There’s a Reason Costco Doesn’t Have Express Checkout Lanes

published Jun 24, 2018
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(Image credit: Philip Arno Photography)

Have you ever popped into Costco just to buy one or two things really quick? We know it is rare, but sometimes, you really don’t need to spend two hours shopping in Costco. If you’re looking to make and in-and-out trip, typically you’d head to the express registers at checkout. But at Costco, those don’t exist.

We don’t blame you if you’ve never noticed this, we honestly didn’t at first either. When you buy so much at Costco , you obviously don’t need to use express checkout, because you have way more than the 10 or 12 item maximum.

However, there was a deliberate choice made by Costco to not have express checkout lanes. Costco’s President and CEO, W. Craig Jelinek, spoke with Consumer Reports in 2014 and cleared things up.

“Costco’s ability to sell merchandise at incredibly low prices is based on adhering to various operating disciplines at every turn. Instead of having an express line—that often would be open but without a member in line—we have invested millions of dollars to speed up the entire front-end process,” he said in 2014. “Our policy is ‘no more than one (member) in line and two (members waiting) behind.’ The average completed front-end transaction is just over 1 minute.”

We’re not sure if W. Craig has ever been to our local Costco, but the lines are almost never just 2-3 people. We’ve all stood there and waited anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes when trying to check out on a weekend!

However, while in-store shoppers cannot get an express checkout, online shoppers can! The online express checkout allows you to set up an automatic payment and shipping method, so once you’re done shopping, your checkout process will be as fast as can be. You’ll never need to worry about getting up to grab your credit card again.