The Invisible Dad At Costco

It was just last year that my family discovered the wonders of Costco, and we’ve been hooked ever since. The brands you can’t get anywhere else, the deals on clothing and basic pantry staples, and of course the samples! You can easily have yourself a mini-lunch by wandering the aisles and trying all of the samples on a weekend.

Usually I’m the one who does the Costco shopping, but yesterday Aaron went to Costco with Cordy while I ran other errands with Mira. Costco’s samples work magic on Cordy – the kid who is always scared to try new things is somehow more likely to try a new food with a grandmotherly figure offering it to her in a warehouse store. I can’t explain it.

But when Aaron got home, he was a little annoyed at the trip. They tried lots of samples, but he ran into a slight obstacle. At nearly every sample station, the workers (who Aaron has now dubbed the little old lady mafia) looked at Cordy and asked, “Where’s your mom? You can have one if she says it’s OK.”

Now, I know it’s always Costco policy that a parent must be present for a kid to get a sample. That’s a perfectly safe practice to make sure a child isn’t eating something they’re not allowed to have, or could have an allergy to. I support that policy entirely.

The first time someone said that to Cordy, Aaron was further down the aisle, so it was very possible that she didn’t notice that Cordy’s dad was trying to catch up to her and nodding that it was OK.

However, Aaron said that every other time he was standing right next to her – close enough to indicate they were shopping together – when she was asked where her mom was or told she’d need to ask her mom before she could have one.

And it was never “You’ll need to ask your mom or dad.” Dad was completely left out of the statement and apparently ignored even when he was standing with the cart right next to Cordy. He felt invisible to them, at least when it came to being recognized as a parent. I’m certain Cordy would have been talking to Aaron and probably tugging on his arm to ask if she could have a sample, so it’s puzzling how that connection would have been missed. Multiple times, too.

I’ll admit, I found his tale a little funny, but I can see how Aaron felt like his role of dad wasn’t as important to the sample handlers. Getting mom’s approval for Cordy to have a sample seems a little extreme when dad is right there and telling her she can have one. It’s certainly not a situation requiring a call for my blessing.

We still love Costco, but I hope in the future they’ll be more sensitive to dads in their training. It’s not a great amount of effort to say “If your mom or dad says it’s OK.” In 2013, moms aren’t the only ones doing the shopping, and we’re not the only ones taking the kids with us to shop. Aaron is just as capable of giving permission for Cordy as I am.

This is, of course, a lighthearted example for equal rights (Aaron was bothered by it, but not utterly offended), but the lesson still holds true. We’ve fought hard to gain more acceptance for women in the business arena, and I think it’s only fair to give equal acceptance to men in the domestic arena.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. This is an issue near to my heart. My stay-at-home-dad hubby is often overlooked. Recently, he left a message for a teacher and the teacher returned the call and asked to speak to me. Kudos to you for putting the issue into words!

  2. The people who hand out the samples, do they work for Costco? Sometimes it’s an outside company. But yeah, whomever it is definitely needs to explain to their employees that DADS shop with their kids too!

  3. Huh. This has never happened to us at either Austin Costco.

  4. Funny how old habits die hard. Perhaps they could just say we need to ask your parents first.