Costco - treated like a criminal when leaving as they don’t Trust Staff

Costco make you queue to pay - then queue to exit the store when the registers are at the exit point. Staff demand you hand over your receipt they then count every item in your mega sized cart. I challenge one staff member who insisted I empty my Costco Provided Executive cooler bag after their staff help pack so they could count the items - draw a big line through my receipt. This all happens 10meters from the register where my cart was emptied scanned and placed back into my cart after I paid.
Costco employees response ….We don’t trust our staff on the Registers …… we’ll on that note I will not be renewing my membership at an organisation that puts so little trust into it employees that customers are treated like crap as well. I’ve had my membership for 3 weeks and I wish I had known this before. Costco Ringwood

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Welcome to the Community @mlslade137,

That is their global business model since the inception in 1983.

As an aside I will punt you have not been in an Aldi recently, where they check the empty bags you bring in to pack your own groceries?

Whether you accept this or not, they claim it is for customer benefit. Because of the large quantities and that some items need to be collected from a smallish storeroom up front after paying it is as much a sanity check as anything. Rather than not trusting their register staff they realise that with the volumes of diverse products errors happen, and possibly as often against the consumer as for the consumer.

You can get a refund by taking your membership to the counter. Their customer service is considered exemplary.


In addition to the above reasons, they also check because:

  1. A code on the top and bottom of the receipt that changes daily so employees know the receipt was, indeed, printed that day.
  2. The item count on the bottom of the receipt to make sure there were no under or over charges.
  3. High-end items such as jewelry; stamps; electronics; or items over $300, which need supervisors’ initials on them.
  4. Large items like tissue and water, which have various signifiers on the receipt to ensure final checks include a look at the bottom of the basket.

1 is to ensure a receipt isn’t being used twice to take the same items again from store (customer/staff complicit in the stealing a trolley of items). This isn’t unique to Costco but now occurs at stores like Kmart which is the subject of other threads in the community. Unfortunately it is also likely to become a more regular experience in the future.

2 and 3 is as outlined in @PhilT post. 2 is also about reducing stealing/shoplifting as well as identifying any ‘operator’ or ‘scan’ errors.

4 is to ensure items which may be hidden under the trolley basket are scanned. This could be cashier ‘oversight’ or customers trying to sneek unpaid items out of store.

Irrespective of why they do it, entering a Costo (or any retailer) one accepts the conditions of entry, which includes checking receipts on exit. While inconvenient, one of the reasons it is done to ensure products leaving the store have been paid for.

Placing store personnel at exits to check receipts is known to reduce stealing from stores. This is why many retailers use such an approach in Australia.

Trusting staff is a completely different issue and can’t comment on whether Costco doesn’t trust its staff. What I can say is staff stealing or being complicit in stealing significantly impacts on a business bottom line. In the US, where Costco is from, there are industry reports that on average about USD1300 is stolen by retail staff each year. Not insignificant and can see why a multinational business may adopt measure across its whole business to reduce theft.