Shopping At Costco With Kids: A Guide To Making It Out Alive

by Cara Meredith
mandritoiu / Shutterstock

It’s happened to all of us: You find your schedule free one morning, and the I-Can-Do-Anything woman within you decides it’s finally time to tackle the pending to-do list. First up? Head to the giant discount warehouse down the street for a new set of tires, with two young children in tow. What follows isn’t for the faint of heart, but this step-by-step guide will show you how to succeed at Costco without really trying.

Let’s get started:

1. Decide getting tires at Costco for your threadbare set is a great idea.

2. Decide to go to Costco with the rest of the Bay Area on a Friday morning.

3. Decide it’s a super great idea to take your 2½-year-old and and 7-month-old with you.

4. See that the queue in the tire shop is five people deep and think to yourself, No big deal. I got this.

5. Realize you will be entertaining your children without any food, coloring books and crayons, balls, toys or anything.

6. Do nothing about No. 5.

7. Play hide-and-seek in the tires. It’s secure! It’s safe! No one can escape!

8. Play “race” in the tires. Try to wear out toddler in hopes of an afternoon nap.

9. Try to make toddler sit on the floor.

10. Fail miserably.

11. Pull out your journal and the one pen in the bottom of your purse and instruct him to draw “anything.”

12. Chase after toddler as he attempts to escape.

13. Catch toddler by shirt.

14. Comfort wailing escapee.

15. Calm now-crying, empathetic child at your chest, whom you’ve nearly forgotten about.

16. Apologize to baby: Mama really does love you.

17. Chase after escapee again.

18. Consider why you haven’t purchased a leash.

19. Hem and haw along with the other patrons in line.

20. Secretly hope someone will let you cut ahead.

21. Put jaw back in place after old man behind you asks if he can cut in front of you (“Because I only need to return and exchange and get one new tire, ma’am!”)

22. Muse over his request. Wonder if you’re a bad person for saying no.

23. Say no, pointing to Exhibit A (toddler) and Exhibit B (baby).

24. Avoid eye contact with the old man for the next 25 minutes.

25. Hope he doesn’t hate you.

26. Shush yourself as you chase after Exhibit A and vow to stop people-pleasing.

27. Tackle Exhibit A off the ladder he’s climbing.

28. Tackle Exhibit A off the cart he’s yelling “Yeehaw!” on.

29. Breathe a “Thank you, Sweet Baby Jesus” sigh of relief: You’re finally near the cash register.

30. Let Exhibit A color with the tire department’s assortment of colored Sharpies.

31. Wonder why you didn’t visit the cash register sooner.

32. Be given a three-hour estimated wait time.

33. Realize staying another three hours is just plain stupid.

34. Leave the tire center without ever having purchased a set of new tires.

35. Wonder if you’re having an out-of-body experience when you find yourself dragging two humans over to big Costco.

36. Watch numbly as toddler starts shouting “Gapes! Gapes! Gapes!” at the top of his lungs after you deny him access to four pounds of grapes.

37. Let toddler hold said grapes.

38. Detour to the alcohol aisle.

39. Consider the phrase, “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.”

40. Treat yourself to a nice bottle of chardonnay and promise to keep to your time zone.

41. Eat sample No. 1. Raviolis!

42. Avoid purchasing any discount books and give yourself a pat on the back. You will support the independent bookstores. You will read the 89 unread books you already own.

43. Listen as toddler screams “Pyjamaaaaaaaas!” when you won’t let him put on his new pajamas in the middle of Costco.

44. Eat sample No. 2. Salad!

45. Watch as tears stream down toddler’s face.

46. Let strangers give you, Ms. Denier-of-All-Things-Happy-to-Precious-Little-Children, the stink eye.

47. Thank Allah for sample No. 3. Coffee!

48. Make your way to the checkout line, hoping you correctly picked the shortest queue.

49. Feel eyes widen as toddler yells “Potty!”

50. Race in the general direction of the restrooms.

51. Realize your hunch is nearly accurate, except for the chain link fence blocking your path.

52. Remember your fence-hopping days.

53. Scurry with baby in Ergo and toddler in arms around the chain link fence.

54. Neglect to realize your older son is actually peeing on you while you run.

55. Plop Exhibit A on the toilet, facing you.

56. Touch the side of your hip and wonder why your shirt is wet. Unlock the answer to No. 54.

57. Scream in horror as Exhibit A lets a stream of urine soak your knees.

58. Make his day by allowing him to put on the previously denied, yet-to-be-purchased pajama bottoms.

59. Fist-pump the air. You’re leaving soon.

60. Suddenly envision Instagram possibilities. Two brothers in one cart!

61. Strap baby into cart while toddler begins to run full-speed in the opposite direction.

62. Stand horror-struck as he ignores your pleas to “Stop and wait!”

63. Watch him continue to running.

64. Leave baby, food and purse in the cart to chase after the Olympian.

65. Think you are faster than him.

66. Realize you aren’t. Vow to go to the gym.

67. Watch him round the corner.

68. Mutter, “I don’t get paid enough to do this.”

69. Return to your cart and notice a little old lady starting to push your cart forward.

70. Hope she’s not trying to steal your child.

71. Say, “Um, thank you?”

72. Strap wailing and screaming toddler into the cart next to baby brother.

73. Hear yourself yelling, “Gentle!” to big brother as he instigates a wrestling match.

74. Secure a place in line, again.

75. Neglect to take the Instagram picture.

76. Lament over your bill, for everything you never knew you needed, when all you came here for was a new set of tires.