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Costco employees share the 15 things they wish shoppers would stop doing

Business Insider Australia logo Business Insider Australia 3/29/2018 Áine Cain

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Costco jobs can be rough sometimes - especially when employees find themselves dealing with difficult members and annoying habits.

• Some customers are egregiously rude, while others have habits that are just quietly aggravating.

• Blocking the front entrance, leaving out perishables around the store, and trying to start fights over warehouse policies are all sure to annoy Costco employees.

Costco jobs aren't always a cakewalk.

Sometimes, that's due to the behaviours of Costco members.

A 2018 study from the University of British Columbia found that the promise of deals can "lead consumers away from fully recognising the human qualities of employees."

The finding doesn't exactly bode well for workers at Costco, which is known for touting bargains through buying in bulk, as well as cheap eats.

While the retail chain made Glassdoor's list of best places to work in 2017, employees have still occasionally taken to social media to complain about bad behaviour from shoppers.

"There are some really pleasant regulars that come in, but the negative ones outweigh the good for sure," wrote one seven-year Costco employee in a 2013 Reddit AMA.

Here are 15 annoying behaviours that are sure to irk Costco employees:

Treating employees poorly --  then expecting them to 'bend over backwards' for you

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Rude customers are a problem that most retail workers come up against. Costco employees are no exception.

In a 2013 Reddit AMA, a Reddit user who said they'd worked at Costco for seven years estimated that they hated 80% of the members that visited the store.

"Because people pay a membership fee to shop there, they feel entitled to treat us like s--- and expect us to bend over backwards for them," the employee wrote.

A Costco food court employee wrote in a 2014 Reddit AMA, "I'm not some indentured servant. I'm a person that has lived a life just as full as yours. I just so happened to end up on the other side of the counter today."

Trying to shop at Costco without a membership

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Costco employees are sometimes forced to deal with non-members trying to shop at the warehouse.

In a 2016 Reddit thread, a Reddit user who said they'd worked at Costco for eight years wrote that their go-to response to indignant non-members was, "I do apologise, but it is Costco's policy. It is a membership-based warehouse, and if you are not a member then you cannot shop here."

Causing problems at the front of the store

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Costco members can easily make life difficult for employees monitoring the front entrance of the store.

A Reddit user who said they'd worked at Costco for eight years as of 2016 wrote that annoying behaviours include customers failing to show their Costco member card, blocking the front entrance, and "pulling the 'but I've shopped here for year' excuse' in lieu of a card.

Making patronizing assumptions about workers

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Want to avoid ticking off a Costco employee? Don't assume they're looking for a better job.

In an op-ed article in Refinery29, a former Costco employee named Meghan DeMaria said she loved working at the store and resented the implication that her job was "any less real or important" than any other.

Leaving out perishables

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"The worst thing that pisses me off is people that leave perishables sitting in the aisles," wrote a Reddit user who said they worked at Costco in 2017.

Customers stashing juice and cheese in the freezers also irked this poster.

Abandoning your cart while in line at checkout

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When you're in line at checkout, stay in line. Especially if you're buying a ton of stuff.

In a 2013 Reddit AMA, a Reddit user who said they'd worked at Costco for seven years described one customer who just vanished from the line, leaving his basket of items and a credit card on the conveyor belt.

The employee described it as the "most annoying thing you can do to an employee."

Making threats

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In general, it's a good rule of thumb to not make death threats.

But, in a 2016 Reddit thread about retail work, two users who said they worked for Costco said they had received death threats from members on the job.

"I fully believe that bad customers have never worked retail themselves," wrote one of the Costco workers.

Attempting to start physical fights with the employees

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Some customers go beyond rudeness and actually resort to violence in Costco stores.

A Reddit user who said they'd worked at Costco for seven years described having a customer attempt to start a fist fight in a 2013 Reddit AMA.

As the story goes, the individual in question had left the line at checkout to go grab bread, and the Costco employee rang up the people in line behind him.

When the member returned, he became infuriated after being told he had to get back in line.

"He got right in my face telling me he could lay me out right then," the Costco employee wrote. "I remember telling him that if he hit me I'd get some paid time off from this place, so go for it. Management kicked him out because he was causing a huge scene. Members clapped when he left. I felt like a hero."

In her Refinery29 piece, DeMaria also noted she was once slapped by a member during "an argument about the membership she was using."

Complaining about store policies

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Like most workers, Costco warehouse employees do not have the power to change company policy on a whim.

But that won't stop some Costco members from bugging them about it, according to DeMaria.

Getting employees into trouble with management

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An anonymous Quora user who said they previously worked at Costco wrote that, in some instances, members go out of their way to get workers in trouble.

"Members can be rude and mean to employees and then complain the employee did not do enough to help them or lie and say the employee was rude or disrespectful," the anonymous user wrote. "The member's word will always be believed 100% of the time and the employee will get in trouble."

Former Costco employee and Quora user Alex Barrett wrote that Costco gigs came with "the same annoying ills of any customer service job," including "having the most vile, disgusting creature of a customer vomit rudeness all over you and then say it's your fault, and you either have to smile and take it or watch as your manager gives them a free pizza as an apology for the horrible experience they self-generated."

Asking overly personal questions

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DeMaria wrote about how some customers would ask employees rude questions about their salaries and education levels.

"Questions like these fed the idea that working in retail or in a big-box store is somehow not a 'real' job - and they're a great way to kill morale," DeMaria said.

What's more, "it's certainly none of your business," she wrote in Refinery29.

Making outrageous returns is rarely a good look

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And, according to employees, plenty of people are happy to abuse it.

Used underwear, an entire flatbed cart full of food, a urine-soaked mattress, 13-year-old fish, and a weekly shipment of rotten avocados are a few of the more egregious returns that customers have actually gotten away with.

Flirting with employees

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"There was one man who I saw tell a cashier she was 'a looker' - she was clearly uncomfortable, but powerless in the situation," DeMaria wrote in Refinery29.

Hassling the employees about food court options

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"There's one guy that keeps asking for whipped cream on the coffee drink, and I keep telling him we don't have that," a Reddit user who said they worked in the Costco food court wrote on Reddit in 2014. "He calls me by name when I'm in the back making pizzas even, saying I told him there was whipped cream to my boss. It's annoying."

Running down cart attendants in the parking lot

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Watch where you're going in the Costco parking lot.

"We have to wear reflective vests, and I swear those things are just a bright orange flag telling everyone, 'Hey I work here so you can say or do anything to me and I won't do anything about it,'" a Reddit user who said they'd worked at Costco for seven years wrote in a 2013 Reddit AMA.

"I've been almost hit by so many cars it's ridiculous," they wrote. "Afterwards more than half the time I get yelled at because I didn't get out of the way."

A Reddit poster who said they worked at Costco in 2016 also attested to careless driving on the part of certain members, saying, "I've been hit by a car twice in the lot."

Do you have a story to tell about working in retail? Email acain@businessinsider.com.

Related Video: This Costco Shopping Tip Is a Game Changer (Provided by Southern Living)

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