Surviving Costco in the Middle of a Pandemic

Usually I’m drawn to activities like rock climbing, trail running, camping, hiking, and traveling. But this past week, along with all of you, I’ve been faced with a new type of adventure--quarantine. Here’s how I survived Costco in the middle of a pandemic.

On day one of national quarantine, our fridge was empty (How? Why?!); I loaded up my two boys, ages 4 and 6, for the hour and a half car ride and braved the chaos of Costco. I heard Costco employees were wiping down carts with Lysol wipes, so I didn’t bring any of my own. Before leaving our car, I told the kids the plan: get in, don’t touch anything, and get out. Yeah, right.

When we got to the store front, the carts were 100 feet away from the employee wiping them down, so I had to push the cart to the disinfecting station. I watched for a moment, and the employee was wiping down every cart with the same dried up wipe! Okaaaay. Needless to say, I declined that germ-infested wipe and took my chances with a dirty cart.

I walked inside. The store was eerily quiet--like the calm before a storm. My kids apparently did not notice the zen-ish atmosphere, so as I made my way to the produce section, we stood out like a whirlwind of sound. I could almost hear the Aladdin song, Prince Ali, playing in the background. Make way--just want some carrots!

Of course, I was unable to get every item on my list. Rice, beans, cat food--where you at? But on the bright side, I got a few things I didn’t need. Snap peas, I see you. It really is a difficult balance between stocking up for the end of the world and not looking like a crazy hoarder. I think I nailed it with those extra snap peas.

About halfway through the dry goods/shelf stable section, my boys started to get antsy. It was probably the eerie calm and lack of samples. They started running up and down the aisles yelling and TOUCHING EVERYTHING.

It was a pandemic mama’s nightmare.

No amount of speaking calmly, begging or threatening detoured them. I had to throw the bulk of my plan--don’t touch anything--out the window and move on to the last portion--get out. I grabbed a few remaining items, including a giant bottle of Vitamin C and headed for the checkout line. We paid, got our receipt marked, and hightailed it to the car.

I all but emptied a bottle of hand sanitizer after that disaster and vowed to leave the boys at home next time.

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Author: Beth Meaden, Wild Events Coordinator at Camp Bighorn
Photo: Getty Images