Costco & Other Things I Can’t Control

I thought today would be a good day to just pop over and get some stuff at Costco. I mean, it was 11 AM on a Tuesday, so it can’t be THAT crowded, right? Well, it turns out when school is out, New Year’s Eve is tomorrow, a new sale begins today, and people just got paid it actually is kind busy. Kind of busy, as in “the zombie apocalypse starts tomorrow and we need to stock up on water and $1.25 hot dogs” busy. Oh, and Costco shares a parking lot with a mall, so there’s that. Needless to say, it was packed.

After parking on the far end of the lot, I got everything I needed, and was back in my car in 30 minutes. Yay for Costco’s efficiency in moving people through! In order to leave, I had to drive back through the busiest part of the lot. I wasn’t looking forward to it, but at least the hardest part of my trip was behind me. Waiting a bit more would be easy.

I got in line behind 4 or 5 other cars. We were stopped because cars were pulling out of their parking spots and needed us to make way for them. After waiting for about 5 seconds, the car in front of me tried to pull to the left to pass the stopped cars. He stopped dead in his tracks and had to make his way back into the line when he saw that the car that had just pulled out was driving straight towards him.

We crept up another 15 feet and stopped again for another exiting car. Again, after waiting a few seconds, the car in front of me lunged forward, trying to pass the stopped cars, only to realize that another car was heading his direction. This time, he couldn’t slip back into line easily. He had to sheepishly back up and resume waiting with everyone else for another 5 seconds.

After seeing this happen twice, I literally thought, “Dude, there’s no sense in getting mad at Costco.” Immediately, I realized that this should be a phrase I repeat to myself often because I am just the type of person to get angry about things I can’t control.

I mean, really, what can you do about tons of people in the store and cars in the lot? What can you do about having to wait in line or navigate around people who stop to get samples? After years of trying to figure it out, I’ve realized the answer is nothing. I can’t do anything about Costco or countless other situations in my life. When I get angry about stuff that is out of my control, I make a fool out of myself. I hurt the people I love. It’s just not worth it.

Even more importantly, I often work against my goals when I blow up about things beyond my control. That guy at Costco actually made his own wait longer by trying to get around waiting. The approaching cars had to wait for him to get out of their way, making a roadblock for everyone. We all waited longer. How many times in my life have I had to clean up a mess made by my impatience? Too many, and it often takes much longer than it would have if I let it go in the first place.

When I get angry about things I can’t change, I invest emotional energy and time into them. I don’t have enough time and energy to waste on stuff like that & I suspect I’m not the only one.

There’s no sense in getting mad at Costco.

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