Passionate About the Community
and the Moms Who Live Here

Dear Costco Checkout Guy,

Costco checkout lineDear Costco Checkout Guy,

Listen.

I know what it’s like to work a retail job. You probably had to wake up around 8am, which is early for you, after having gone to bed well after midnight because you were drinking awesome beers with your awesome friends in your awesome apartment. By the way, how did you sleep? Like a rock and without interruption? Thought so.

I’m sure you’re great at your job. Swiping products over that scanner thing is no joke. You did a great job with my items, except for the part where you stood there and watched me put all one hundred of them, one by one, on the conveyor belt with a fifteen-pound baby clung to my torso by a strategically designed piece of cloth. Yes, it allows my hands to be free, but it still limits the mobility of my arms. That’s okay, I’ll just hoist this thirty-pound box of V8 juice up there while you stare at me. I’m a little confused, though – which is more marvelous, the fact that I can maneuver two boxes of diapers onto the thing with this baby attached to me, or the fact that I can simultaneously reach across the thing to feed Goldfish to my two-year-old sitting in the shopping cart?

Maybe it’s neither of those. Maybe your brain is going a little deeper than that. It’s obvious that I’m younger than you – are you trying to calculate just how old I must be and how I could already have borne two children and do they have the same father? Well, if you must know, I am almost four years into my marital bliss and these children were not accidents and since we’re getting to know each other, it would be really nice if you could grab that bag of granola for me. I won’t be offended by your help. In fact, I’d really appreciate it. In double fact, I’m going to give you some advice since we’re friends now. From this moment henceforth, if ever a mother should come through your line, she wants your help. I don’t care if she is accompanied by one kid or ten. I don’t care if she looks perfectly put together or like a disheveled mess. Your initiative could be the only rope she gets thrown that day.

I know you’re really excited to get off of work and drink more awesome beers with your awesome friends, but make me a deal. Stop gawking and be great.

Next time you see me, help me.

Photo: miamism on Flickr, via Creative Commons license

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23 Responses to Dear Costco Checkout Guy,

  1. JenZak January 11, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    And to top it off, “Would you like a box” (in a manner that shouts you better not say yes) No sir, I would rather carry my items individually in the house with my two young children.. especially the eggs!

  2. Dena January 11, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    If you are unable to do normal activities while taking care of your child(ren), perhaps you should hire a sitter or ask a friend to go with you. Transferring your own issues onto a Costco worker truly makes you look a little insane. If you needed help, perhaps you could have spoken up, politely, and asked for some assistance.

  3. Katherine January 11, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    Funny post…this is why I don’t do costco anymore, nothing’s worse then being 8 months pregnant there and trying to load the 50 lb boxes into the car!

  4. Christina January 11, 2013 at 10:46 am #

    This is funny. It’s not always possible to hire a sitter, and there aren’t necessarily friends available to sit. We parents need grace, and a little help sometimes…especially from people PAID to help!

  5. Anita January 11, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    Sad, I’ve never had a bad experience at Costco. I shop at the one in Gilbert, and everyone has always been friendly and helpful. They usually have 2 people working each checkout, one running the register, and another unloading the cart and putting items into a box. I’ve even had an employee come find me in the parking lot because my daughter dropped her toy.

  6. Johnna January 11, 2013 at 10:51 am #

    Wow girl! I got your back it’s so frustrating when retail workers won’t help a sister out ( I don’t even have kids I’m just awkward and lanky ) Being a nanny, I really appreciate that you don’t have hired help. The one on one time with your kids is shaping them into amazing little men without attachment issues! Keep up the good work!

  7. Kim January 11, 2013 at 11:11 am #

    I think you could have made your point without the judgement that this guy was drinking beers past midnight with his friends. I don’t think it’s fair the way you characterized this person just because he did not help you. I agree that if you want help sometimes you need to ask for it. I have asked for help at Costco with and without kids in tow.

  8. Laurel January 11, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    I really get your frustration…I have been in the same position at Costco many times dealing with unloading the cart and handing my little guy. I have had good experiences with workers helping me unload the cart and bad experiences with workers looking at me in disgust while my toddler launches into his 2nd tantrum in 30 minutes, leaving me to fend for myself. I’m sorry this guy was rude and not helpful. And while I am sure this article was supposed to be a funny, light-hearted take on the “joys” of shopping with infants and toddlers, it’s a little bit frustrating. You don’t know this guy’s story. My hubby worked at Costco for a year after finishing his college degree to help support our family, all the while applying/interviewing for jobs in his major like it was a full time job, volunteering for our church part-time, and watching our little guy the rest of the time while I was working. He rarely got a full nights sleep and definitely didn’t get much time “drinking awesome beers with his awesome friends.” We were lucky to get to see each other during that year. So please, have a little bit of grace, just like we want people to have grace with us when dealing with the “joys” of shopping with kids.

  9. Laura January 11, 2013 at 11:29 am #

    You are such a great writer, it hurts. Hilarity and clarity of voice. Seriously brilliant, mama.

  10. Angela Squires January 11, 2013 at 11:44 am #

    I love this! Well written and well said!

  11. Doug Nelson January 11, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

    This isn’t a comment on the article, which was very good. This is a comment about the blog design. That floating box in the lower left hand corner will alone make me never come back in the future. It might sound like no big deal or whatever, but it’s cutting off the words of the article and is so incredibly annoying that I can’t possibly see myself coming back. Don’t take this as a compliant about the article, please, but imagine how many people were just as annoyed as me, but didn’t take the time to mention it.

    I’m totally ok with the floating box, as long as it doesn’t block text, but I would think a much better idea, would be to have your developer just dock the box on the side or the top, that way people will still see it all the time, if that’s important to you.

    Again, not trying to be negative, just trying to provide feedback and improvement.

    • John January 11, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

      Doug, must be your ISP or your browser – I was able to view everything just fine. No box cutting into the type.

      • Stephanie January 11, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

        John, if you shrink your browser you’ll see where Doug’s frustration comes from.

        Doug, if you’re on a desktop, try changing your browser size or viewing resolution. If you are on a phone or tablet, the box is completely gone altogether. It’s not really an issue with the blog, it’s the browser size.

  12. Brittany January 11, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    I know you’re probably trying to be funny, but you’re also making a lot of unfair assumptions about the Costco checker. You never know what someone’s life is like or what kind of struggles they have. It WOULD be nice to have some extra help sometimes, but it isn’t really fair to expect it. He wasn’t outright rude to you. Whether his lack of assistance was due to oversight or youthful ignorance…what he probably needed was a little grace, not an anonymous internet attack.

  13. Posha January 11, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    She’s not trying to be funny, she IS funny. Clearly this whole post is written in a satirical tone. I’m really sad that some people here are getting offended instead of enjoying a good laugh.

    And whether he was actually drinking beers the night before or not, HELP A SISTA OUT. Like she said, it doesn’t matter if she has 1 kid or 10. We can all use a helping hand.

    At least if he was hung over he would have had half a decent excuse for being so inconsiderate.

  14. Beth January 11, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

    Great post Lindsey! Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a sitter EVERY TIME you needed to run an errand?? I guess until then, we’ll just have to hope for a kind soul to help 😉 Perhaps the reader will volunteer? I also love the way they will put every single item back in your cart and then look at you like you’re insane when you ask for a box. The last time I did, they made me box it myself – I also particularly like when they don’t leave room in the cart for the car seat carrier. I totally have amazing forearm strength, but not quite enough to push a Costco cart AND carry a 17lbs sleeping baby in his 7lbs carrier AND steer.

  15. John January 11, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

    I hear exactly where you are coming from. I see a big lack of decent paid assistance almost anywhere I go in the U.S. Yes, there are always exceptions but I feel there has been a major decrease in customer service over the past few decades.

    Part of the problem is in the lack of training. But seriously, if you are anyone not raised by wolves you should automatically jump to help someone out who has their arms full, or by simply holding a door open because they are right behind you.

    Maybe too many are in a constant state of numbness from too much TV, videos, and/or drinking. Personally, I think you were probably right about this cashier. Odds are good that he probably got more sleep than you did. He’s likely of the mindset that since he hates his job he’s going to do as little as possible to get his paycheck.

    I’s love to go on and vent about the lack of customer service, how corporations have cut the number of workers so the customer must bag and tote everything, and how much a hate it when a man, or a woman, lets a door slam right in my face. But you seem like a nice person so I’ll spare you! Cheers!

  16. Penni January 11, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    I agree with a few of the comments posted. You assumed this employee had been out drinking all night. You assume he could read your mind and that he just refused to help you. And if you are unable to check out with your 2 children (yes, I am a mother who once had 3 young children), the least you could do is politely ask for his assistance. He probably would have been happy to do so. You extended him no grace whatsoever. And yet, you expect grace. You sound very judgmental in your post. You don’t know what his life is. Maybe he was on his first day back at work after having been on sick leave; maybe he just lost a loved one and in his grief, he’s having a hard time concentrating, but is trying to get back into living. Just saying, extend a little grace and have some understanding. Especially if you expect it from others. We all need it. Hey, maybe you had a bad day, were exhausted from taking care of your little ones, maybe you had a flat tire….maybe you were in need of grace, too?

  17. Rick January 11, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

    How sad for you. I generally have my personal assistant do the shopping. Although I have heard that there is a general uncaring attitude out there. The only way to change it is to suck it up and don’t say anything. Another option is to do an AWESOME job of utilizing sarcasm to highlight opportunities for positive change. Just saying.

  18. stephanie January 13, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

    With “this baby attached to me”. Eek. You make shopping with two kids sound horrific. I’m sure it wasn’t a fun experience for you … but I have to ask the obvious (as a mother of two myself) … taking two kids to Costco? Are you nuts?

  19. Cristi January 13, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    Yea, I don’t think it was right to assume he drinks beer all night. He could just be plain old lazy…lol. I have always had the checkout peeps grabbing my stuff and setting it on the conveyor belt. I always felt they were rushing me because Costco is such a busy place. The last time we were there at the P.V. location…they double charged me on my yearly fee and caused a bit a scene until they figured out it was their fault w/ no apology. Other than that i don’t expect much from other ppl, that way I’ll never be let down. 🙂

  20. Jason December 15, 2013 at 3:55 am #

    As an employee of Over fifteen years, I can understand your frustration in a general sense referring to shopping in a retail environment, however dry your eyes. Instead of cowering behind this blog, you should have done the mature and sensible action ; tell a manager or a supervisor. Costco invests in its employees, hence the record low turnover rate. If an employee represents the company negatively, WE all take it personally.

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