I went to Costco today. I’m assuming that everyone knows about Costco – that gigantic warehouse of bulk items that requires a membership to enter the door, and at least a hundred dollar bill to leave. Honestly, I might go in there to get a $9.99 jar of Gummy Vites, and between the entrance and the pharmacy I see 30 items I want – all of them packaged so that I get enough to last two years, BUT IT’S SUCH A GOOD DEAL! I always end up finding an empty cart and worrying if I’ve got enough money to cover everything I pile in it.
Because Costco is so popular, there’s never anywhere to park. Even at 10:00 a.m. when they first open the door, the parking lot is full except for the outlying areas. If you pack a lunch, you can park out there and take a rest break halfway in.
I pride myself on getting good parking spaces, so I cruise around the entrance and stalk someone coming out of the store. I’ll see them pushing the cart out the door, then try to gauge their direction. I’ll speed up and circle around, following them slowly until they reach their car.
Surely these people know they are being stalked. Wouldn’t most people sense the presence of a huge chunk of metal out of the corner of their eye? Knowing that someone wants their parking space, you’d think they’d be considerate and go about their business efficiently.
Today I stalked a woman down the parking lane and saw her push her remote. Jackpot! The lights of a car pretty close to the front went on. It was a great spot, and I got very excited. I pulled over a little so cars could go around me. A car pulled up behind me and just sat there. There was plenty of room for him to go around. I turned on my turn signal to let him know that I was going to be sitting there, and that it was okay for him to go around. I could see in my rear view mirror that he was frowning. He didn’t want to go around. He wanted me to move.
Meantime the lady pushing the cart had her trunk open and was unloading each item, taking her sweet time. “Hustle, woman,” I thought, “before this idiot rear ends me.” She finally gets the cart unloaded and decides to be a good Costco Samaritan by walking the shopping cart back. For crying out loud. There are carts everywhere like freckles on a redhead, but she thinks hers is too good to be put out to pasture with the others. Two cars have stacked up behind the one waiting for me. I rolled my window down and signaled them to go around. The first one refused. The second didn’t want to go either, but the third one whisked around like he was racing a Ferrari.
Meantime the woman comes back and gets into her car. I wait for the taillights to come on but they don’t. The guy behind me is looking very angry. I decide he’s trying to intimidate me so HE can get my space. Who knows why the other car is still there?
Finally the bitch starts her car and slowly backs out. Inch by inch. Meantime, the second car decides at this very moment to make his move, and he whips around to pass. He pulls up next to me and sees the woman backing out. She sees him and pulls back in.
Now no one is moving. It’s like a four way stop when two cars ease forward at the same time and then stop and wait. They both wait the exact amount of time and pull forward again, then stop and wait.
The woman doesn’t move, and finally the car pulls forward and gets out of the way. She still doesn’t move, obviously shaken by the crazy turn of events in the parking lot.
I am this close to saying the hell with it when she starts inching back again. Slowly she eases out of the spot, jerking from applying the brakes every six inches. She backs way further back than she needs to, hesitates while she ponders what gear to put the car into – drive or reverse – then slowly pulls forward out of the way.
I greased into that spot like I was getting sucked by a giant magnet. The guy behind me lunges forward like he’s getting sucked by a giant vacuum, giving me the evil eye as he passes. I didn’t actually see the evil eye, I just felt it.
In the time it took to get that primo parking space, I could have filled my arms, dropped my $100 at the cashiers, and been driving out of there. But I had to stick it out. It was the principle of the thing.