The wonders and woes of Costco

Every year around this time in Alaska, people begin the panic realizing we have only a handful of days before studded tires become illegal. We make a mad dash to get our tires changed over. It’s as if we’ve forgotten that the snow melts!

This year, I had to buy new tires. I did so a few weeks ago, in order to avoid this last-minute chaos. However, it’s Alaska, and it was still snowing when I bought the tires. So, instead of getting them put on my minivan, I put them in my garage. And then, I took all three kids with me today, of all days, to Costco to get them installed. We got there around 8:45 this morning. They didn’t open until 10 and there was already a line 15-20 people deep. Around 11, I was given an appointment at four this afternoon. What, oh what, do you do with three kids for five hours at Costco? I’m sure it can be done, but I wasn’t going to attempt it!

We ran some errands and visited the folks and then around 3:30, headed back to Costco. Mind you, the kids have already had their Costco parking lot experience for the day. And despite loads of snacks, treats and movies, they were BORED and done with the giant box store.

So, we wait until four and hand them my keys. We go wandering through Costco. Up and down the aisles. A chorus of “get down!” “come back here!” “don’t put that in your mouth!” “don’t touch that!” and “oh, yes that is yummy but we’re not buying 12 pounds of it” ensues.

After an exhausting hour of the Costco obstacle course, we meander over to the food court and buy two hot dogs and a gelato. (They picked hot dogs over ice cream! What?!) The baby has an innate hatred of Costco, for some reason. I don’t know if it’s the harsh lighting, the vastness of it all or a distaste for bulk buying, but whatever it is, he always ends up shrieking. I mean top-of-his-lungs-people-staring-convinced-I’m-killing-him shrieking. Today the shrieking began over his desire to drink his brother’s soft drink. (What the hell was I thinking giving them soda the day after Easter when they still have a residual sugar high? I don’t know!) I snatched the soda away from my unwilling preschooler to try and appease the baby. The preschooler starts to pout and pound the table. People are looking. I’m not. I’m ignoring the behavior and eating my gelato, imagining I’m not surrounded by the masses waiting for my stupid car to be done.

We finally head over to pick up said car. Guess what? It’s not done. Another 10 minutes they say. For the next 45 minutes, I am wrangling three overtired kids in the 12×3 space of the garage waiting area. My kids are literally climbing the walls to see what’s making the Zzz Zzz Zzzoom noise. At first, I was explaining all the signs, sights and sounds but then I hit my wall. My 25 pound toddler was wiggling out of my arms, desperate to scoot around on the filthy carpet. My preschooler and eight year old wanted nothing more than to crawl under a car jacked up ten feet in the air. And I just wanted to sit. Quietly. In dim lighting.  With a bottle of wine.

Finally, and possibly because my kids were doing the above activities, the attendant said my car was done. And (people say “and” now instead of “but” when they want to give you bad news, I learned that in management training) my winter tires are dead. I will have to get new ones come Fall.

For now, I’m throwing that fearful financial hit far off into the future. I’m not worrying about the snow. I’m going to think of summer and sun and not having to make my children stay cooped up in a car, in a day built around Costco. I’m putting on a smile and pouring myself a glass of well deserved cheap wine.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. lamgold
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 19:25:42

    It’s so nice now that my kids are older and I can just leave them HOME for errands, but oh how I remember those days. I feel for you! My next hurdle is helping the 16 year old get her license because the driving around…I am getting SICK of it.

    Reply

  2. Kara
    Apr 28, 2011 @ 05:40:27

    There are some advantages to having a sick kid – I took my car in today to get my tires changed over, and I had Abby, Connall, and Sam with me. We didn’t go to Costco, just the little shop here in the Valley we always go to, with 10 chairs in the waiting room. Normally we would walk to Carr’s, or Waldenbooks, or even wander through the thrift store down the street for the 5 hour wait, but it was cold and rainy, and Connall has a cold and I can’t take Abby out in weather like that so soon after her surgery. The girls at the counter helpfully suggested I take a walk, there was lots of stuff nearby, and when I told her I couldn’t take the baby out because she’d just had open heart surgery 3 weeks ago, so ALL of us would be staying the entire time, we somehow magically got bumped to the head of the line. I have NEVER been out of that place so fast – it was amazing. I don’t know if it was thr threat of being stuck with a 4 year old boy all day long, or if they really felt sorry for Abby, but I’ll take it. Should I feel guilty? Eh, probably, but at the moment I just feel relieved. Ha!

    Reply

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