the five people you meet in a portland costco

I admit it, now that we’re living in Vancouver, I jump the Washington/Oregon border at every opportunity to avoid sales tax.  Isn’t that the entire reason people live in Oregon?  It’s actually a complex process, because you have to find the delicate balance between tax savings and cost of gas.  Venturing over the bridge for a trip to Starbucks – not worth it.  Going to the nearest Portland Winco because the Vancouver one is honestly just about as far away – totally worth it.

Clothing is also a good excuse, especially since downtown Portland shopping is so deliciously close, but there will be posts aplenty on that in the future.

This is about my most recent trip to Costco.

Apparently this Costco is one of the highest-earning stores in the country because so many Washingtonians, like me, do their shopping there.  Plus, it’s an enormous Costco, and it carries wacky stuff like canoes and deck furniture.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t there for anything that awesome: just a prescription, photos, and the usual four-hundred-pound bag of frozen chicken.  However, it was around 5 on a Thursday evening and I was shopping alone in unfamiliar territory, which made the whole thing a bit more exciting.  By “exciting” I mean I was gauging the weight and maneuverability of my cart and whether or not I’d be able to ram it into someone if he decided to attack me, and pondering who might come to my aid if a creeper came a-creepin’ while I was trying to find the right brand of chocolate chips.

These are things I think about.

I sped through the store as quickly as I could.  As anyone who’s ever been to a Costco knows, you don’t dawdle.  Stop for samples if you must, but for heaven’s sake, don’t be that person who stops with their cart and their five children at an intersection checking to see if you’ve remembered to get the ten-gallon jug of mayonnaise.  Get in, get out, with military precision and speed.  That’s how I roll.

It’s funny because I have a cart.

Or at least that how I was rolling until I had to face the inevitable and pick up my prescription.  The line was several people long, but I had finished my other shopping and couldn’t put it off any longer.  I settled into the line and flipped through the photos I’d picked up.  At one point the woman waiting at the counter for the tech to return looked at me, gestured to her torso, and mouthed “I like your shirt!”

Which is always nice to hear.

The line crawled on.  I finished going through the photos and began idly eavesdropping on the family behind me, a man with his two young children.

They were talking about zombies.  I didn’t hear how it got started, but what really caught my attention was the man telling his children that he was going to see a zombie musical that weekend.

Yeah.  Zombie musical.

His kids started freaking out.  “Can we come?”

“No, it’s for grown-ups only.  You’re not even allowed to buy tickets for kids.”

The daughter, being the older child, took point.  “But we wouldn’t be scared!  We know it’s fake!”

“Really, you guys can’t come.  There’s a spot at the front that’s called the splash zone.  It’s going to be really scary.”

At this point I was having to physically restrain the urge to laugh out loud and demand the theatre location, ticket price, and showtimes, because zombie musical with a splash zone are you serious.

The daughter wasn’t giving up.  “We would be fine!  I watch Doctor Who and Torchwood, remember!  I know it’s not real!”

“Wait, you watch Torchwood?”

“Yeah, and Doctor Who.”

The dad was not impressed.  “Well, Doctor Who is okay, but I don’t think Torchwood is right for a nine-year-old.”

“It’s the saaaame thiiiing.”

“No, no, it’s not.  Torchwood has some much darker stuff.  Does your mother know you’re watching that?  I’m going to have to have a talk with your mother.”

“But Doctor Who has zombies sometimes and we know it’s just pretend!”

“This is different.”

At this point I couldn’t take it any more.  “I’m sorry to interrupt, I just – zombie musical?”

The daughter nodded seriously.  “Zombies and music go together now, ever since Thriller.”

“That’s – wow, I’m actually kind of impressed that you know that, but really, a stage show?”

The dad looked a bit embarrassed.  “Yyyeah.  My girlfriend and I are into theatre and we get invited to a lot of weird stuff.”

“No, it sounds awesome!  It’s in Portland, I assume?”


The daughter piped up, “Keep it weird!”


3 thoughts on “the five people you meet in a portland costco

  1. Fantastic!

    (I mostly came by because I got excited when I saw you mention WinCo, because WinCo will basically be the only reason I’m sad to leave the town I’m living in now. Hopefully I’ll be able to transplant to another WinCo-occupied city, otherwise I will wither and wilt. But talking about my addiction-level dependence on WinCo on another person’s blog seems sad and weird, so I’ll stick to saying that I love weird real-human conversations like that. That guy’s daughter totally earned the right to go to the zombie musical.)

    • I do miss having a Winco close by. We have one in town, but it’s such a hassle to get to that it’s not worth the grocery savings. It’s hard to beat having a Fred Meyer two minutes away.

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