”

Clicks on the same sandwich he’s gotten twenty-two times in a row. “My favorite!”

We laugh hysterically.

“Let’s try Costco again. I’m dangerously low on my favorite tequila and I don’t want to pay more somewhere else. I’ll brave the masses for a $5 discount!”

Plenty of parking at the end of the lot this time, but the driveway into the discount gas station is a madhouse and the front of the store…geez… I don’t see the sense in waiting forty-five minutes to get gas. Where do all these people come from? And why are they so frantic to get inside Costco?

We start to go inside but then realize we’re going to need a shopping cart, circle back out immediately and return to the Greeter to show my membership card again. Exclusive club, you know.

I attempt to climb in the cart, but he says I can’t.

“Who says?! This is my emotional support cart. I need safety! Stat!”

I hear someone behind me giggle.

I shop Costco in a completely different way with my friend than with my husband. When my husband and I go, we travel all the isles systematically, looking at everything even though we have no intention of buying it. It’s a date we look forward to each month and we extend the mission as long as possible.

With my friend, it’s a totally different thing. It’s a casual mission, one with no set outcome in mind. We’re just there to see what’s there, enjoy the coolness, or wander around and laugh, possibly make others laugh or jealous of our adolescent antics. We see one thing and head towards it, get distracted, head to the other side, and argue about who gets to push the cart because they’re more responsible.

“Do these underwear make me look sexy?”

“No.”

“Look! Wrinkle cream! You need this!”

We did find the tequila I wanted, and the peanut butter pretzels my family adores, and headed to the checkout. The cashier picked the bottle up off the belt and looked at me, “You’re not old enough to drink this!” I laugh back, “Yes I am!” I tap my friend on the shoulder, “Dad, tell her that I’m old enough.” He narrowed his eyes at me, and we all laughed.

On the way out, carts and shoppers bottle-necked at the door, employee checking receipts, we’re giggling about being patient and telling each other not to run into people. Leaving this store is like trying to get to the entrance of carpool lane on the freeway in time. Come on people! Let’s go!

Once we’re relatively free, crossing the parking lot, I realize how sloped toward the street it is.

“I bet if I get on, I could coast all the way to the truck!”

I grab the handle and jump on the shopping cart, coasting. He runs to the front and adds his weight to the front. Immediately we start to drift toward the cars.

“You’re ruining my trajectory!” I holler as I jump off laughing.

Unloading the shopping cart into the backseat, still snickering about how funny we are, he takes the cart to return it. I shut the door and start in his direction, watching him try to get it going fast enough to ride into the corral. Another woman turns to return her cart and does the same thing right behind him.

“Race! Race! She’s right behind you!”

We all end up at the corral at the same time, cracking up!

“You gotta be loaded and going downhill to get good speed.”

“I know! I saw you guys try it and gave it whirl myself. I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to stop!”

We all laugh as we walk back to our cars.

Getting in, start the truck, put my seatbelt on, I sigh.

“We just met a cool person.”

“Yep.”

Many times in my life, almost every day that I go out, I find people that are fun. They respond when you say funny things. They make jokes about the items at the grocery store. Say things that inadvertently make everyone around them laugh.

I want to stay connected with those people, hand them a business card and tell them to follow me on Instagram or read my blog because I’m definitely writing a story about this, but it seems so awkward. Like I’d ruin the moment, make it weird.

Maybe the fleetingness of it is what makes it awesome. One quick encounter with the hilarious. An immature joke shared between complete strangers.

But still…I dream of being able to pull these people together into a team. We’d be an unstoppable force of joy and spontaneity.