Sunday, October 24, 2004

The Chaos That is Costco

John and I like to stay in on Sunday mornings. We have a small breakfast of pastry with mugs of steaming hot drinks--coffee with milk and sugar for him, pu-er tea for me--while we trade sections of the paper, catch snippets of the football game, and take turns petting the cats. Between sneaking Mordecai a crumb of almond cake and reading the book reviews, it's a typically quiet morning in our section of San Francisco.

Our little bubble is burst with a request from my mother. She needs a few things from Costco; would we mind? Of course not, but it's one of my least favorite places to be. John and I drove to the warehouse downtown and I braced myself for an experience I'd sooner forget.

Within seconds of stepping into the store, I had to dodge children lined up for free samples of hot chocolate. I carefully maneuvered my shopping cart around people studying cases of frozen seafood. I stepped aside when a forklift transporting what appeared to be several metric tons of carrots came toward me. Finally, I reached the pharmacy in the back of the store and located the fish oil capsules that my mother has been consuming daily.

Costco is one of those places where good intentions and discipline go awry. I'm not going to stand in line just for a few bottles of supplements, I tell myself. Before I know it, John and I are putting a case of San Pellegrino water, a year's supply of Tide, a jar of cashews, and a loaf of bread into the cart. John quickly steers the cart to the nearest checkout line before I talk myself into a dozen rolls of Scotch tape or a gallon of balsamic vinegar.

It's nearly 5:00 when we return home. John pulls out a package of Nathan's hot dogs and some buns and quietly makes us a quick dinner. He somehow intuits that it will take me time to recover and he's too hungry to wait. I squeeze some limes and mix the juice with a simple syrup (one part sugar, two parts water) to make lime-ade.

We're eating our hotdogs and watching the start of Game 2 of the World Series when it occurs to me that a certain five-pound bag of roasted peanuts would sure be tasty right about now.

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