4 Shopping Tips That Costco Employees Want You To Know

published Jul 12, 2022
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Credit: Trong Nguyen

Grocery store employees see it all. Ranging from the secret sales to the seasonal limited-time items to the treatment from first-time customers, they have a behind-the-scenes scoop of Costco. For non-employees, there are tons of benefits to having a Costco membership — the conveniently placed food court, affordable plants, dozens of samples sprinkled throughout the store, and of course, the wholesale deals that you can’t get at most grocery stores.

In the r/Costco subreddit, user @AlastairWyghtwood asked employees, “What is something you wish you could tell customers that would improve their experience (and/or yours) at Costco?” Although throwing your trash away and placing items where they belong were among the most common responses, there are a few quality tips for first-time and regular shoppers alike. According to the replies, Costco employees want to let you in on a few tips for navigating the wholesale store, as well as some general suggestions for being a decent shopper.

Listen to the employee trying to upgrade your membership

It’s valid to be wary of an employee at any store trying to sell you something. But if Costco workers are sharing the benefits of their different membership tiers, hear them out and see if an upgrade will benefit your shopping experience. After all, executive members receive greater savings and benefits on Costco services and travel products.

“If you are prompted at the register to upgrade your membership, it’s because you will be saving/making money with the executive. I know it sounds like we are trying to sell you on something, but we are actually trying to help you. Don’t be nasty to the person suggesting the upgrade.”

Take advantage of the store’s feedback box

“Our Costco has a feedback box at the front of the store. I occasionally will request an item be brought back. I don’t know if it matters at all, but at least it makes me feel better.”

Limited-time items and holiday items frequently don’t make a return at grocery stores, especially at Aldi, Trader Joe’s, and Costco. Questioning an employee at the store won’t bring the product back, but using the feedback box and online feedback form can be a solution to requesting a product at your local Costco. Fingers crossed!

Beware of expiration warnings

“Pay attention to the produce or bakery items you are grabbing. Produce — Sometimes we get half a pallet of stuff that has mold on it. Check the item you are grabbing to inspect, in every case. Bakery items should never have mold on them, but check to see if they are two for ones! Other bread items — check the dates. Seriously.”

There’s nothing that hurts more than unloading your groceries and noticing mold on the product that you just purchased. Save yourself a passive-aggressive return trip to Costco and double check all of your items before heading to the checkout line. This counts for the plant section, too!

Don’t forget your reusable bag (or grab boxes at the front)

“Bring your own boxes to the front end. Makes life easier at high volume warehouses.”

Whether your Costco haul is going to be three items or a month’s supply of food, be prepared to transport your purchase to your home by bringing several reusable bags or ask an employee about boxes prior to checking out. 

Throughout the r/Costco subreddit, other helpful topics include finding when an item goes on sale, monthly Costco finds and convenient shopping lists for two-person households.