15 Costco Things (Almost) Everyone Hates

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Unravel the untold annoyances lurking behind the bulk-buying bliss at Costco.
Updated Feb. 5, 2024
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Costco has lots of fans who love to save money shopping with their bulk buys. But there are also those things that can bug customers at their local warehouse retailer.

Are you one of those Costco shoppers who has some complaints about Costco? See if your Costco criticisms are on this list.

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Parking

diy13/Adobe lines of parked-cars

Costco is famous for its great deals on plenty of different items like food, clothes, and seasonal items.

But does it seem like the stuff inside Costco is big while the parking lot outside is small?

You wouldn’t be alone in your complaints about Costcos having parking lots that are too busy or make it difficult to find a good spot.

Samples

Christian Müller/Adobe Offering samples

Samples are delicious at Costco, but they do come at a cost.

Sometimes, you may test something that you think is delicious and end up putting it in your cart — and pushing your purchases over your budget limit.

You also may want to skip a particular sample only to be stuck behind a crowd clamoring for the latest taste of something when you just get to the back of the store for the rotisserie chicken.

Limited food court menu

Eric BVD/Adobe Menu cards of costco food court with variety of food and deals

Costco has all different kinds of options at its worldwide food courts, like poutine in Canada or a bulgogi bowl in South Korea.

So why does it feel like your local Costco only has a few items to choose from?

Sure, the hot dog deal with a drink for only $1.50 is a great option, but there aren’t many more choices beyond that.

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Changing items

JackF/Adobe woman giving books to librarian

You may find a unique item on the shelves of your local Costco and try it out to discover you enjoy it immensely.

And then you can’t find it again.

Costco tries to keep certain staples in stock while also trying out new things on its shelves. But sometimes, what was once a great find becomes a hard-to-find option on your next visit.

Lack of variety

mandritoiu/Adobe delaware costco store with napkins on shelves for sale

Bulk items take up plenty of space on Costco’s shelves, which can be great if you’re buying large quantities of something.

But it also means that Costco can’t take up shelf space with the kind of variety you can find at your local grocery store.

So you may be disappointed when you only have one option for ketchup or two choices for pasta sauce.

Weekend shoppers

trongnguyen/Adobe champagne and various liquor for sale at alaska costco store

Costco is open seven days a week, but sometimes, the only time you can get there is on the weekends.

Unfortunately, that’s also the only time for plenty of other Costco customers, creating long waits at the food court or big crowds in the aisles waiting for the latest samples.

Big carts

jetcityimage/Adobe trolley outside costco store

Everything is bigger at Costco, from the big containers of laundry detergent to the big bags of chips and the big cases of diced tomatoes.

The carts are also bigger to accommodate all the bulk items you need. They’re also a big pain to try and push around or maneuver through the crowds waiting in front of a sample table.

However, this may be the price that Costco shoppers have to pay if they want to buy things bigger.

Showing your membership card

dennizn/Adobe costco receipt and executive membership card

You’re excited to start your Costco run and pick up everything on your list or try some new samples.

But you have to dig your Costco card out of your purse or wallet first and show it to gain entry into the store. Then, you have to remember which pocket you put it in to get it back out when you check out.

One option that could help you out is saving your membership info in the Costco app on your phone so you don’t have to worry about digging out your physical card.

Produce in bulk

mandritoiu/Adobe dairy and bakery products in costco store

There are some great items to buy in bulk at Costco, like frozen foods or non-perishable items.

But produce may not be your best bet if you aren’t sure how long it will take you to finish it. So take a good look at pears or bananas and decide if you really need a bulk amount of them.

You may be better off getting a smaller quantity at another store, but that also means you’ll have to visit another store.

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No coupons

Robert Kneschke/Adobe woman paying at store using card

Costco has deals on all kinds of items on its shelves, and you can save extra cash by buying them in bulk at the low rate that Costco negotiates with its providers.

That’s one of the reasons why Costco won’t accept your coupons.

Instead, make sure you keep an eye on your email or mailbox for promotions that Costco sends out to its members if you’re looking for extra savings.

Long checkout lines

dennizn/Adobe hand holding costco receipt inside store

Costco does try to get its check-out lines moving with workers who are well-trained when it comes to ringing up bulk items.

But even the best cashiers can get swamped with weekend crowds or shoppers with carts stuffed with items.

It may be a better idea to carve out some time during the week or take advantage of same-day delivery from Instacart or order items like toilet paper or paper towels for delivery.

Costco’s website

monticellllo/Adobe laptop displaying logo of Costco

Costco’s website may leave some members wishing for just a bit more when it comes to what they can find online.

The website has separate pages for items that can be shipped and same-day delivery items from your local store.

It can also be difficult to check online and see if Costco has something in stock, so you may be going into the store not knowing if that location has what you need.

Sheet cake availability

mandritoiu/Adobe bakery aisle in a Costco store

Costco used to have some great sheet cakes in its bakery department that you could quickly swing by and pick up for an office birthday or a party for family and friends.

But those days are gone, and you’ll have to plan more if you want one of Costco’s famous sheet cakes.

It might even require you to go to Costco in person and order a sheet cake, as the retailer doesn’t have an online order option.

No fitting rooms

Kalim/Adobe girl friends checking clothes at store

Costco has a good variety of clothing that changes depending on the season, with sweaters in the winter and shorts and T-shirts in the summer.

But you’ll probably find a few shoppers holding up clothes to see if they fit since Costco doesn’t have fitting rooms.

The good news is that Costco has a generous return policy, so you can easily bring it back if you try it on at home and find you don't want it for any reason.

Limited credit card options

Seventyfour/Adobe customer paying with card at cashier

Costco trips can get expensive when you’re buying in bulk, which is why it’s helpful to have a credit card in your wallet.

However, Costco is particular about which cards it accepts for purchases. Make sure you have the right ones with you so you don’t get stuck with a cart full of items and no way to pay.

Bottom line

jetcityimage/Adobe costco wholesale store logo on costco store entrance during day time

While Costco offers the thrill of discovery and bulk bargains, remember a dash of pre-shopping prep can unlock its true potential.

Pack patience, a strategic list, and your best cash back credit cards — your wallet and your taste buds will thank you.

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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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