The Art of Closing the Costco Beach Chair

Embarrassing moments occur with the obvious drama – wardrobe malfunctions, unrehearsed bodily air escapes, and fights with gravity. But they can also sneak up on you like a bear in the woods, no too obvious, like a skunk on a boat. Situations that should be flawless, automated, and uneventful can flip like a swinging hammock and leave you panic stricken, confused and ultimately, embarrassed. The most important thing to remember is that you are never alone.

My legs lay lifeless hovering over the cool grass. Plastic, yet surprising sturdy armrests held my splayed out arms. A foam filled headrest cradled my neck as I gazed at tree leaves dancing against a blue canvas. It was the perfect chair, my new Tommy Bahama from Costco. Sounds from dozens of children playing on the playground could be faintly heard in my subconscious and I took comfort in assuming that three of them were mine. I caressed the blue fabric seat that was soft yet strong for being so thin and probably at least water repellent or quick drying. A feat of engineering.

The familiar sound of my own children’s whining grew louder as the three of them came near. After several complaints of wanting to go home, I convinced them to do a few more slides and relaxed back into my chair. Knowing that I had already pushed my luck with several hours of undisturbed sitting time, I decided to start packing up before the kids came back a third time.

After getting out of my chair and doing a quick stretch, I looked back and smiled to myself a little, this was a good buy. I prepared to pack up the chair. I assumed the typical chair closing position by grabbing the upper back with one hand and the outer seat with the other and attempted to collapse my hands together. Nothing happened.

Having closed many chairs before, I troubleshot the next obvious thing and checked for little latches at the side hinges that sometimes need to be lifted prior to closing on certain models. This chair did not appear to have the latches. After attempting the collapse one more time, I did a rushed walk around and sat back down nonchalantly to allow the fellow park sitters time to pay attention to something other than me. I sat there like someone waiting out a flooded lawnmower engine. Convinced that I was not the local attraction, I did another subtle walk around the chair to investigate, while simultaneously packing up our other things. I even pretended to look for lost items that occasionally I made a show of finding. After three more reserved attempts at closing the piece of crap chair, I felt like I had lost my mind.

Think! I had retrieved the chair from our shed in the closed position even though I had opened it earlier on our deck. That means the husband must have figured out how to close it. I immediately texted him. While staring at my phone in hopes of his reply, I felt like an extra at the end of a Mr. Bean episode:

After a long encounter wrestling the Costco beach chair and all the social peculiarities that filled the episode, Mr. Bean would coast by me with a collapsed chair under his arm. He would stop short to recognize that I was still in agony, dramatizing his bewilderment at my difficulty to close a chair.

My eyes would swell of hope that at last my redeemer had arrived, but Mr. Bean would be too proud for such camaraderie. Instead, he would revel in the moment, clenching his closed chair against his chest while doing his little smirk and head wobble. His beady eyes mocking me as they went back-and-forth between his chair and mine.

This time he’d be the one pretending to forget things all over the park so that he could lap around me, enjoying every pass while I sat and waited for the park to become deserted. They’d need to cut the scene where I send him a chair shot straight to his face and leave him wearing my Tony Bahama. Good luck getting it to open now!

Finally my phone buzzed and Mr. Bean vanished from my mind.

Thankfully, the YouTube video worked and I am one of over 100k viewers who needed:

The pain is real in the comments:

Wow! We had to bring back the chairs from the beach opened because we couldn’t figured out how to close them. I Googled “how to close a Tommy Bahama beach chair” and there you were. My husband will be so surprised when he comes back from the market. Thank you thank you, kind stranger. You’re a sweetheart.

The fact that I could not figure out how to close the chair gave me low self-esteem. Thanks for raising it!!!

Thank you! I spent way too long trying to figure this out at the beach, so I just stuffed it in the car, brought it home, and watched your video. Perfect!

I was trying to close this today, pulling and tugging for 20 minutes and even to the point that I just threw it hard to the floor with frustration but still won’t budge… Thanks so much, now I’m trying to deep breath and relax.

Thank you. I was being defeated by this chair and no one I knew could figure it out. You’re a genius!

My boyfriend asked me to put these away and I struggled…now I’m not out here embarrassing myself, lol. Thank you!

I’ve tossed the chair around on the beach several times, been very close to having to strap it to the car or something, to get it home. Thank you.

Finally!!!…We drove home with them unfolded because after way too long of trying to close them we quit…

This chair infuriated my family for about half an hour. You saved our beach trip.

Awesome! No more wrestling with the chair.

I was so frustrated I almost threw the chair across my deck.

There is a life lesson here: In the moment you may feel stupid and alone, but there are over 7 billion people in this world. Some of them will comment on YouTube and at least one of them will post an instructional video. Thank you, kind stranger.