Anyone who has ever had the honor of calling themselves a Costco member knows certain unalienable truths: The food court is fire, the samples are top notch, and the products are plentiful.
But just as any retail chain, Costco has its secrets. Business Insider spoke to a couple dozen Costco employees who aired their grievances—not so much about the store, but about the people who shop there.
Business Insider spoked to nearly 50 Costco employees about the things they wished they could say to members but couldn’t. Many of them were pretty straightforward: Don’t be gross, be polite, wash your hands, etc. Some of them, though, were a little less intuitive.
1. The sale price isn’t always the best price
A Costco employee in Illinois told Business Insider that “Some sales aren’t sales!”
Apparently, the secret’s in the price tags. Asterisks indicate that an item will not be restocked. Products with a sales price ending in .97 have been marked down.
2. Produce isn’t a good deal unless you plan on using it all
Six Costco employees told Business Insider they avoid buying produce at the store. Not because there is anything wrong with it, but simply because it only comes in bulk.
“While our produce department is one of the best in the business, I personally don’t eat veggies fast enough to buy in bulk, so two thirds of it will spoil before I eat it,” said a Minnesota-based Costco worker.
3. Stop taking advantage of the return policy
Employees do not appreciate customers taking advantage of their famously generous return policy. Several of them confessed the most over-the-top and bizarre returns they’ve been forced to accept, which included dirty toilets, stained mattresses, and dead plants.
4. There’s a lot more cheese in the $9.95 cheese pizza pies than you thought
Costco’s large $9.95 cheese pizza pies each contain a pound and a half of a mozzarella and parmesan blend.
According to Business Insider, a single cheese pie contains 24 ounces of cheese. (Keep in mind: an ounce and a half is a normal serving of firm cheese.) Pepperoni and combo pizza pies have less cheese on account of the room needed for toppings. On the bright side, Costco pizzas are free of lard, trans fats, and hydrogenated oils.
5. Employees aren’t happy with the food court menu options, but that is soon going to change
A Costco employee told Business Insider “Costco needs vegetarian items in the food court.” Cooking Light reports the store will be expanding its offering of vegan and vegetarian menu items “after receiving complaints from health-conscious shoppers.”
These new offerings will include an acai bowl, a vegan burger, and a vegan plant-based “Al Pastor” salad, which contains soy-based “meat.”
7. Stop trashing the store
Unsurprisingly, employees do not appreciate customers trashing their store.
A Costco employee from Arizona told Business Insider that they were fed up with customers leaving “sample cups all over the floor.” “Don’t be rude. Clean after yourself,” they said.
8. Don’t be gross, generally
According to Business Insider, Costco workers totally judge people who “exhibit unhygienic behaviors like putting their membership or credit cards in their mouth or failing to wash their hands in the restroom.”
Two Costco employees in particular—one from Illinois and one from Minnesota—say they are grossed out when they see members put their Costco cards in their mouths or their bra. This is especially an issue during flu season.
9. Being an executive member doesn’t make you special
A Costco employee from Nebraska told Business Insider, “Being a ‘member’ does not make you special, and I don’t care if you never come back.”
Another from Arizona added, “Yes, you pay for a membership, but it doesn’t mean you are entitled to anything or that you are always right.”
10. Control your children
Three different Costco employees from around the country complained about folks who didn’t control their kids in the warehouse.
“Please, for the love of God, tell your kid to stop screaming,” said one.
“Quit letting your kids jump around in the basket. It’s dangerous,” said another.
A third admitted they wished they could tell people “… that they are responsible for their kids, not us.”
11. Make sure your purchases will fit in your vehicle
One Costco employee from Ontario said their “No. 1 cringe” was dealing with customers who neglect to plan ahead for large purchases.
“Check the size of your car before coming — and the size of the product.” Costco workers “get really pissed off” when they have to carry heavy items all the way back into the store because the product was too big to fit in the car.
12. Don’t treat employees like a moving crew
“Please bring help with you if you are buying huge items and know that you’re physically limited,” one Florida employee said to Business Insider.
“I’ve had members arrive with a U-Haul and purchase multiple pieces of furniture that they cannot help load. We are more than happy to help but prefer you help too and not assume we are going to do the moving for you.”