Saturday, July 13, 2013



Costco tends to be a store where there is often drama of one kind or another. “Costco Drama” we call it. Yep, that’s right. It’s got its very own category. Thankfully Costco Drama is usually of the cheerful, funny sort.

After much lengthy and rigorous contemplation, I’ve come to realize that there are two specific Costco store policies that contribute to Costco Drama. 
1. Free Samples It’s inevitable that when three children insist upon tasting the spicy Squid Salad sample, at least one of the three children is going to follow their first bite with some wildly dramatic dry-heaving and tongue-scraping. One in three. Simple math. 
2. Happy Faces on Receipts I don’t know if it’s just our local west-end Costco that does this, but after you go through the line at the cashier, another employee stands at the door and verifies that the items in your cart match the items on your receipt. At the store we go to, these receipt verification employees always draw smiley-faces on the back for the kids. It’s such a simple thing, but our kids love it. For us, there have been highs and lows with this smiley-face policy, but in general, it’s one of the reasons that Costco is a fun store to visit.

On our most recent visit (which, incidentally, was the visit with the sample-tasting, dry-heaving-tongue-scraping-three-year-old), our Costco Drama reached new heights of ridiculousness.

All was relatively peaceful until we were standing in a long, slow-moving checkout line. In addition to the employee that scans your items, there’s also an employee who gets your stuff ‘ready’ for check out. It’s quite an elaborate system, really.

The girl who was helping people in the line was super sweet, really friendly, and kept talking to the kids. At one point she came to them and said, “Do you guys want me to draw you smiley faces while you’re waiting?” This was a brand new smiley-face offer, as we were only in the first line, the one before the register. Typically the smiley faces only come in the second line up, before the exit. (Are you following this? It’s quite complicated, I know.)

In response to the sweet employee girl’s offer, the boys smiled and expressed that they’d “totally love that!” She scooted behind the register, grabbed some paper and a marker, paused to let the young guy behind the cash (also super sweet and cute!) flirt with her for a second, and then came back to my boys.

After drawing and giving a happy-face to Ella and Jake, the girl went over to Josh. Unfortunately, she didn’t quite hear as Josh said to her, “Instead of a happy face, I’d like you to draw me a tiger with a lightning bolt through it.” (I wonder what was happening in his brain at that moment, that prompted him to ask for that specific thing.) I’m guessing that the sweet employee girl simply didn’t quite understand what he had said, or something, because she smiled at him and said, “Sure!” Then she proceeded to draw him a happy face and pass it over to him. He looked at it and was all like, “What? You just said you’d draw a tiger with a lightning bolt through it! You lied!” Jake, who had previously been down a similar road himself (I wrote about that one here), was the voice of wisdom and experience. “Josh, you get what you get. It is what it is. Just say thank you.”

Of course Josh didn’t listen to his older brother’s council, and instead of saying thank you to the sweet employee girl, he proceeded to stare her straight in the face, and, quite slowly and dramatically, tear the paper in half.

Sweet employee girl burst out laughing.

I was a tad horrified, but, as our items were now being rung through, I was distracted and figured I’d deal with Josh later. The girl, though, found it funny, and, still laughing, told the guy-cashier that she’d previously been flirting with about what had just happened. He paused from ringing our stuff through, and, clearly in what was an attempt to continue flirting with his cute co-worker, said to Josh, “That’s awesome, buddy! You really just tore up her picture? That’s hilarious!” Then he proceeded to high-five Josh. Twice, actually. Once on each hand. Smiling, I light-heartedly intercepted before there were more high fives or other celebrations of Josh’s rudeness. “Don’t encourage him! He totally shouldn’t have done that.”

Sweet employee girl said, “Well, the other two kids liked what I drew for them, so it’s all OK.” And right then, just as we all glanced towards Ella, looking all meek and gentle sitting in the cart holding her own smiley-face paper, Ella crumpled the paper in her two tiny little hands and proceeded to shove it into her mouth. It was surreal. She never eats paper. Never! Never before, never since. Why would… At this precise moment… Needless to say, the two employees were killing themselves laughing, and I was a combination of amused, and just kind of like, “What the heck is wrong with these children?”

This is becoming a rather long blog post, so I’ll cut it short and leave out the part where Josh “accidentally” took the cashier’s wireless scanning gun with us when we left, or where Josh lamented to the receipt-verification employee on the way out how, “The last girl said she would draw a tiger with a lightning bolt through it, but she lied to me. Can you draw one?”

Costco Drama. 

I wonder at what age it will end. But for now, I think I’ll just enjoy it as it comes.