The Costco Checkout Faux Pas You May Not Have Known About

Costco receipt printing out
Costco receipt printing out - Bloomberg/Getty Images

There's no feeling quite like flashing your Costco membership card and entering a warehouse full of all your essentials in large quantities and at low prices. In 2023, Costco reported a total of 129.5 million cardholders across their 873 warehouses. Whether you're a family of two or ten, Costco's shopping experience is beloved around the world.

With all the benefits that a Costco membership provides, it also comes with a few rules that members are expected to follow. When it comes time to scan and pay for your items, membership cards will be scanned before an employee can begin the checkout process. Per Costco's website, this process is to ensure that the customer has an up-to-date membership and they are using cards that actually belong to them. Most shoppers simply hold onto their membership card, along with a photo ID for verification, and wait until they reach the front of the line for their card to be scanned. However, certain members have gotten creative with this process and it is seriously ticking off Costco employees.

A photo on Reddit showed a membership card placed on a grocery divider, with the caption, "Anyone else put their card in the divider? Do cashiers prefer it or hate it?" According to the comments, this is a definite no-no at most Costco locations.

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Reddit Had A Lot To Say About Costco's Checkout Procedures

hands holding costco membership card
hands holding costco membership card - Bloomberg/Getty Images

When it comes to scanning your membership card at checkout, it's probably best to keep it in hand. Many Costco members in the Reddit thread have brought up valid points about why membership cards should be kept away from the conveyor belt. For one, the card could easily fall into places where it is difficult to retrieve before it's your turn to check out. One commenter wrote, "Hate it. The number of times the card slips out and falls under the conveyor belt is ridiculous. Please stop doing this." Another user shared that they have lost their physical card so often that they have ditched the card altogether in favor of the mobile membership barcode.

Preferred conveyor belt protocols may vary by Costco location and even by each individual cashier. Some Reddit users have said certain Costco employees prefer cards to be displayed on the conveyor belt while others at different locations give you a major side eye for placing your card anywhere near it. Members have observed that this unusual card process seems to have been much more popular before the COVID-19 pandemic. Post-Covid, many cashiers want to minimize the amount of physical contact they make with guests. One Redditor confirmed, "Yeah here (PNW) they liked it when you put it in the dividers until Covid and now they don't want to touch it." When in doubt, it's best to hold your card and wait to scan.

You Might Want To Think Twice Before Using Self-Checkout At Costco

Shopper with full cart at Costco
Shopper with full cart at Costco - Bloomberg/Getty Images

It's no secret that Costco can become tough to navigate, especially when there are large crowds of people waiting in line to pay for their carts full of bulk items. If you only have a few items to scan, or you're hoping to avoid any possible faux pas while checking out, shoppers can opt for the self-checkout option, although not everyone has had a positive experience with it.

In an attempt to speed up the checkout process, Costco has self-checkout kiosks available for members to use. Ideally, shoppers can quickly scan their items, pay, and leave without the assistance of an employee (thus avoiding any awkward membership scanning encounters). Unfortunately, many Costco members have expressed frustrations with the self-checkout process, making it clear that Costco's self-checkout system leaves much to be desired. One Reddit user shared their experience, claiming, "Self Checkout has become awful." The user recounted their last interaction with Costco's self-checkout, claiming there was confusion about whether to use a hand scanner or table scanner and eventually one employee "yanked the hand scanner out of my hand and told me I had to use the table scanner." Many users in the comments shared similar experiences with micromanaging at self-checkout -- one frequent Costco shopper added that their local warehouse employees "basically stalk you down at self checkout." Clearly, certain etiquette is expected across both sides of the checkout aisle at Costco.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.