Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Costco: What are You Looking For?

OK, I'll be the first to admit, I'm not the sharpest pencil in the lead pile. But I cannot for the life of me figure out just what in the world the Costco receipt-checker lady is looking for.

As you may or may not know, when you shop at Costco as you leave they have an employee who takes your receipt, inspects your cart, scribbles on the receipt with a highlighting marker, and then lets you leave.

The first time I experienced this a few years ago I thought, "What a fun idea! They're cutting down on theft by making sure you paid for everything you have in your cart."

But then I realized this may or may not be the case. They don't really look all that hard. Lately all they seem to do is glance in the cart and scribble on the receipt. Are they really being that effective? They look at my cart, not even looking in the boxes to see if I have a multi-pack of Granola Bars smuggled in somewhere underneath my pile of 2-pound bags of frozen blueberries.

Yesterday my wife and I went shopping and I bought a hard drive for our computer. I wanted to use my personal account to pay for it and not our joint account so I paid separately and, as a result, got a separate receipt. I decided to do a test and pocketed my receipt for the hard drive and just gave the lady the receipt for the other items in our cart full of bulky goodness. The hard drive was, by far, the most expensive thing in the cart so if she was looking to make sure it was on the receipt, I would be busted.

But nothing. She looked at the receipt, looked at the cart for a second or two, and then smiled and let us pass.

What's going on here? I used to think they were counting how many items were on the receipt to see if I had that same number in my cart. But there was no counting going on. No double-checking. None of it. If they're not there to do any real work, then why not fire them and pass the savings on to me?

What are they looking for?

Something is afoot, I just don't know what it is. I told Sarah what I was doing and after we left I turned to her and said, "I should have put an extra hard drive in the cart." She just smiled at me because she knew I was going to go home and blog about it.

If someone who works at Costco reads this, please comment and fill me in. I know the official position of Costco is they are making sure they haven't overcharged us for anything but I'm not buying that. Call me skeptical, but I find it hard to believe these 90-year-old people they have guarding the exit have the price of every item in the store memorized.

Help me, Costco. The suspense is killing me.


Brad said...

I have always wanted to have the job as a "theft tester" or whatever they're called...I think it'd be so much fun to get paid to steal stuff from stores and test their security measures...

Denice said...

At the risk of sounding like an old fogey, I have to say the notion of customer service, common courtesy or even uncommon civility seems to have gone the way of Five and Ten cent stores. The average American seems to want to do less for more pay and that includes not even caring enough to fulfill their duties at a minimum wage job. Why don't they just do what they're paid to do and do that cheerfully? Do they think it makes them feel better NOT doing their job well?
What ever happened to the notions of honor and virtue? We're "proud" to be Americans, but we wallow in sloth, gluttony and greed. What the heck is going on, Ed? Huh? Tell me!! Besides being aware of the trouble and striving to do better, how can we become a part of the solution?! Tell me, Ed! Tell me! =D

anonymous costco representative said...

dear concerned customer,
we at costco appreciate your business. the truth is, the only reason we hire these past senior senior citizens to do our fake cart inspecting is so that we can take out an insurance policy on them as we are sure that they will soon die and we will collect the benefits. They dont need to do their job well, they are about to die...thanks for the concern.

Ashlea said...

Today I went to Costco and the woman counted every item in my two carts and then checked to see if that was the same as the number of things purchased on my receipt. So either A. You got a lazy Costco worker or B. I look like a thief.