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Costco Requests?

I read the threads in here about Costco. Recently I had to do a few different size exchanges on clothes and did not find the experience very satisfactory. Instead of simply exchanging, you have to return, then rebuy in two different spots. I emailed Costco about this and got a very non sensical response that kind of sounded like the "Stepford Wives" or something.

Yesterday, I went to Costco to buy this fantastic marinated Flank Steak that we had a week or two ago. Simply one of the best things I have tasted there.

I come to find out I must have bought the last pack because they discontinued it. The person behind the meat counter kept insisting it did not matter when they said, it would not change corporateā€™s decision and that I should go leave a suggestion at the box
.
So I did. Along with wanting the 10 oz salmon I have seen posted about. So while I was there, I noticed a notebook with "responses" to requests and decided to look through it.

I could not find ONE SINGLE response where they simply said ,"yes, we will get that for you". Every single request was answered with the reason the store does not have that item any longer.

So why bother to make a request, if they are all turned down?

Have you made a request to Costco and gotten a positive response out of it?

FOTD

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  1. they do honestly look at requests, and you can get the buyer at your local to tell you why, if they won't do your request. But, honestly, it's a lot like Trader Joe's -- when something's cheap, they'll have it.

    Also, some seasonal items come back each year. look for them next year.

    1. If it worked I would lobby for the return of Everybody's Nuts Salt & Pepper Pistachios which were recently discontinued.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ferret

        Agreed! I was just looking for those on Sunday. Now I know why they weren't there.

      2. i have noted, that even locally, some of their stores carry different items from others. several years ago a neighboring store was carrying a particular brand of bourbon that our local store did not have. i submitted a suggestion, got no written response, but a couple of weeks later the brand appeared at our local store and has been there since. don't know if it was coincidence or if they actually read the recommendation. but i'm happy either way.

        1. My wife is a big believer in those "Costco Member Feedback" slips. She requests things they don't have, ran out of or no longer carry. Surprisingly whether its coincidental or what, some of those items appear.

          Me.....I take those slips and use them for scratch paper.

          2 Replies
          1. re: monku

            Don't get me wrong. Some of the replies in the book say "seasonal item". So I guess those they bring back.

            FOTD

            1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

              I'm a satisfied Costco member and shareholder.
              They make a concerted effort at everything they do, I have no major complaints.

          2. I work for Costco.

            On the being forced to return/rebuy instead of doing an exchange, it is much easier to do in 2 separate transactions (think--having to hold the item, go find what you want, come back into line--also, if you're at a newer warehouse, the layout of the store isn't conducive to such. The return/member services area is by the exit, and you're going to have to go through the closed registers area or out of the store and back through the entrance to get to the merchandise.). Also, with the quick rate of turnover on some seasonal merchandise, there's a decent chance that what you want to exchange for will not be available when you come back in a couple weeks. I think that unless there is a price issue (i.e. it was bought while another coupon book was valid), this policy is a good one. You should have had to have returned it at the member services area, then just found it on the floor and gone to a register to ring it up just like any other purchase.

            My warehouse isn't open yet (next week!), but... I was just at another store shopping for myself on Sunday, and the cilantro lime marinated flank steak is still available. Some days it isn't available, and that's because they've only made up a certain number of them and other members have bought them out already. I agree, it is yummy! However, it can be hit or miss as to availability.

            35 Replies
            1. re: LuckyCharm

              I agree about the return policy. It works just fine IMHO.

              DT

              1. re: Davwud

                Not many other places let you return an item without a receipt.

              2. re: LuckyCharm

                <<it is much easier to do in 2 separate transactions (think--having to hold the item, go find what you want, come back into line--also, if you're at a newer warehouse, the layout of the store isn't conducive to such>>

                I totally disagree with you. I'm sorry. I have to go get the new item either way. But now I have to wait in TWO lines, not one. How can that possibly be easier?

                FOTD

                1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                  FOTD, it's easier because it makes the long returns line move much faster. Based on my experiences, the vast majority of people in that line do not end up exchanging their purchases, they are simply returning them for a full refund. If everyone had to wait for you to search through the vast warehouse for a substitute and then process the exchange, it would make the time in line unendurable. Furthermore, I would bet that most customers do other shopping at Costco on the same trip, so they are going to wind up on the purchases line anyway.

                  Quite clearly, it's the difference between a comparatively trivial inconvenience for you and a significant headache for everyone else.

                  1. re: Arthur

                    I totally do not understand your answer and you are making alot of assumptions.

                    Assumption 1- Who says I am going to go to the line and then go search through the warehouse while the line waits for me.

                    huh?
                    Secondly, I am willing to go through the check out line with my exchange. That is not the issue.

                    FOTD

                    1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                      On the first point, read what Cathy and monku say below.

                      On the second point, your entire complaint is based on your having to wait in two lines to exchange a single item: one for returns, the second for the exchange/repurchase. By definition, you are not "willing to go through the check out [i.e., second] line with my exchange."

                      Nobody here is drinking from the Costco Kool-Aid, as you stated below. But whatever you're imbibing seems to be clouding your ability to see the clear-as-a-bell big picture.

                      1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                        Because it's more efficient to have one person doing one task. Some items like electronics and jewelry require a manager to authorize the return or exchange. If you had all the cashiers doing returns and exchanges, the checkout lines would be very slow because the cashiers would have to stop and wait for a manager to OK the return. Right now they only have to get approval when buying those specific items, but if they also had to process returns of those items, the lines would be even slower. Not to mention, as the others said, that if you walked in with a cordless phone to return, and didn't have the receipt, how would you prove that you walked in with the phone and didn't just grab it off the shelf?

                        I've been to Kohl's before -- waited almost 15 minutes in line to buy a gift card for a wedding gift (specific request). There were 2 cashiers, and one was having a hard time with a return of something that wasn't ringing up correctly. Manager wasn't answering the request for assistance, so the line was essentially at a standstill. Never again.

                        1. re: boogiebaby

                          How does one prove in department stores every day for years that one did not just walk in and grab the item and return it? Thousands of stores manage to take care of business this way.

                          In the case of Costco, they mark your receipt so you could NOT do what you are suggesting anyways.

                          Not sure where you guys shop but this sort of thing has been and is done all the time for years.

                          FOTD

                          1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                            So do you not shop at Target, Walmart, Toys R Us or Best Buy either? All of those stores also require you to return your item at the front before going to shop or exchange an item. It's not just Costco that does this.

                            1. re: boogiebaby

                              So let me ask you something. If I walk into one of the above mentioned stores and they ask me what I have and it is an item of their's. And I tell them I am considering returning it but don't know yet, are they going to not let me walk around with it?

                              I don't think so....

                              1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                Try carrying in an unopened item the week after Christmas. I know all of those stores have a desk at the front door for returns *or* exchanges.

                                If Kohls lets you carry in an item and just exchange it, then please shop there and don't bother with Costco if it is so cumbersome for you. If the Kohl's business model works so well, then all stores will adopt it and Costco will be the odd one.

                                Don't talk about Costco Members 'drinking the Costco Kool Aid'. The store runs efficiently and makes a profit while I get a good deal on the items I purchase.

                                1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                  "And I tell them I am considering returning it but don't know yet, are they going to not let me walk around with it? I don't think so...."

                                  FOTD, there are too many double (triple? quadruple?) negatives in your last post for anyone to be certain that they can accurately respond to (let alone comprehend) your hypothetical question. Suffice it to say that, at least in my experience, many stores will ask you to check-in merchandise/bags with security at the entrance.

                                  But in any case, so what? Different stores, different policies. After many weeks of this increasingly stagnant debate, it ultimately comes down to the inarguable fact that you remain totally alone here in thinking the Costco policy is inefficient and just plain sucks. If you cannot abide that policy, you don't have to shop there. That'll leave the rest of us with one less relentlessly disgruntled customer to contend with.

                                  1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                    FOTD, I am not the only person here who has suggested you take your business elsewhere. Everyone recognizes that sometimes a dude like you simply cannot abide.

                                    And the issue is not my ability to comprehend. It's that you continue to insist that you are the only rational consumer here, that everyone else is "drinking the Costco Kool-Aid." You keep coming back here every few days with a new round of ad hominem retorts, and the strain increasingly shows.

                                    Re-read the passage you wrote this morning, which I quoted in my last post. Trust me when I say that that is objectively and infinitely harder to process than a routine exchange of merchandise at Costco.

                            2. re: boogiebaby

                              ****Not to mention, as the others said, that if you walked in with a cordless phone to return, and didn't have the receipt, how would you prove that you walked in with the phone and didn't just grab it off the shelf?****

                              That's why the person at the door puts a sticker on the item. Without that sticker, proving you brought it in with you, I'm not taking the return.

                        2. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                          From a logistical and security standpoint it makes sense to just give you you're money back right away and you go shop.

                          You might think an "exchange" should be one transaction. Suppose you go to get the item and they don't have it, you still have to come back to the return register. Say you find the item you want to exchange and come back to the register (not always right away because the place is so big or you want to do other shopping) and the person you dealt with is busy with another customer or they go on break....then what? The checker at the door really shouldn't take someone's word that they were just "exchanging" an item.

                          Might not appear to be easier, but it seems the best way to handle the situation for all parties.

                          1. re: monku

                            Again, you are making lots of assumptions that are not correct.

                            You assume I am going to go to the cashier, "deal" with them, leave the item, and come back to them.

                            Absolutely incorrect. I went to Kohls. I walked in with the item I wanted to exchange. I dealt with noone. I went and got the new item. I then went to ONE place and simply did one transaction.
                            Folks, it is not rocket science. I would not go to a cashier, start, then leave.
                            That is the whole point.

                            You guys really must love that Costco Kool Aid...

                            FOTD

                            1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                              Doing it your way, if Costco still carries that item, then nothing is to stop you from walking in with a receipt only, for the item you already paid for and have tucked away at home, going to the shelves, picking up two items, going to the cash registers and saying you are returning one and want to trade it for the other.

                              That is the point.

                              You bring it in, they give you credit or cash, you go shop and buy another if they have it and if you want to.

                              1. re: Cathy

                                Yes they absolutely stop me from doing that! That is why they mark the receipt. THAT does not allow me to do what you suggest!

                                FOTD

                                1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                  So, to get your receipt marked at Kohl's, before you walk in?

                                  But you don't stand in a line to have that happen?

                                  1. re: Cathy

                                    Huh? Not sure what you mean. I do not get a receipt marked at Kohls. I get it marked at Costco, WHich means I could not do what you suggest above (below)

                                    <<Doing it your way, if Costco still carries that item, then nothing is to stop you from walking in with a receipt only, for the item you already paid for and have tucked away at home, going to the shelves, picking up two items, going to the cash registers and saying you are returning one and want to trade it for the other.>>>

                                    FOTD

                                    1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                      (You said 'they mark your receipt' and I thought you meant Kohls)

                                      Costco marks your receipt on the way out, to see if you have been billed only for the items on your cart. There are no anti-theft devices on Costco clothing items. Since Kohl's sells mostly clothing I assume we are not speaking about food.

                                      As I said, in your scenario, there would be nothing to stop you from walking in, with the receipt in question, marked that you had purchased an item, picking up two clothing items (one that matches your receipt) and then going to the check out line and telling them you are returning one and trading it for the other.

                                      When in reality, you kept the original item you had purchased at home and just got a second one for free. In Department Stores, the anti-theft device has been removed or deactivated on the original item.

                              2. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                "You assume I am going to go to the cashier, "deal" with them, leave the item, and come back to them."

                                I'm not making any assumption on your part. I'm explaining Costco's reason for doing it their way. You disagree with Costco's policy of having to wait in two lines to make an exchange. One to return the item to get your money back and one to pay for it again.

                                I don't shop at Kohl's, but it sounds pretty dicey on their part the way you describe it.
                                You walk in with your receipt and the item you're returning (dealing with no one..no one "checks in" the item you're returning?), you show up at the register with the original item and the new item and it's "even Steven" you walk out?

                                From what you're saying someone can walk into Kohl's with only a receipt, pick up two items, they go to the register and say they're exchanging it, so they walk out with the other for free.

                                1. re: monku

                                  If you think that is dicey, tell me. How has Macy's and every other department store in this country handled it that way for years without issues?

                                  FOTD

                                  1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                    Other stores have cameras and anti-theft tags and security people watching for shoplifting.

                                    Costco checks your receipt on the way out to see that you were not overcharged for what is on your cart. There are no anti-theft tags on clothing items.

                                    It's a different Business Model.

                                    (Oh. Those other stores do have issues. That's why it costs more there than at Costco)

                                    1. re: Cathy

                                      My point though exactly. Costco marks my receipt so I could not steal as you and others have suggested.
                                      So that makes it even MORE of a reason why they don't need to handle the transaction in two seperate transactions. They are actually MORE secure already than other stores because they marked the receipt.

                                      FOTD

                                      1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                        The receipt is marked as you leave after they check to see that you have only paid for the multiples on your cart. (They check that if you paid for two bags of dog food, you have two bags in your cart and not one.) They are looking for scanning errors.

                                        That is why the people with multiple cases on a flat or in a cart take longer. They are being counted and compared to the receipt. If you notice, they look at the receipt and mark it without looking in your cart most of the time. They stop when they see a multiple and then look in your cart to see that you have the multiple in your cart.

                                        Costco employees move items from one cart to another and from one flat carrier to another when scanning and are avoiding theft that way. If they leave items in the same cart, they also do a scan a code that there is nothing on the bottom.

                                        They are not looking for each item on the receipt. That is not why it is marked.

                                        1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                          "Yes they absolutely stop me from doing that! That is why they mark the receipt. THAT does not allow me to do what you suggest!" FOTD, how on Earth does a mark on the receipt accomplish that? Everyone here has made the perfectly clear analysis that, under your system, you could walk in with nothing but a receipt (marked or not), go get an item off the shelf that is listed on the receipt, and then use that receipt to "return" it, thereby getting/keeping the item you originally purchased at no charge. If anything, a marked receipt helps facilitate the scam by providing an emblem of authenticity.

                                          "Costco marks my receipt so I could not steal as you and others have suggested." Yes, they can prevent you from taking merchandise off the premises that is not accompanied by an unmarked receipt. But a marked receipt would not prevent you from (and would actually probably assist you in) pulling the scam so many of us have described here.

                                          As Cathy noted above, Costco has a different business model, one that thankfully does not necessitate the passed-on expense of anti-theft tags, constant camera surveillance, a squad of undercover store detectives, and department managers who must come over and authorize all returns/exchanges. All due respect, but have you noticed that every single person here but you gets this?

                                          1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                            "So that makes it even MORE of a reason why they don't need to handle the transaction in two seperate transactions. They are actually MORE secure already than other stores because they marked the receipt."

                                            You keep going on about no need for the "two separate transactions"
                                            Sure it sounds simple to do it your way if you're exchanging a shirt, but what about the customers who return large items like large screen TV's?
                                            I believe in the earlier days you could take an item to the register you were making a purchase and just exchange it.

                                            They aren't as secure as you may think with the marking of the receipt.
                                            People get out the door with larger priced items they stuff into other packaging. I reported an employee for not scanning a couple items on a huge order because she was busy talking to another employee about her date the night before, you think they caught those couple items at the door when the customer is buying dozens of items. Those people at the exit door are spot checking your basket and receipt, they aren't looking item for item at your purchases....stuff gets out.

                                            Most of the Costco's I go to don't have security guards on the property.

                                            1. re: monku

                                              ****Most of the Costco's I go to don't have security guards on the property.****

                                              We have LP (loss prevention) people on premises, but they're in plain clothes.

                                            2. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                              I've been following along with this tangent of the discussion.

                                              At the end of the day it really all boils down to this. It's not a problem for most people. FOTD, you don't like how they do returns and that's fine. You're allowed to not like it. You're also allowed to not shop there.

                                              For me personally, most of the time I'd prefer this method but occasionally I'd like to just do a straight exchange. I can't and I move on.

                                              It is what it is.

                                              DT

                                              1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                                How exactly would you get back out of the store, if you do an even exchange? Your receipt from the first transaction is marked. If you just do a straight swap out, what are you going to show the door people on your way out? Your already marked receipt? I'm certainly not going to go escort you to the door to let them know you're not stealing, especially when there are other people waiting to have a return processed.

                                                Further, know that the registers at merchandise returns are programmed to not allow purchases at them. Therefore, you wouldn't get a receipt stating you brought something back and swapped it out for the same item.

                                            3. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                              They do have issues...that is why prices keep rising for the rest of us.

                                              1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                                                There are plenty of "issues".
                                                Conveniently as you think you're making a quick exchange at Kohl's they know it's a potential problem.

                                                Costco and Walmart have greeters at the entrance making sure if a customer is returning an item for exchange they're directed to the return line or the item is tagged.

                                                Macy's and department stores average 2% a year in "shrinkage" (shoplifting, package pilferage, embezzlement, credit fraud, and check fraud). If Macy's annual sales are around $30 billion, that could amount to $600 Million in shrinkage and that's not counting money spent on preventing it with security personnel, camera surveillance, anti-theft tags and devices. One study I read said the industry average attributes 47% to employee theft, 33% to shoplifting and the remainder to vendor error, administrative error and unknown.

                                                1. re: monku

                                                  Kohl's has a very loose return policy, a friend that works there hates this and Kohl's spends a lot in security and survelence. He sites an example; someone returned an article where the label said, 'made exclusively for Walmart' he tried to prevent the refund, but was overriden by their policy. As for Costco, someone recently returned a pot and pans set over 7 years old, no questions asked, they're very accommodating. The main reason why they don't allow an even swap exchange is they need to process the return, via their database, for electronic inventory purposes then show a new sale for the item.

                                                  1. re: cstr

                                                    Walmart...
                                                    reminds me of the DVD recorder I tried to return that broke before my 90 days were up. I had the receipt and they weren't going to take it back because I didn't have the original box. I said who saves a box after 2 months and pointed to all the return signs and there was nothing that said the original packaging must accompany the return. After 30 minutes back and forth they gave me my money back.