At 10:05 am, after opening at 10, Costco is already insanely busy, busier than I have ever seen it. The line to get into the parking lot is backed up out onto feeder roads in both directions, and every spot is taken.

The WHO declared a pandemic, followed by the U.S. President last night telling us to avoid large crowds. This looks like the largest crowd I’ve personally been in in a long time.

There are already a bunch of people driving out of their parking spots, and a big slowdown of people waiting for their spots. I have a feeling some people who don’t have handicap tags are parking in handicap spots.

Every parking aisle, meaning the parts that people drive in, is pretty packed. The view from a drone probably looks even more insane than it does from the ground.

I drove up to the store and I’m trying to drive back out. I’ll park in an alternate lot. It will probably take another minute just for me to get out.

There’s a guy walking back to his car in an alternate parking lot carrying toilet paper and nothing else. He scored! There are cars both trying to do the same thing at the same time honking at one another. I’m still stuck in the lot. I’ve been here almost ten minutes now.

In the place where I park that is off the Costco grounds the parking lot is full. Never seen it that way before. Usually that area is almost completely empty, especially on a Thursday at 10:15 a.m.

When I pulled up, I could see Costco employees pushing in long rows of carts. I’m walking in from the distance now and the cart corrals there are either nearly full, or have just been emptied by employees taking long rows inside.

There is an old man who looks disheveled and sick, shambling more than walking, and I find myself walking upwind of him.

I’m finally inside, and because I got a cart, and I have to put my hands on it, my first thought is for sanitary wipes. When my wife Sarah shopped Saturday, there was an employee there offering to wipe the cart handle with Clorox wipes. Not today.

Inside, it’s like a play with thousands of extras hired so that at some corners there is a continuous stream of people pushing their carts around the corner in a line.

There’s a strange looking old man with an empty cart who has pushed his way around people to get all the way back to the toilet paper section.

There is no toilet paper, but there is a lot of water.

A steady stream of men with empty carts dashing back to the back. Many, many people buy paper towels because there is no toilet paper. There may be sewage problems in the days ahead if people intend on flushing these.

However, right in front of me a woman with two packs of toilet paper and an overloaded cart is going by. Maybe there’s TP somewhere else in the store today.

Nope, nowhere else. Sometimes you’re walking to try to get from point A to point B and you see so many people that you decide to walk around for an alternate route.

Lots of impulse buying, people walking by something and just reaching out and grabbing it because they don’t think they’ll be able to come back. Chips, candle lighters, things that are probably not on a list they are randomly grabbing. They don’t want to have to come back.

There’s so many people waiting in line single file despite room for three carts side by side in the self-checkout, I end up directing traffic.

I wave people into place, push their cart forward, wave the next person forward, push their cart, etc. All these midwesterners with their need for large personal space and not wanting to bug anybody.

Outside it’s not that cold but there’s a drizzle and a breeze and it’s very, very gray.

A car backing out in the parking lot is having trouble with all of the hubbub. They aren’t sure if they can back up. I cross the road behind them so they can see me in their mirror, and wave to encourage them to pull out so the people waiting for them to move can move on, and one of the lucky ones can take their spot.

Costco calls. I have left my wallet inside. Pulling into a parking spot, somebody cut me off such that they could have pulled into it. But they were just trying to keep moving to get further down the aisle toward the exit, they didn’t even want the spot. In their cars, midwesterners care about getting their way, not personal space.

I’m in a spot at the far end of the parking lot. Driving closer is not an option. It’s now 11:00 a.m.

I waited at returns and membership. Busier than expected there. When I got through they said to go find a supervisor.

I walked over, found a supervisor, told them about the phone call about my wallet, they said to wait, and walked away on another issue. While I was standing there the woman at self-checkout who had assisted me walked over with my wallet! Costco employees are always the best.

Also: Thanks to whoever turned in my wallet!

Raining a little harder now, not really a drizzle, more of a light rain.

I walk in between parked cars to stay out of the traffic. The cars look like they are aggressively facing off against one another.

I hear they may have toilet paper at the Home Depot next door. I call. Nope, they ran out while I was in Costco.