The 5 People You Meet In Costco (When You’re Toting A Baby)

The 5 People You Meet In Costco (When You’re Toting A Baby)

Earlier this week, I tagged along with my wife and seven-week-old son on our monthly trip to Costco, my most favorite of shopping destinations. Costco is a modern American bazaar, where you can find just about anything you need for every single room in your home. On a good day, you’ll even encounter a good old-fashioned salesman offering amazing (but limited) deals on things like smoker grills, $500 blenders, and infrared saunas—you know, the necessities.

When you’ve got a kid in his car seat taking up much of your oversized Costco cart, the shopping trip somehow transforms from a private affair into some sort of big box baby pageant. Over time, you come to learn that there are a handful of people you and your baby will encounter pretty much every time you walk through the store.

So far, I’ve found no good way out of it. And there’s no good way out of the 60-second conversations—often repeats—you endure with each of them. To be clear, these folks have no ill-will. Far from it. They just smell a baby and can’t help themselves but grab at the chance to get their fix. Let’s meet them now.

The Old Lady

I’m not sure at what age personal space stops being a thing, but for the old lady at Costco, boundaries are but a distant memory. You know how when your mom calls and the first thing she says when you pick up and say hello is “Oh for goodness’ sake, I’ve completely forgotten why I called you.” It’s kind of like that for the old lady at Costco… silly her, she’s completely forgotten what personal space is.

And what bad breath YOU have! (Image via Flickr user Austin Keys)
And what bad breath YOU have! (Image via Flickr user Austin Keys)

This old lady, bless her heart, has the breath of a well-traveled dragon. But that doesn’t stop her from congratulating you right to your face. It also won’t stop her from crouching down to show some love to your baby. Not even her old, aching back could stop her. In fact, I can’t think of one thing on God’s blessed earth that would prevent the old lady at Costco from invading your baby’s personal space.

The Amish Family

Ok, the Amish family is technically not a “person,” but there’s always one at Costco stocking up for the apocalypse winter. If you know what you’re doing, you’ll stick close to this family. They won’t directly address you, but they’ll unknowingly provide you with an invisible buffer zone if you manage to stay close enough.

Why? Because everyone else is a bit mystified by the Amish family, which means they tend to keep their distance. I call it the Amish circle of solace. It’s the only way to shop.

The Clueless Guy

The clueless guy came in with a shopping list 20-items long, but instead will leave with just one gigantic bag of popcorn. Image via Flickr user torbakhopper.
The clueless guy walked in with a shopping list 20-items long, but will walk out with just one gigantic bag of popcorn. (Image via Flickr user torbakhopper)

You’d be well-advised to trail the Amish family for the protection they offer, specifically from the clueless guy who would end up wandering the aisles of Costco for months weren’t it for the kindness of others. If you’re unable to put up with the Amish and their thoughtful, deliberate trip around the store, do whatever else you can to avoid the clueless guy.

The clueless guy (or gal, let’s be fair) isn’t quite sure why he’s there at all. He may or may not have arrived with a list that he immediately lost. The only way to describe his strategy is looky-lou, because whatever you have in your cart magically turns out to be exactly what he’s been looking for all along. After his sudden awakening, he will first ask you where in the gigantic store you found this precious item, then will ignore you completely to pinch your child’s fat little cheeks. After he has satisfied his baby fix, he will again ask you where you found that 64-ounce jar of mustard, because that’s what he came here for.

The Sample Pusher

Why yes, I would like a third of that chicken nugget. It’ll go great with this half-teaspoon of gluten-free chili I picked up around the corner. If only you served an ounce of organic apple juice to wash it all down, we could completely drop the pretense that I’m a GD adult.

After six and a half hours of pushing their samples on a bewilderingly eager public (who, by the way, has absolutely no intention of buying the full-priced product, don’t f***ing kid yourself), there’s no better sight to a sample pusher than a baby in a shopping cart. It’s like Christmas morning and the stockings are as plump as my baby. The sample pusher will drop her crusty serving spoon, caked with hours of melted Velveeta, and proceed to gently pass along the germs of hundreds of shoppers directly to your baby. But hey, it’s worth that one cracker and room-temperature slice of salami, right?

This Guy You Know but Can’t Remember His Name

This guy, THIS GUY! This is usually how I greet the guy I know I know, but much like my mom who’s forgotten why she called, I just can’t for the life of me remember his name. “Look at this guy! Good to see you, man! Have you met my wife, Emily?” If this guy doesn’t take you up on this obvious offer to reintroduce himself, I’m sorry. You’re not worth remembering if you can’t pick up on the polite social cues I’m shamefully serving up a la sample pusher lady.

In all reality, this guy has no name. Don’t even try to remember. Just remember why you came to Costco in the first place. You don’t want to end up the clueless guy.

Heyyy... Youuu! What do ya got there, Spam? Nice. Love the shirt! (Image via Flickr user sea turtle)
Heyyy… Youuu! What do ya got there, Spam? Nice. Love the shirt! (Image via Flickr user sea turtle)

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