10 Bad Behaviors Spotted at Costco

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Not everyone is on their best behavior when shopping at Costco.
Updated April 3, 2023
young kid peeking over table at muffins

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You can maximize your shopping deals — and maximize your credit card rewards — by taking a trip to your local Costco to buy in bulk. This retailer has so many things besides groceries to indulge in — from luggage for an upcoming trip or new tires for your car. People love Costco. People also partake in some unsavory actions while wandering the aisles. Prepare to be shocked by these bad behaviors employees and shoppers have reported seeing at the store.

Returning a tree after Christmas

wachiwit/Adobe Christmas tree with decorations and lights background

Costco has a very generous return policy, and in most cases, you don’t even need a receipt. But one customer may have taken it too far when they returned a Christmas tree the day after Christmas, complete with dried branches and missing needles.

And yes, Costco stocks Christmas trees, which may surprise some people. A holiday tree is fairly typical compared to some of the bizarre Costco products on the shelf.

Making a meal out of samples

Tyler Olson/Adobe Man offering food samples to couple

Costco is known for its amazing samples, which is great if you’re shopping and want to try one or two different things. But Costco employees also say there are some people who abuse the offerings, with one employee admitting that he had customers tell him they only had a Costco membership to eat the free samples.

While we do admire the money-saving Costco hacks that people come up with, maybe making meals out of samples shouldn't be one of them.

Leaving a mess behind

Chalabala/Adobe Dog looking up from mess it made

Some of us have picked up a heavy mayonnaise jar only to have it slip and crash onto the unforgiving concrete Costco floor. Having to contact a store employee because of the mess made can be embarrassing. However, employees report that more than a few customers have dropped, broken, and spilled things only to flee the scene without alerting anyone.

Smearing sticky fingerprints all over the store

Dani/Adobe Girl eating churros and chocolate

The Costco food court is known for its delicious foods, especially the churros. Yes, we love those cinnamon-sugar treats, but beware of the fallout if you eat one before you shop. It’s been reported that cinnamon-y churro fingerprints have been spotted all over the electronic displays.

Abandoning ice cream in the cracker aisle

Syda Productions/Adobe Woman looking at ice cream in grocery store

We all might decide in the middle of shopping that we may not want something in our cart after all. But one Costco employee wishes customers wouldn’t leave frozen aisle items like ice cream on a shelf next to crackers.

Using crackers as a seat

Syda Productions/Adobe Cute little girl with hands over her mouth

Costco is a big store with many aisles and deals, and sometimes shoppers need a break. Taking a rest in one of the sample chairs in the furniture section is a good idea. Sitting on top of boxes of crackers, which at least one customer has done, is probably not.

Thinking Costco is a race track

JacobLund/Adobe Friends racing grocery carts

Their warehouses are huge, their aisles are long, and shopping can sometimes get tedious. Perhaps in an effort to combat the boredom, some customers enjoy racing their carts through the rows at potentially dangerous speeds. This should only be done when no one else is in the store, which seems to be never.

Not putting your cart away

Voy_ager/Adobe Super Money-Saving Hacks Every Costco Shopper Should Know

One of the excellent things about the Costco parking lot is that some may have more cart areas than your local grocery store. Despite this, there are customers who insist on abandoning their carts in the middle of the lot instead of wheeling it to the cart return.

Hovering over employees for the freshest muffins

Africa Studio/Adobe Young girl holding muffins over her eyes

Everyone loves the freshest muffins at Costco, but apparently some customers really want to make sure they get the latest and greatest. One employee shared that customers would hover over him when he was stocking the baked goods, and then they’d snatch the newest packages from his cart.

Stealing the condiments

natapetrovich/Adobe Hot dogs with condiments

Hot dogs are delicious with all the extras, and Costco certainly has plenty of add-ons like pickles, onions, and relish in the food court. One customer was observed at the free condiments area filling up a bag with all of the onions offered and walking away.

Bottom line

Serhii/Adobe Little boy holding pineapple in grocery store

Costco is a wonderful place to shop and eat — and people watch. Perhaps you’ve spotted some jaw-dropping moments while shopping, or maybe had your own slip when your behavior wasn’t the best (we’ve all been there).

One great thing to do while shopping anywhere is to take advantage of the best credit cards for groceries to maximize points and savings. That’s definitely a good behavior.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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