Wednesday’s Word of Wisdom (And Whimsy)

Posted on July 6, 2022 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with 3 comments

Oh the humanity


Last week, I took my life into my own hands.

I did something that I never thought I would do.

I did not go bungee jumping, nor did I parachute from an aircraft.

I did not attempt to barrel roll over Niagara Falls.

No. This took a lot more nerve than those activities.

I went to Costco in Dartmouth and took out a membership.

Confessions of a Costco virgin.

Like so many other things in my life, it started innocently enough. When I got out of bed last Tuesday,  in my wildest dreams (or nightmares), I never would have thought that eight hours later, I would be deep in the jaws of a massive store. As reported in this space maybe 250 times, I am not a shopper. In my hometown there is a general merchandize store. Other than the grocery store and the liquor store, the 5 to $1.00 is about the only other place that I can go where I’m not panic stricken. When I go in there, I always know what I want. I simply walk down to the fabric cutting table, and Vera takes me by the hand and shows me to the right aisle.

Our son, Peter was home for a visit last week. He’s a bit of a health nut. Every morning he has a bowl of oatmeal filled with wild frozen blueberries, sliced banana, almonds, and pecans, topped with a small drizzling of maple syrup. I must be honest that purchasing the ingredients left me with sticker shock. Everything I buy these days causes heart palpitations. I had a bowl of this concoction, and it was delicious, nutritious and quite filling. He urged me to get a membership at Costco where I could buy these ingredients in bulk and save myself a lot of money. As I was taking him to the airport that very day, I decided to take the plunge.

I realized that any cost savings would probably be offset by the cost of fuel to get there. This dawned on me quickly after filling up my car before heading to the airport. I own a hybrid and $35 is the price I pay when there’s not a war going on halfway around the world. It took me about 10 kilometres (near Riverside Speedway – how apropos) for my heart to stop racing, after pumping $66 worth of petrol into my car’s gas tank.

I dropped off Pete at the airport. We hugged, said our goodbyes, and then I headed to Dartmouth. I reckoned that shopping at such a beastly place where temptations lurked in every aisle, would not be advisable on an empty stomach. I had lunch with a friend and then made my way to Dartmouth Crossing. I had only been to this mega shopping area once before. It took search crews three days to find me in the Ikea store. I actually used my Google Maps to save myself the aggravation of driving aimlessly in an area very new to me.

I knew that I was in trouble when it took me some time to find a parking space. Pete had told me that a weekday afternoon would be one of the quieter times to visit Costco… just not this Tuesday afternoon.

I was swept into the store by a horde of inbound shoppers and was nearly bowled over by another crowd leaving the store with their overloaded shopping carts of purchases. When I saw a lineup at the membership counter, I almost turned tail and left. While I was waiting my turn, I was looking into the store. It looked like the entire population of New Delhi (approximately 32,000,000 – give or take a few million) was shopping. My heart was beating. I messaged Pete who was waiting for his flight to depart. His comments did not instill confidence and reassurance. “When I go in, I treat it like a military operation. Deep breathing, intense focus, awareness of my route around the store, haha. The first time is always a little crazy.”

I didn’t want to go to war. I just wanted some almonds and pecans.

I finally got to the front of the line at the membership counter. A very pleasant woman took all of my information. She drew some blood (No. That happened later at the checkout!) and then surprisingly administered the MMPI. The Minnesota Multiphase Personality Inventory is a psychological test. I guess they wanted to know what kind of a shopper I’d be. I could have saved them the trouble! Editor’s Note. They did not administer the MMPI, but they probably should have.

I took a deep breath (as suggested by Pete) and entered the jungle. I grabbed a shopping cart. It was so big that I could have parked my car inside it and saved the trouble of looking for a space in Halifax.

Pete did me a huge favour. He sent me pictures of all the ingredients I needed with sizes and brand name. At least I had a fighting chance. I wandered aimlessly for 15 minutes, and my cart was empty. I thought of Moses wandering in the desert for 40 years. Would I find the “promised land” before the store closed? People were looking at me as if I was some kind of freak. I wanted to assure them that I was a legitimate shopper, but a person never feels comfortable admitting their virginity.

After about 10 km of walking, I found the first item on my list. I was waiting for a store employee to come by and pin a little gold start on my chest – you know, the ones our grade primary teacher gave us for good behaviour. Slowly but surely, I was able to find everything I needed. Mind you, it was now Friday and sleeping near the loading dock at Costco for three nights was no bargain!

Flushed with success, I made my way to the checkouts. When I saw the lineup in front of me, with carts piled to the ceiling, my heart skipped a beat once again. I had promised my neighbours that I would attend Canada Day celebrations later that week but with the horde in front of me, that seemed highly unlikely. I still had time to cut and run. I have no doubt that I wouldn’t have been the first to ditch my order and go hastily to Finbars for a large draft beer.

I must say that I was shocked at the speed that the line was moving. It seemed like there was a giant vacuum, sucking people through the checkouts. It was a model of efficiency. I thought I saw a smirk on the face of my cashier, Donna when she saw the paltry amount of goods I had purchased. Of course, I had a wee chat with her. I asked her if her head would be spinning at the end of her shift. She told me that she has been doing this for 23 years.

I did it! I was pretty chuffed as I made my way out of the store. I was no longer a Costco virgin.

And the very best part of this?

When I was getting my membership card, I was told that Costco delivered to Antigonish.

The MMPI would quickly ascertain if I had masochistic tendencies. If I choose to travel to the store rather than order on line, you’ll know the answer to that one.

In somewhat unrelated news.

Of course, to put large bags of blueberries and other assorted frozen products in my fridge freezer, I needed to do some rearranging. I discarded several pieces of old bread and other detritus that accumulates in a freezer over time. In the back corner there was a container of some sort wrapped in a plastic bag. You know how long it must have been there since stores abandoned the practice of handing out plastic bags a few years ago. I removed the bag and opened the lid of a frost encrusted glass dish. I pried open the lid. Maybe it was some frozen lobster that I had stashed for a chowder or maybe even some sweets that I had decided to freeze.

Nope. It was dried kale. It was obvious that it had died of neglect.

Have a great weekend.

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