the smell of my desperation has become a stench

A Costco-sized tangent that even I didn’t see coming

I’ve mentioned that when we moved we downsized by 75%, and about a month ago while walking through Costco I stopped dead in the paper towel aisle—BY THE WAY, my Costco, the Costco I attend, it is the biggest Costco in the world. Full stop. Period. Boom. The End. I don’t wanna hear nothing about your wimpy little stadium-sized Costco. My Costco is bigger than Italy.

I didn’t ever write about this, so why not now? I had no idea that they were expanding the square footage of this Costco by seventy fucking thousand square feet. And one Sunday morning I was innocently cruising through the laundry detergent aisle when suddenly I looked up and I could not see the horizon. There was no end. The landscape stretched out into eternity before me. Birds were flying and crashing into each other because the sky and the earth had become one.

I was not prepared. At all. Not one bit. Had I been prepared I would have been all FUCKEN A! Behold this American jewel! I’m going out right now to apply for a concealed carry permit for the gun that I do not own so that I can waltz by all those pallets of Sprite and Diet Coke like a total privileged badass who will just take herself to the ER when she gets deathly ill from a preventable condition because fuck healthcare.

Instead I had a panic attack. Literally. I could not comprehend how I would ever get out of that building. Because my approach to Costco is to make sure that I have waked down every single aisle so as not to miss anything I might need in bulk. Two gallon-sized jugs of ketchup? Hell, yes! One always needs to be prepared for an onslaught of French fries.

How would I ever get out of there alive? I wouldn’t! And so I did what the panic attack told me to do: I abandoned my cart and ran out of the building. I am here right now apologizing to the Costco employee who had to restock all the items I had in my cart—the tubs of salsa that could fill a swimming pool, the 27 yellow onions I’d grabbed because apparently that’s how many you can shove into one netted bag and sell for $8.99, the 14-pound package of almond flower I would never use because I don’t cook, but it’s gluten free!

I have only been back to that monstrosity twice since the panic attack. The first time I drew a plan on a piece of paper and set a timer because I was there for only one thing: I am a sucker for Costco-brand baby wipes. Does this make me a horrible activist? Absolutely. Those things are terrible for the environment, but they are the solution to every single problem in life. Discard your regular washcloths and sponges and cleaning supplies and get yourself a giant box of Costco-brand baby wipes. You will never have to worry about stains on anything ever again, your children will never walk around covered in unknown sticky substances, and you will attract all sorts of romantic possibilities into your life because you’re suddenly putting an energy out into the world that says, “You totally want to fuck me.”

The second time was a month ago, and that’s where this post started! Here we are! You can always trust that I’ll make it back to the original point. In fact, I bet some of you get disappointed when I do because WHY ELSE ARE YOU HERE IF NOT TO BE SHOT OUT OF A CANNON INTO A RAGING WATERFALL OF PROSTHETIC BALLS?

(Oh no, Karen. I alluded to it again. Do you think he’s ever going to read this? Probably not. It’s safe from time to time to drop this inside joke that lives on my phone. Plus, you were once a lawyer! If he ever did flip out I would pay you your hourly fee!)

A month ago I left Costco completely empty-handed, and not because I had abandoned my cart next to a box of 4,000 individually-wrapped seaweed flakes. No. I walked out with nothing because I have no room. Where the hell am I going to put 16 rolls of paper towels? I do not have space in my house. And I still have a few packages of Costco-brand baby wipes left over from the last time, so we’re all good on that front.

I was originally going to make this post the second installment of Books People Send Me. You see, this month’s stack is now taking up a huge corner of my office and I need to donate several of them and clear up some space. I don’t have room in this house to store any more books than I already have. But Jesus, did that introduction turn into an unexpected sinkhole, or what.

Maybe I’ll post about those books tomorrow. Or maybe I will sit down to write and my lower intestine will suddenly unfurl into words.

Instead you get a picture of flowers up above, and yes, Marlo is sitting there on her device watching porn. Someone kept sending me very lovely bouquets after I moved into this house, and I am not complaining. But after the fourth or fifth one I literally had nowhere to put them. I was all LISTEN, DUDE. I know you’re here because I sent out my Costco-brand baby wipes pheromone, but please try to respect my square footage limitations.

  • Stacy

    2017/05/17 at 2:03 pm

    This is why I just order stuff online. No panic attacks and they deliver it TO MY HOUSE!!! Plus, sometimes I behave like an ass in public, best to stay home as much as possible.

  • K.t. Moreis

    2017/05/17 at 2:05 pm

    Holy muck buckets! Our puny Costco gives me the willies, I cannot imagine what would happen to me if I went into the world’s largest one. They’d probably have to build a display around me because I don’t run. If I run, it’s because something is chasing me, not because I’ve been absorbed by the warehouse version of the whale that swallowed Jonah.

    You are a brave woman (and really? you left a Costco without buying anything. Damn, woman, you have just moved up another notch on my wow-o-meter. Imagine… leaving Costco without having to open the wallet… it boggles the mind).

  • Karen Walrond

    2017/05/17 at 2:13 pm


  • Richard Morey

    2017/05/17 at 2:26 pm

    When I first started having panic attacks I had a panic attack in the middle of food shopping. Not in a store as giant as your Costco but enough to freak me out.

  • Melissa Davis

    2017/05/17 at 2:36 pm

    I’ve left without buying anything because of the same issue…and mine is normal sized. I try to go and buy fruit, because my kids bankrupt me in fruit every week, but I can’t always deal with that many humans.

    You can order certain things online. Not perishables, but kitchen/bathroom things and some kid snacks. Baby wipes for sure though!

  • Erin Reece

    2017/05/17 at 2:43 pm

    I find limited space to be liberating. LIBERATING! EFF YOU COSTCO! These days I roll in there a few times a year and buy toilet paper, paper towels, and tampons. I am CHOOSY about the bulk items I purchase and I get my a$$ in and out of that panic-inducing monstrosity right quick. I’m sure I could be saving money on more bulk items and whatever I don’t care. I’m free! Freeeeeeeeeee!

  • Katrina Olsen

    2017/05/17 at 3:04 pm

    Omg! I’m not the only one! I was LITERALLY LOST IN COSTCO the first time I went in there. I figured it out tho – the last aisle is all bulk restauranty shit. Tempting, but I have found it possible to avoid it. Or go to the one on 53rd or valley fair instead. But god forbid I give up my membership even tho I’m single and reaaaallly don’t need THAT MUCH guacamole…

  • Kimberly Ann Hawley

    2017/05/17 at 3:07 pm

    Yes. And thank goodness for it. 🙂

  • Celeste

    2017/05/17 at 3:13 pm

    We live in 800 sq. ft. with four people and I can tell you that downsizing is not fun. Living with not enough space is as horrible as living in too much space. Right now I yearn for the day I have a closet to hang my clothing in, enough space in my room to get dressed in there, two bathrooms cause two toilets should be mandatory in every house that is made for more than one person and I really yearn for the day my adult children move out cause they are really cramping my love life. You can pretty much hear everything in this small house so there is literally no privacy and that is what really sucks about living in a small house.

  • Naha

    2017/05/17 at 4:21 pm

    Anything else you liberal a$$holes need to complain about. Sfup for once buy a weapon you are so against and blow your head OFF. There is no reason to get upset over 40 oz container of salsa or 30 rolls of toilet paper. If Coca Cola upsets you that much don’t buy it that’s what I do but I’m not going to bash a store over petty things. Get a Fen life stupiđ mörons

  • Naha

    2017/05/17 at 4:25 pm

    Oh by the way Heather since you still have some baby wipes left you could wipe your @ss than your yuppie liberal tears with that. Glad you down sized though I hear dollar General has smaller packages.

  • Jenna

    2017/05/17 at 5:18 pm

    Ah, but Erin is unhappy about actual real things in the physical universe. You, weird ugly troll, spend your days in the comments of a mommy blog saying the most hurtful offensive words you know to a stranger that doesn’t give a fuck about you. So…yeah…perhaps you’re the one with the pettiness problems….

  • Mindy Clark

    2017/05/17 at 6:50 pm

    Why do people like you read and comment on the blogs of people you obviously do not like and have nothing in common with? Just to be an asshole? Must be.

  • Deborah

    2017/05/17 at 6:54 pm

    What the hell is wrong with you? She wrote a nice story about a Costco. I was picturing myself in my local Costco as she was writing, and feeling the mild panic one does when faced with impossible-sized food goods and other home items. Last time I was in Costco I had to curse the warehouse G_ds because they had pajamas and I needed some and they were nice, but I wasn’t in the mood to buy pajamas-you know what I mean? Just like you weren’t in the mood to read this story and instead of moving along, you chose to comment. That was a bad decision, as was mine. I should have bought those pajamas.

  • Mindy Clark

    2017/05/17 at 7:00 pm

    Man – it is so very good to read your writing again. Great to have you back!

  • Shawn S G

    2017/05/17 at 7:24 pm

    What did I just read and how did I get here?

  • Don

    2017/05/17 at 8:15 pm

    Are you people serious or am I on another planet. Little minds using foul language to make a point. Only ignorant people have to use this profanity to express themselves.

  • Jackie Sario

    2017/05/17 at 8:38 pm

    Dooce, I loved you years ago and slowly drifted away, popping in occasionally when you became a mommy blogger. It’s so fabulous to read the authentic you again. Those of you who criticize the profanity, bubye. Heather is brilliant and hilarious, you are mean and boring.

  • davanita

    2017/05/17 at 9:00 pm

    the “flowers” tag is appropriate because you also wrote “almond flower”. please don’t change it! :))

  • GG

    2017/05/17 at 9:57 pm

    Seriously must you not only use foul language but you capitalize it?? Isn’t the English language big enough to express yourself?

  • Katie

    2017/05/18 at 5:31 am

    This is exactly why I have never gotten a Costco (or Sams) card. Friends try to take me to show me the the wonders I’m missing, but it turns out all I’m missing is the sense of nausea and mild panic that washes over me whenever I’m forced to look at all of that *stuff.* Obviously this is a sign that you should keep a friend with a card so you can occasionally get your wipe fix without ever stepping foot in that awful place again. 🙂

  • Karen Walrond

    2017/05/18 at 6:20 am

    Man, don’t encourage her. (I agree with you, but don’t encourage her. 😉 )

  • Anne

    2017/05/18 at 7:07 am

    <3 baby wipes. not so much the environmental impact, but damn, I love them so hard

  • Naha

    2017/05/18 at 8:50 am

    it’s not called nausea it’s called menopause or just that time of month for you

  • Naha

    2017/05/18 at 8:55 am

    Absolutely an article full of profanity seems like a petulant high school child wrote it. It must suck when that time of month hits you

  • Heather Armstrong

    2017/05/18 at 9:12 am

    Are you okay? Do you need someone to talk to? I can give you my cell number and we can talk. I’m here to listen to you if you need someone.

  • Heather Armstrong

    2017/05/18 at 11:21 am

    I’m serious about this offer: Are you okay? Do you need someone to talk to? I can give you my cell number and we can talk. I’m here to listen to you if you need someone.

  • Naha

    2017/05/18 at 11:22 am

    Talk to you not even if you are last person left. Hang on aren’t your a mother do you talk to your daughter with that mouth? If you want to get your point across cussing on every other sentence was only cool right after puberty.

  • Kelly B

    2017/05/18 at 11:41 am

    See, that’s what your basement is for. We got one of those wire shelving things and load it up with bulk TP and paper towels and kleenex. But yes, people who are all like, “Buy in bulk and save lots of money” don’t live in a tiny house (my house, 740 sq feet + basement which is tiny enough.)

  • REK981

    2017/05/18 at 12:07 pm

    Online shopping was made for those of us who panic in the grocery. This must be what small town grocery delivery was for way back when.

  • Mag

    2017/05/18 at 2:40 pm

    baby wipes are life

  • Cassandra Marie

    2017/05/18 at 10:25 pm

    A. I want to hear more about the dude sending beautiful flowers.
    B. Welcome Back Heather. You were missed. xo

  • Angela

    2017/05/19 at 2:30 pm

    I am so glad you are back, Heather. I did not have this type of relationship with my parents and it’s one thing I will always strive for with my little girl.

  • Richard Morey

    2017/05/19 at 8:55 pm

    Absolutely! Although, ironically, the only thing I don’t order online is food. Everything else is pretty much ordered from Amazon. The local grocery store is small and as long as I go at the right day / time the lines are short so I can get my shopping done.

  • Richard Morey

    2017/05/19 at 8:57 pm

    Will you give me your cell number? I am always looking to expand my network of people to call when I feel a panic attack coming on.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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