The Curse of Atuk

Some consider the unproduced screenplay Atuk cursed. Based on Mordecai Richler’s 1963 novel The Incomparable Atuk, the story follows a young Inuit poet and native of Baffin Island. The titular…


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Shopping Anxiety vs. Big Box Prices

This is a mental health article for those who struggle with the large crowds associated with shopping, especially in warehouse stores like Costco or Sams. I describe my most recent shopping experience and the techniques you can use to have a better experience.

Eerie Costco Signage

My wife and I go to Costco a couple of times a month to procure our discounted bulk items. We flash the magic card at the door and are welcomed in by a smiling employee, who thanks us. We’re not special, they thank everyone, but I like to tell myself they’re granting me an exclusive admittance to the magical land of plenty. Once past the gate-keeper, the real fun begins:

People rush through the garage door-sized opening with massive shopping carts built for at least six screaming children. Unfortunately, this is where I start to panic. My heart pounds and sweat beads up on my upper lip and back. I don’t like crowds, especially crowds at Costco. It is like holiday shopping every time you go. No one respects social cues on which direction they should go, and everything must be thoroughly examined or snatched just seconds before you reach for it. My world is suddenly very chaotic.

My wife pats my arm, and we venture on looking at specially placed items by the door. One of my tricks for calming down is to count how many specialty items they’ve placed by the door. If the crowd is especially hectic, I pick a single pack of things and figure out the price per item. I’m slow at math, so it takes me an aisle or two to figure it out. Yes, I’m doing the math to calm down. Don’t tell my wife; I depend on her to do all the math in our relationship. The crowd thins some as others rush.

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