You can finally know exactly when markdowns happen every month! 🙌
If you're a regular Costco Canada shopper or are considering getting a membership, there are so many things you probably don't know about the wholesaler's discounts and returns that could actually be a game-changer for you.
Narcity spoke to two employees, Beth* and Hannah*, to find out how customers can get the most bang for their buck when it comes to sales and how shoppers can make the most of the retailer's return policies.
Here are six things about discounts and returns at Costco that you'll probably wish you knew sooner — you can thank us later!
You can return almost anything
At Costco, you can pretty much return everything.
"One customer returned a pillow seven years old 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."
When it comes to electronics, customers have 90 days to return unwanted items. However, for most products, there is no deadline to bring them back.
"There are people that return their old groceries. They'll freeze their meat if they don't like it and they'll return it," Hannah said.
One Canadian shopper even returned shorts that they bought two years earlier!
But they track you if returns get excessive
According to Hannah, Costco understands that shoppers do need to make returns sometimes. However, stores do keep track of what's being brought back.
So, they get it if you don't like the avocados you bought this time and maybe the next time but after that, they're going to have a conversation with you about it.
It apparently works on a case-by-case basis and it only becomes an issue if a customer is excessively returning items or when it's a huge amount that's being taken back.
Markdowns happen every four weeks
If you're on the lookout for markdowns, you can usually expect them to happen every four weeks or so.
According to Beth and Hannah, the process revolves around moving products that are going out of season. So, for example, snowsuits have recently been marked down in price in some stores.
"Markdown Mondays happen indefinitely regardless of anything, just to like make sure everything is kind of cohesive with the season" they explained.
Items on Costco Finds Canada sell out fast
The employees confirmed that most products featured on the Costco Finds Canada Instagram account sell out really, really fast.
"A lot of people are rushing to get whatever's posted there," Hannah said. "It runs out of stock like immediately."
Beth also revealed that people come in to buy whatever is posted on the account not only for themselves but also for their friends and family.
If you want to get the products that you find on the Costco Finds Canada account, it might be best to temper your expectations.
"The stuff that's put on there is sometimes not at other locations," Hannah said. "We don't receive everything at the exact same time."
Prices vary depending on a store's location
If you’ve ever wondered why different Costco locations can have alternative prices on some products, there’s actually a pretty simple explanation.
According to Beth and Hannah, Costco managers often visit nearby stores to see how other local supermarkets are pricing their products. This process is called "comp shop" or "comparison shopping" and helps locations to keep their costs competitive.
"Comparison shop is when they just go out and see the difference between like [...] the price of their apples or like pineapples or that kind of stuff, product-wise," they confirmed.
"And then they also usually take up a sample of [Costco products] too, to compare like how big ours is to theirs and we do a taste test and everything."
While they try to be competitive, Costco doesn't do price matching because "their sizes are so different." This is why they don’t generally accept coupons either.
The newsletter has big perks
If you don’t already get it, both Beth and Hannah recommend signing up for Costco's flyers, which are usually sent out on a weekly basis.
If you sign up for the newsletter, you'll be first to know about new items, as well as sales and discounts. You'll also be in the know about any Costco product recalls, too.
"If there are any recalls, they'll email you right away because they'll know your shopping history," Beth told Narcity, adding that shoppers can find out about recalls and promos that "you wouldn't otherwise know about."
*Names have been changed to maintain confidentiality. Narcity has verified their identity.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
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