Is this you? 😅
Check yourself, shoppers! Two Costco Canada employees have spilled the beans on the types of customers that make life harder for staff, and some of these habits do sound pretty annoying.
Narcity spoke to employees Beth* and Hannah* for some insight into all of the ways shoppers are getting things wrong at the big-box store, and it sounds like they've had to contend with some odd shopping behaviours since the start of the pandemic.
From the hoarder and the plastic wrap ripper to the serial returner, these bad Costco customers could be causing mayhem without even realizing it!
Here's what you need to know about being an upstanding Costco member and how to avoid becoming enemy number one with anybody who works there.
According to Beth and Hannah, it became especially difficult to handle this type of Costco shopper at the height of the pandemic.
Some customers were buying so much that the store actually put limits on items like toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
In some instances, Hannah said people would take extreme measures to get around the new restrictions.
"There were people [at one location] that had just brought out a fresh pallet of Lysol wipes. These people literally went to their car, changed their wigs, came back in, grabbed another two. They went out, changed their jacket, came back, grabbed another two," Hannah told Narcity.
"Why do you need that many Lysol wipes?" she asked. "And, the size of them, it's not just your standard 100 wipes, it's 250! It's just bizarre."
She reminded customers that cashiers do notice this type of behaviour and they can put a block on your membership if you're caught.
While there are no longer restrictions on most of these pandemic products, another issue has cropped up.
Hannah said the Costco Finds Canada Instagram page can cause issues too as people rush to stores to find the stuff that's posted there.
"They're usually buying up for their friends and their families. So [products] run out of stock, like immediately."
The serial returner
Costco has a pretty chill return policy, but some shoppers occasionally take things too far.
When it comes to electronics, customers have 90 days to return unwanted items. However, for most products, there is actually no deadline to bring them back.
"One customer returned a pillow after seven years because 'it didn’t feel right,'" Hannah revealed. "There was also someone who returned a fake plant because they were watering it and they didn't know it was fake!"
She added that some buyers even return their old groceries. "They’ll freeze their meat if they don't like it and they'll return it."
According to both employees, the generous return system is sometimes taken advantage of by customers who think there are no consequences.
"We get it, but we track you," she said. "We understand, okay, maybe you didn't like these avocados this time, and maybe the next time, but after that, we're going to have a conversation. 'Maybe we're just not the right fit for your produce,' or something like that."
The rack shopper
If you want to become BFFs with Costco employees — stick to the counters, people!
"What you're doing wrong is you're touching the deli racks, you should be going through the counters," Hannah told Narcity.
"So, we bring out racks of food from the deli, right? To stock the counters. And so people are like, 'Oh, I'm just gonna grab it off the rack. So I don't mess up your display.'"
However, this is actually a potentially dangerous move, she said, "Because we could be taking out the product, we could be re-pricing the product."
Beth added that sometimes products with upcoming expiry dates end up on the rack too, so it's a risky move to just grab from there.
The plastic wrap ripper
Another thing that customers can do wrong has to do with the plastic-wrapped products on upper shelves in the store.
"You don't have to rip the saran to try and get that one box of whatever you need — it's on the floor," Hannah said.
Beth also mentioned that you can just find someone who works at Costco and they'll help you find where the product you want is on the floor.
The rule of thumb to keep in mind is that items will not be put up in the steel if they aren't on the floor.
"It's bad," Hannah said. "If you were to rip the saran and grab, it could cause a domino effect."
Both warned that products could fall down and hit you!
The cart blocker
If you want to be in the good graces of Costco employees, you don't want to be a cart blocker.
There are customers who go into the middle of aisles and leave their carts there while they walk away to look at something else as other people are trying to get by.
"It just causes more traffic and the flow stops in the store. Just the one cart," Hannah revealed.
Beth also noted that it causes a backlog, especially in the bakery, meats, deli and produce departments, because those areas don't have a lot of space.
Shoppers should just push their carts off to the side.
The mess maker
Beth and Hannah revealed that there are shoppers who come in to get just one thing but end up coming to the checkout counter with their arms full of products.
Then those items end up on the floor and make a "huge mess."
"If they make a mess, they should automatically find somebody that works there. Doesn't matter who it is in any department and let them know right away that there's a mess," Beth said.
In some cases, other shoppers don't pay attention to what's happening around them and will then slip in the spill.
"I'll give a tip for those people that come in and say, 'I just need that one thing,' and then they remember, 'Oh no, I need four or five things,'" Hannah said. "Go to the produce section, grab a box and then continue your shopping."
Remember, the boxes are free so you don't have to pay to use them.
The space invader
Although Canada has been dealing with the pandemic for a while now, it sounds like some customers still haven't adapted to COVID-19 measures.
"Some shoppers have no regard for the plexiglass," Beth said, adding that people always try to put their head around the other side of it.
"I don't know what it is about people that always want to come around and talk to you. They will never keep that barricade there. Whatever it is, the barrier is just too much for them."
"Yeah, and we can still hear you with your mask on," Hannah added. "I know people always like to pull it down to talk. We can hear you, you just have to project your voice."
You heard them, folks. Mask on and stick to your side of the plexiglass… easy!
*Names have been changed to maintain confidentiality. Narcity has verified their identity.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.