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Are you feeling disenchanted with Costco lately? Turns out you're not the only one. 

Chatter on Reddit's r/Costco forum has taken a turn for the unhappy in recent months, even among the warehouse store's most loyal customers — and long-term employees. As someone who keeps a close eye on that subreddit for the latest rumors, bakery hits, and trends, I've noticed that there's a lot more angry and annoyed customers than usual, and a new thread confirms that many Costco members think the chain has lost its luster.

"Anybody else feel like Costco is 'off' lately?" begins u/SnarkyMcGuire. "I’m an 8-year executive member and have consistently loved Costco until recently ... The inventory is lackluster. Numerous new foods I’ve tried were not very good. Produce and fruit is terrible ... I don’t know … have I simply reached the stage where the magic’s over, or has anybody else noticed this trend?"

With over 1,700 responses and counting, it's safe to say that many other Costco members have noticed a decline as well, in everything from product warranty changes to employee interactions. 

The ridiculously outdated Costco website, which gives customers no way to check what's actually in store, has been an issue for years and people are finally getting fed up with it. "It's getting harder and harder for me to excuse the fact that they don't even have an online inventory system," said u/CactusBoyScout. "I'm tired of not knowing if my local store will even have something."

Lots of Redditors also lament the quality of Costco's groceries. "The frozen foods use to be so good I could buy anything that looked tasty and it would be top quality now every new item is Walmart tier and I regret spending money on it," said one commenter. "The premade meals are tasteless the bakery is only holding on because the seasonal items. The produce is rotting on the shelves."

It's not just groceries that have people annoyed, it's Costco's food court items as well. For instance, the latest new offering, a roast beef sandwich, costs a whopping $10 — the same as an entire takeout pizza. "When they brought back the $10 sliced beef sandwich instead of bringing back the combo pizza it's pretty clear the executives are more interested in profits rather than member satisfaction," said u/twilight_tripper.

Costco employees' customer service skills have also come under fire recently, in part because of annoying policies that accompany the membership sharing crackdown. "The can-do, helpful culture at the stores I shop has definitely shifted for the worse over the last year," said u/coloradojt. "I’ve been a member since the late 80’s and it has never been like this."

Working retail is a very hard job, but Costco has had a reputation for helpful and pleasant employees. Lots of Redditors who claim to be current or former Costco employees chimed in the thread to explain why that might not be the case anymore, and most blame a change in CEO for a shift in company culture. 

"20 year employee here, companies been sinking like the Titanic since Jim stepped down and Craig took over," said u/Call555JackChop, referring to when Costco cofounder and CEO Jim Sinegal stepped down in 2012 and current CEO W. Craig Jelinek took the position. Sinegal later retired from the board of directors in 2018.

Some purported employees blame management changes at store level, as well. "As a newly former employee of ten years, I can say that our location brought in nearly all new upper management and the entire store seemed like it was run by an entirely new company," said u/lacks_a_soul. "The family atmosphere went away with the former teams and the new people were encouraged to not [care] about anyone."

It sounds like there's a lot of factors stressing Costco employees that are out of their control, and that makes for unhappy people — and rightly so. Couple that with all the other issues annoying customers like moldy bagels, self-checkout complaints, and frustrating tire center experiences, and that's a recipe for pissing off customers and maybe even tanking a retail business. "Costco used to be my get away happy place," said one Redditor succinctly. "That magic is over."

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