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Bad Parenting at Costco

What does Bad Parenting, The Rock, and Costco have in common?

How many steps does it take me to lose my receipt between the checkout line and the exit doors?

Answer: About 13.

It only takes me 13 steps to unconsciously shove the proof of purchase slip somewhere on my body so that when the sharpie wielding load out clerk is ready to check me out, I don’t know what I did with it. Everyone behind me then gets to watch as I pat myself down. I grab my head, shoulders, knees and purse–nope, not there. Eyes, ears, boobs and…Ah ha! Here it is: back pocket! I hand over the crumpled receipt to Brian the Costco employee who then has to smooth it out so he can swipe it with his marker.


Most of the time the employees don’t even check my cart because by the time the receipt is located, there is a line behind me and one of my kids has wrapped their body around the leg of a stranger asking for a “horsey foot ride” while my other child cries, “NO! It’s my turn!” and jumps on the other foot. In their defense, the guy did look a lot like their dad who unfortunately wasn’t with us. It was quite uncomfortable explaining the situation to Mr. Stroppy-Face who was obviously single and childless.

With my hands full and patience wearing thin I was going to need back up. I look around for my older kids to help me out only to find that they’re being scolded in the automotive section as ten or so tires bounce down the aisles. Bad parenting at it’s finest. Ugh, what’s a mother to do?

On the good days I smile and use my inside voice asking them oh so sweetly if they wouldn’t mind hurrying along so we could go home and eat homemade popsicles, draw unicorns, and read books. Yay! Woohoo!

(Carefree maniacal laugh, Hahahahaaa!)


On the bad days I look around innocently and wonder aloud who those kids belong to, then attempt to flee with my 200 lb. shopping cart full of granola bars and pudding cups all the while praying that I don’t take the corner too fast and roll the food barge in the crosswalk. 

(Overachieving weightlifter grunt, ruuuuuuuggnnhhh)


 It never works though, running away from your problems or your kids. I’m not fast enough and don’t get very far before “Costco Brian,” who knows me from previous encounters, is a good sport and jokingly says: “Hey lady, you’re not fooling anyone, we know those are your kids!”

“Darn it!” I joke back. The middle one looks a lot like me, is that what gave me away? So anyway, they don’t listen to me anymore, will you go get them?” (Big smile)

Costco Brian shakes his head and mouths the words “NO WAY.” “Pleeease!?” (Eyebrow wiggle)

“Uh uh.” Amusement of my antics wearing off, Costco Brian points me in the direction of my circus.

“Ugh, fine.” I briefly fantasize about walking back in wielding the XL summer sausage from my cart with the intensity of The Rock on his Walking Tall movie poster. Then the moment is over as I think “Who am I kidding?” I would probably look more like a sad mommy clown waggling a hot-dog at my children.


 Striking a balance between keeping it together and disciplining my mischievous, life-loving children in public is tricky. Don’t worry though, there is a happy ending to this story and it happened when I discovered the wonderful world of online shopping. I love being able to sit comfortably on my jiggle twins at a computer, being half dressed with BCG’s and troll hair. All I have to do is add things to my cart and click the ever-present “Buy Now” button. Then as if by magic someone brings it directly to me.

I don’t even get that kind of service when I run out of toilet paper in the bathroom. It’s a given that if the TV is on and you need something, however desperately, you are on your own. It’s happened to me more often than I care to admit, but it has forced me to be more, uhhh, creative. (And I don’t mean Pinterest creative… I mean Duck Dynasty creative.)

So, summing up the points of this post:

1. If you want to like your kids, don’t take them all shopping at once.

2. I need to buy more socks because somehow a perfectly good pair was ruined during the toilet paper famine last week.

3. Buying stuff on Amazon makes this mama very “Happy Happy Happy”.


  • Cindy on July 24, 2013

    Lol…my marker guy is a grumpy old man who never reaches far enough to grab the receipt. I alway have to reach farther. I have never misplaced my receipt. Not sure why they check it anyways they hardly look at what I have.

    Happy shopping on the Internet !

    • Jenergy on July 24, 2013

      You must be an organized person, I’ve noticed that I am very drawn to organized people because it’s a talent I wish I had. They either like me or they run away. 😉

  • Caren on September 15, 2013

    Want to hear something sad? My husband doesn’t even let me go to Costco anymore (I seem to have an issue sticking to limits, as IF that’s what Costco is about…hmph!) – so I don’t even know the name of our local marker guy. I am also not allowed to go to Ikea for same reason.

    Maybe that’s a good thing because I was exhausted just by reading what you go through. Vicarious Mama Stress, or VMS, will be the new pop psychology ailment for 2014. Spread the word 😉


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