Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Tag: shopping

Shopping Cart Antics: Sharing the Love at Costco

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.

Maybe We Could Take Off The “People Suck” Glasses for a Moment

Ok, I’ll jump on the coronavirus bandwagon! I wasn’t going to, but a few things came together over the past week and I thought, wow…I should say something about this, and it’s not “wash your hands.” It’s about hoarding…and it’s not what you’re probably thinking.

I try to avoid going shopping in the afternoon as a rule. There are just so many people there and I get like a crabby old lady shaking my cane at all the slackers. I shouldn’t act like that. I shouldn’t react to other humans as if they are just NPC’s in my game, but…sometimes…really? That makes me feel bad about myself, so I keep my supplies shopping down to once a month and in the morning if possible. It’s just better for all of us.

Last week was especially trying. I’d begun to hear through social media memes about toilet paper hoarding and empty shelves where the hand-sanitizers used to sit, but I assumed it was a fluke of one store or a few in larger cities that the media had gotten ahold of and spun into “news.”

I didn’t expect it here in the rural desert, but there I was heading down the aisle for some tissues and laundry soap, faced with a completely empty shelf where the disinfectant spray used to be stacked. I stopped and huffed. What in the world? I took a picture of it and texted it to my husband. “I can’t believe it.”

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My ACTUAL Picture of the Stores Shelves

When I got home, I grumped about the situation. People over-reacting. Hoarding toilet paper of all things. You do know you CAN live without it, right? There was more to grump about. My other errands included picking up packages at the post office and a quick grocery store run that turned sour (probably because of my bad mood), but those are stories for another day.

Suffice it to say that I had a stressful trip into town. I washed my hands, put things away, washed my hands again, and then got myself a nice shot of Irish whiskey on ice. I needed it.

But that’s not the end of my story!

Over the next few days, I started seeing Facebook posts griping about “hoarders” in our time of crisis and suddenly, something dawned on me. I don’t think people are hoarding supplies at all.

Think about it. The store gets a delivery once a week to restock any items that people typically buy in one week. We don’t all buy the same items every week, so they don’t restock ALL of any one product each week, especially things like cleaning supplies.

Let’s take disinfectant spray as an example since that’s what I saw firsthand. Let’s say the shelf I saw held 1000 cans of spray. Not everyone uses one can every week. Not everyone even uses it at all. I don’t. Let’s say again, hypothetically because I didn’t, I heard on the news that it would be a good idea to spray things down with disinfectant during this epidemic, so on my next shopping trip, I pick a couple cans up.

Now, there are approximately 40,000 people in our area, so even if half of that many people all watch the news and decide to do the same thing in the same week, the store will run out this week. And probably next week too.

That’s not hoarding. It’s what happens when everyone changes their behavior suddenly. No one is being a terrible person. Everyone is just doing the next logical thing. We’re not monsters. We’re just taking precautions to protect our families like the news suggested we should.

I don’t believe people are generally horrible. My family will laugh at that statement, but I think they’d agree that although I do get a little snippy with people, in general, I believe people are capable and good.

I DO believe our social media behavior is shabby. We see something going on in the world, but we don’t think logically about it, or give people the benefit of the doubt. Then we react to people and events before even thinking things through. And now that we can broadcast those thoughts immediately to everyone we know, things just look uglier than they really are.

It’s gotten to the point where I, myself, have been afraid to do something because of how it might be reported on social media or how it may look to a passerby. That’s just not healthy. That’s something we need to change.

It seems like a vicious cycle. One person sees something and accuses, posts about it, others see it and jump on the wagon. We read it and begin to think, “What’s wrong with people?” And then we begin to think everyone is ugly. Then we see something through our “people suck” glasses and begin to see more of it everywhere and accuse them. The cycle repeats.

What if instead, we started assuming positive intent in everyone around us? What if, instead of jumping to accuse people of wrongdoing, we took a breath and thought it through? We could look at our own behavior and try to see a reason why a fellow human is doing something. It could just make the world a much friendlier place.

I’m glad I resisted the urge to post my photo and disapproval of my neighbors on social media and simply complained to my family instead. Maybe next time I’ll not be so easily frustrated, assume positive intent, and come home in a much better mood to my family.

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