Nfld. & Labrador·COMEDY

To get through Costco, you have to go through 9 circles of retail hell

You can check out any time you like, but you can't believe ... the lines. Veronica Dymond has this light-hearted take, with cartoons!
Veronica Dymond on the outer limits of ... Costco. (John Gushue/CBC)

Ground has broken on the site of the new Costco in Galway, but a new location can't change a universal experience. Every trip to the retail giant, you will surely encounter: The Nine Circles of Costco Hell.

(Veronica Dymond)

Circle One: The gas pumps

The first of many lines on your journey starts at the gas pumps, where you will wait 45 minutes to save 60 cents on gas.

For shorter wait times, pick the right lane: Large gas tanks take longer to fill, so look for lines with fewer trucks.

Then remember that everyone in Newfoundland drives a truck, including you.

Circle Two: The parking lot

Walking is for losers, so drive around the lot as long as you need in order to find a parking spot close to the entrance.

Live a real-life videogame by dodging careless pedestrians, unattended carts and the odd flying mattress.

By the time you find that perfect spot, you need to fill up on gas again.

(Veronica Dymond)

Circle Three: The guardian at the entrance

Abandon hope all ye who don't have a membership: You are not allowed in unless accompanied by someone with the correct photo ID.

For those who sent their companions in ahead while they parked, this is a rude awakening; the front lobby is full of destitute husbands waiting for their wives to rescue them.

I have heard whispers of getting through by piggy-backing onto another shopper, but this is a move only for the bold or desperate.

(Veronica Dymond)

Circle Four: Stuff no one can afford anymore

The first thing you see upon entering the store are big-ticket items that no one can buy in this economy: high-definition TVs, expensive crystals, AA batteries...  we are mere mortals, Costco, not pipefitters.

You'll end up staying here longer than you wanted because your cart will get trapped behind a Bay Nan — an entity for whom time and speed is irrelevant.

Circle Five: Samples

Controversial opinion: Samples suck. It's food you never wanted that you feel obliged to try because it's free, but end up waiting 10 minutes to eat because they always run out before you get there.

Afterwards, you smile and say, "I'll pick some up now!"

The sample lady knows you're lying.

Circle Six: Bulk foods

Your reason for coming! Buy 10 pounds of flour for the price of five, but only end up using two!

Buy a sheet cake for a party only you will attend!

Buy 10 avocados and convince yourself that you will be able to eat them all in the 40-minute period between when they are under-ripe green rocks and indigestible brown sludge!

Frozen foods are a good deal — assuming you have space to keep everything and can stomach eating chimichangas for three months straight.

(Veronica Dymond)

Circle Seven: The checkout

Time to pay for your dragon's hoard of food and goods! Much like the gas pumps, the checkout is a game of strategy — a game you can never win.

Everyone in front of you has roughly 300 items to scan in, and they are behind someone with 500. Bay Nan is back, and she bought a year's worth of croissants because she hates driving in St. John's so she's damn well making this trip worthwhile.

Inevitably, she'll end up paying by cheque. You live in this line now; this is your home.

Circle Eight: The food court

You thought you were done? Ha!

After the wholesale war you've waged, you deserve a snack! The food here is mysteriously delicious; supposedly the fries are the same sold in-store, but you could never make them taste this good. Just as the pomegranate seed bound Persephone to Hades, so too does the giant soft-serve ice cream bind you here.

Your body may leave, but your heart remains.

Circle Nine: The guardian at the exit

As the waffle cone you'll never finish drips down your wrist, you arrive at the final line: The Receipt-Checker.

Present your bill like the golden ticket it is, and refrain from commenting on the fact that no one person could ever possibly match all those items in your cart to those on your receipt so quickly.

Just keep smiling; it'll all be over soon.

(Veronica Dymond)

Congratulations: You have successfully shopped at Costco!

Now, where did you park again …?

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About the Author

Veronica Dymond is a writer, comedian, cartoonist, and Oxford comma aficionado living in St. John's.