My First Trip To Costco

Who wants to hear a story? Great! Gather around and don’t spill your juice box on the carpet. Someone always does. It’s the reason our Kindergarten teachers never trusted us with any food or drink on the carpet. Only duct tape was allowed, so we knew where to sit. Obedient little rug rats, we were.

Have I stalled long enough? Is everyone here? Good.

For the uninitiated, Costco Wholesale Corporation is a membership-only warehouse, which sells just about everything. It’s a great place to buy groceries if you want to buy in bulk.

Essentially, Costco is the place you go to if you need a bath tub but want to buy an entire ocean. Does that make sense? I think it makes sense.

The story I’m about to tell you is from a couple of months ago.

Is it weird that the first time I went to Costco is in 2018? I don’t know. It could be weird. I could be an anomaly.

My family never had a membership until the last few years, so I’ve never really had an excuse to go. You can’t go to the other side of the world if you don’t have a plane ticket.

And let me tell you, walking into Costco for the first time was like entering a different world.

They should really just call themselves Costco Rica, at this point. Any objections? No. Costco Rica it is.

But this story starts before that. It starts in the parking lot. I’ve heard, and seen, stories of how vicious a Costco parking lot can be. So I had my elbows up, ready to fly, if needed.

Alright, my elbows weren’t really up, but if they were it was because I was in a winter jacket and was like Randy from A Christmas Story, when his family tightly wrapped him in his snowsuit and he said, “I can’t put my arms down.”

If that joke resonated with at least one person, I’m satisfied.

We parked in the furthest spot from the door. Right next to our car was a buggy.

Most mortals call it a “shopping cart”, but I call it a “buggy” because I am not from this planet.

Growing up, I was always the buggy pusher when I went grocery shopping with my mom. It was so much fun. I was a total pro. It was like a real life video game. Navigate the obstacles and avoid the banana peels on the floor.

So I grabbed the buggy next to our car and pushed it all the way through the parking lot, into the store. Being a buggy aficionado, I immediately realized the dimensions of it were much larger than I was used to.

I felt like I was pushing a jacuzzi, or a float in the Santa Claus Parade.

We get in the store and my mom has to show her membership card. I felt like I was a member of some secret society, like Homer Simpson was with the Stonecutters.

We do! We do! 

Anyone get that reference?

The security to get in and out of this place was tighter than…tighter than…please hold while I think of a comparison.

The security to get in and out of this place was tighter than the 2014 Winter Classic at The Big House in Detroit, Michigan. There were over 100,000 people at that stadium, yet I walked through the gates and at most, the security personnel breathed the same oxygen I did for two seconds.

No one searched me. I didn’t go through a metal detector. It was colder than cold (Ice cold!) that day and I was a walking 12-layer lasagna, but no one bothered to check if I was sneaking something nefarious in.

Of course, I never would. But still.

Costco, though, they stop everyone at the door. Thou shalt not pass without a membership.

My first impression of the warehouse was, “Oh, so this is the place that will be overrun first, when the zombie apocalypse comes. Got it.”

My second impression was, “Did I make a wrong turn and enter a Home Depot by accident?”

It did not feel like a grocery store, at all.

There were people everywhere. It’s as if someone kicked an ant hill and the ants were frantically dispersing.

I hate that about large crowds. You realize that people don’t really know how to walk, so everyone has to overcorrect their own walking pattern. And when buggies are involved, the stakes are raised.

I wasn’t in the store for more than 60 seconds before my buggy almost got T-Boned by a reckless buggy pusher. The near-accident was never going to be my fault. I’m a buggy aficionado, remember? That gives me immunity.

The main reason we were there was to buy cases of water that were on sale. I was there to lift the heavy cases.

I wasn’t in the mood for browsing. I’m a very “get in, get out” person when it comes to shopping. I go in with a general game plan of what I’m looking for, and then when I see it, I’ll know if I want it. Then I get out.

So after the near buggy accident, I had my mom direct me to the water. Let’s make this quick.

Along the way to the water, I noticed sampling stations set up. I don’t want to poo-poo a sampling station because who doesn’t like free things, especially food?

But if you think I was going to stop, park my buggy, and wiggle my way through a crowd of 10 people to get something attached to a toothpick, you’ve got the wrong person.

That being said, I have no clue what the free sample was. I had an empty road (aisle) ahead of me and I was going to enjoy it, like a dog with his head out the window of a moving car.

After loading the water into the buggy, my steering was impaired by the weight. I felt like a Formula One car going through Monaco. I could only hope that when people saw me coming, they’d leave some room.


I don’t know if I was wearing an invisibility cloak, or what, but people seemed to like to walk directly at my buggy. I don’t understand it. Do you want to get hit?

The place was a zoo and it wasn’t even a weekend. I’ve never gone Boxing Day shopping, but I’m assuming this is what it must be like.

From the water, we went over to the cookie section because why drink water if it’s not washing anything down?

That was a joke.

It’s amazing how bad cookies can look once you look at the price tag. They could be the most scrumtrulescent thing that your taste buds ever touch, but $8 for a case of cookies scared me off.

Also, I’ve had those particular cookies before, and although they tasted great, there were always clumps of sugar left in the container, as well as on the backside of each cookie.

Too sweet.

Yes, I’m turning into an old man.

Long story, short, we headed to the check-out line.

We joined a line and the lady in front of us turned around and stared right at me.


Eye contact was made, kids. The kind of eye contact that says, “Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but I’m a stranger who’s going to start a conversation with you in 5…4…3…2…

I darted my eyes away. Shut it down.

And then she made eye contact with my mom. Oh no. Don’t look into the eyes!

My mom and I are notorious for strangers coming up to us and asking questions, or starting random conversations. We don’t know why.

I guess it’s a compliment. Perhaps we always look like the most welcoming people in the room? Who knows.

For the moment, we had avoided a conversation with this person, but lines are long and time stands still, so a few minutes later, she turned around again and started talking to us.

I don’t even remember what she said.

Oh wait, I might. She was there to buy flowers and came across a piece of clothing she liked. I stood there thinking, “Why would you come to Costco for flowers and clothes, when you could avoid the chaos and do that anywhere else?”

As we were approaching the cashier, I noticed that we had to say goodbye to our buggy. Our buggy would be passed to the cashier behind the counter and they would scan and bag items from there.


There wasn’t even a sign telling us to do this, so if I were there by myself, I would’ve loaded everything onto the conveyor belt, brought the buggy with me, and looked like a fool.

That’s a pet peeve of mine. If you’re relying on someone to follow a certain protocol, make sure you have directions somewhere to instruct people who have never done it before.

You have to educate before you can expect. Someone should put that on a t-shirt.

As soon as it was our turn to pay, I abandoned ship and went to their Food window to get myself some lunch.

I ordered chicken fingers and fries because I have never been let down by an order of chicken fingers and fries.

Before we could leave the store, we had to join a queue so they could check our receipt. I understand why they do it, but my chicken fingers and fries don’t have time to stand in line. They lose heat. Time is of the essence here!

I was expecting them to take my chicken-fingerprints at this point.

I should’ve asked them if they ever caught the buggy pusher who almost ran into me, but they probably would’ve said they’d check the surveillance footage and get back to me. Then they’d ask for an e-mail and phone number they could reach me at, but really they just wanted me to be on their mailing list. So I never asked about the wild buggy pusher.

Leaving the store felt like I was exiting Halloweentown and returning to the real world. It was like I went through a portal.

I’m not here to bash Costco – this is a humour post. Costco is a dog-eat-dog-eat-samples world, and a good place to study human behaviour.

It’s just not for me. Give me a nice grocery store, with a bakery smell that hits you as you enter, and I’m a happy customer.

I think that’s what I like about grocery stores the most. You’re greeted by the smell of fresh bread and pastries, which you’re forced to track down as you make your way through the store.

It’s like a scavenger hunt.

Will I ever return to Costco some day? Never say never; maybe say maybe.

The End.

Feel free to share any thoughts you may have after reading this story. Did you relate to any of it? Do you have any Costco/grocery store-related stories to tell?

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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49 Responses to My First Trip To Costco

  1. James says:

    I feel like I probably have had this experience before, but I’ve buried the memories deep never to revisit them. Totally got the Christmas Story and Simpsons references though so that’s something…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. markbialczak says:

    We are members of the B.J. Warehouse down here, Paul. Different chain, same principal. Big store, large items, I don’t dilly-dally inside. My main attraction is that their gas station prices are about a dime cheaper per gallon than all the other places.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jad says:

    I freaking LOVE Costco but that is only because I can get American stuff which I miss in Costco Australia!!
    Oh and those free samples…I have had freaking LUNCH walking around that store!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Goodness, Paul. I have so many emotions after reading that! Probably the best thing I’ll read all day! I have never been in a Costco so thank you for this hilarious description of what would happen if I ever did go in hehe

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your waiting style, You kind of remind me of Lemony Snickett. And I get your references!! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kara's Kloud says:

    This is seriously so accurate!! Unfortunately, I’ve never been to Costco, but my mom has a Sam’s Club membership, so at least I’m part of a semi-cool society, right? Visiting buy-in-bulk stores is like going to a different planet. Also, I say “buggy” too, so I totally knew what you were talking about from the get-go. Who says “shopping cart?” Also, I’m actually working on a post now about my first visit to Whole Foods, and I’m feeling everything you’re feeling in this post hahaha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Yes! A buggy buddy! I always get so much flack for calling it a buggy by people who call it a “shopping cart” or something else that is wrong. I’m looking forward to your post! I feel like we all have ridiculous/funny/frustrating stories to tell about grocery shopping haha

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ely says:

    LOL so many things so much to comment on ha!! First of all when you said BUGGY the first time I immediately thought you were pushing a VOLKSWAGON BEETLE which we also refer to as a buggy lol 😂 then I learned it was just a shopping cart and I was like oh Ely you’re such an airhead lol! I’ve been to Costco like twice and it was years ago it’s just not my type of place. It’s overwhelming for me too many aisles too many options and for certain things I wouldn’t need in bulk it’s way too expensive and I’m not a fan of going to different places for different things. And it’s just a circus like I pass I’m good nope!
    And I REALLY agree we need a t-shirt that says educate before you expect – so damn true! Genius!
    And then I lost it at DONT LOOK AT THE EYES LMFAOOO that is so me. Avoiding eye contact at all costs lol like please don’t talk to me please don’t talk to me please don’t talk to meeeee GREATTTT SHE SPOKE TO ME. Ughhh!
    Chickenfingerprints ?! Really ?! 🤣🤣🤣🤣 I can’t deal with you. Such a fun post. Lol

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      A Volkswagon Beetle!? Really?? Could you imagine me pushing one of those through a parking lot in winter? I’d be a hit on YouTube. The place is so overwhelming! And there’s so much stuff. It’s like a garage sale kinda. Too many things you don’t need but there’s that one person who’s adamant about buying something to add to their collection. I don’t know where i’m going with this. Avoiding eye contact is hard because you have to look at the person to see if they stopped looking at you, BUT THEY NEVER DID. It’s all a trap. Why can’t strangers who like to talk to others seek out people who also like to talk? They always pick on the quiet ones.
      Chickenfingerprints was a nice TOUCH, wasn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Becky Turner says:

    For some reason, I didn’t think there were Costcos in Canada. But I should have also assumed there are Costcos in Canada. We’ve had one in my town for years, and I’ve had my fair share of Costco trips. We mostly buy paper towels, toilet paper, chicken, vitamins, toothpaste, etc., but I don’t think bulk stores were made for families of three.

    I live and die by the Costco chocolate chip cookies. How dare you not like them.

    I once saw someone return flowers before. It was weird and made me wonder why.

    I’m pretty sure there are signs at the check out about the whole cart/shopper separation… but yeah, it is a weird unwritten rule. ALSO, why didn’t you get a hot dog? Costco hot dogs are the best. (Speaking of those, I’m pretty sure you can sneak in the out door without getting stopped for a card to go to the little food court. Don’t hold me to it, I haven’t been to Costco in a while, but I think it’s a thing.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I’d say Canada has about 75% of the places the US has. We don’t have Olive Garden or TGI Friday’s which are two glaring negatives.

      Haha ok let’s talk about the chocolate chip cookies. I like them too! I just felt guilty getting them when they were $8 AND the last time I had them there were large sugar cubes all over the container and cookies. I don’t mind sugar I just don’t want it to be so visible.

      I would never buy a hot dog from there unless it was the last option lol. Even then I’d probably just eat at home. The only place I’ll really eat hotdogs are outside a baseball stadium at a vendor. It might be because a few years ago I was on a major hot dog kick and ate so many each week that I’m now tired of them. I don’t know. But it’s definitely chicken fingers and fries over hot dogs, 10 times out of 10.

      Maybe it was just the location I was at that didn’t have signs. Perhaps I didn’t see them. I just know they weren’t obvious, if they were there.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Becky Turner says:

        I clearly don’t get out much, so I don’t realize what other places have for stores and stuff. Olive Garden is just okay, but I love TGI Friday’s. You’re definitely missing out.

        Yeah, you just kind of look past the sugar cubes haha. I like those cookies because there are actual chocolate chunks in them instead of little chips.

        Okay, okay, that’s reasonable enough of a reason to lay off the hot dogs. I normally get a cheeseburger at baseball games and a pretzel. But nothing beats a Fenway Frank.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        Mmmm see now you’re making me crave the cookies. I just asked my mom to look for them the next she goes lol. You win.

        Cheeseburgers at a baseball game? What a great idea! I don’t think we have that here. We have messier sandwiches that aren’t easy to eat without a table.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Becky Turner says:

        I thought cheeseburgers at a baseball game were a regular thing? Or maybe it’s just an American thing. I don’t know. (I really need to get out more.) I’m just on a quest to find reasonably priced beer at stadiums.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        Ok I just looked it up and we do have burgers here. I haven’t been since a playoff game in 2016 because I was mad at the team last season.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul, no Olive Garden (But we’re family!”) and no TGI Friday’s (How do they expect Canadians to kick off a proper weekend?) it truly is the great white north up there! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        We have some other like-minded restaurants to fill the void. There’s one called Boston Pizza, which was founded in Edmonton. Edmonton!


      • Those New Englanders, is there no limit to their explorations? First, they found The Colonies, and now, a Boston Pizza…IN CANADA! Next thing you know, we’ll be hearing about how the Edmontonians are trading Boston Pizza for igloos—with the Eskimos! Oh, where will it end, a Boston Pizza franchise located in Santa’s Workshop? I think the big guy is already big enough, don’t you? No, by-jingles! I’m putting a call into Jenny Craig on behalf of Santa right now! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  9. it’s 2018 and I am still to set foot in a Costco, I know a few people with a card, but I just can’t seem to find a reason or the interest to go

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Lee Dunn says:

    Very relatable and funny as hell, Paul. When my wife gets in there and sees these huge club packs of meat, fish, baked items, what have you, she can’t resist the good prices and beautiful packaging. Only trouble is, there’s only two of us, so it either goes bad , or into our already overstuffed freezer. Not much of a bargain then.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Oh yes, I think Costco is probably best for families of 5+, though they appeal to everyone because we all see so much food for so little and tell ourselves we need it. Thanks for reading, glad you enjoyed it!


  11. T-shirt in the making: Education before Expectation
    Visit me if you want one, kids

    Also I go to Sam’s Club which is like THE EXACT SAME THING so I totally get all of this 😄 you put it into words

    Liked by 1 person

  12. peckapalooza says:

    I got your Christmas Story reference. And the Simpsons reference.

    “It’s as if someone kicked an ant hill and the ants were frantically dispersing.” Hilarious. And accurate.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Angela says:

    Haha I dont even know what to comment on, I’m still laughing at imagining you pushing around a jacuzzi.
    I got the Simpsons reference but not the Christmas story one 😦
    I had my first Costco experience just last year, my sister had twins and had to bulk buy nappies (daipers, do you call them diapers in Canada?) and baby wipes. We came home with Garden furniture and a pizza that could feed my village.
    I didn’t love it,everything is SO BIG I’m small and I felt like I was in a ‘Honey I shrunk the Kids’ movie, they had a bag of teabags that was almost my height!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Haha yes, we call them diapers here. The pizza there looked huge! Though I’ve been told it’s not very good – not sure whether to believe that or not. All pizza is good (for the most part).
      Yes! Honey I Shrunk the Kids is exactly what that store is! The ceilings were so high too. It’s just a weird place.
      Thanks for reading, glad I could make you laugh!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Laura says:

    Dude. It’s 2018 and I STILL haven’t been to a Costco. Granted, I’ve been in other airplane hanger sized “grocery” stores so I’ve got a sense of it but, from all I’ve heard, you’ve now experienced Mecca. Congratulations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Haha it’s such an intimidating place to go to! Everyone looks like they’re in a rush but it’s a slow moving store. The dim lighting also doesn’t help lol


  15. kirkhsmith says:

    Welcome to the club;) Liked your Christmas Story reference BTW.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. cactushoney says:

    I say buggy! Actually, everyone I know from back home says it too! So we all must be from a different planet.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. When I first went to costco this year too it was to buy a membership card the guy laughed at me for not knowing what to do and for asking the wrong question it made me uncomfortable that he was entertained by me being and looking so lost. I told him I was there just to buy books and not get groceries he laughed at me again. I was thrown off I kept thinking Im missing the funny. After paying my fees I was the same way walked in and headed to one spot I didnt look around bought my books and was out. I go there to buy books because my town doesnt have a bookstore anymore. I feel obligates to makw that clear just in case you’re wondering lol

    Liked by 1 person

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