Trader Joe’s is in a league of its own when it comes to grocery store convenience and pricing (the parking is a different story), but it turns out there’s one more reason to love it. Its return policy, which has to be one of the best of any American store, is incredibly generous.
But Trader Joe's isn't the only standout chain in this category. Costco has always come to mind when talking about great return policies. Without always needing a receipt — and the ability to cancel your Costco membership at any time for a full refund — the warehouse superstore makes life easy on us. So which store has a better return policy, Trader Joe’s or Costco? Let’s take a look at the details.
learned today Trader Joes will refund you any product you didn't enjoy..AWESOME! #TraderJoes— Dandi (@Iamdandi) February 25, 2014
The Costco Return Policy
Costco’s policy is generous, but there are quite a few exceptions to what you can return. Most electronics can’t be returned after 90 days, and any returns on diamonds must have all the original paperwork. Cigarettes and alcohol are never returnable. You can make returns online if that’s where you bought your items; otherwise, you’ll need to return in-person purchases at any local Costco warehouse. Still, members are allowed to cancel their membership for a full refund at any time, and while Costco notes that it "helps if you have the receipt or original product packaging," it's not entirely necessary for processing a return.
The Trader Joe's Return Policy
At Trader Joe's, you can return just about any item, as there are virtually no limitations. No 48-hour nonsense here. Bring a receipt, crumple it up into a tiny little ball, forget it entirely — they don’t care. Your hummus can be half-eaten, your bottle of wine can be half-drunk (because you can return alcohol, too), and your flowers just might not have looked good on your mantle. TJ’s will refund you, no questions asked. Though this wasn’t really happening during the height of Covid, things are now back to normal and you can get refunded to your heart’s content.
Bottom line? With the option to return pretty much anything purchased in store, including alcohol, without a receipt or time constraint, the Trader Joe’s return policy is unquestionably better than Costco’s.
Feeling embarrassed about returning something to TJ? I get it. I recently found a crack in the box of one of my pre-made salads and threw it away rather than going to face them. The problem is, this isn’t helpful at all, because employees and managers want to know when something is wrong. And, on top of it, you’re wasting money.
Redditors love to talk about their Trader Joe’s returns, mentioning everything from dried mangoes to pineapple juice.
"I tried the salmon jerky and hated it, brought in what I didn't eat, and the guy offered to refund me or 'grab any jerky and bring it up, I'll pay you the difference if its cheaper,'" one Redditor wrote.
"I’ve also returned wine," another Redditor shared. "I didn’t even pour it out; recorked it, walked in, handed it back, got a different wine, and was good to go!"
There are also people, like me, who feel far too ashamed to head back in there and face somebody for their $4. Our loss.
Related: What Do Walmart, Costco, and Other Big Retailers Do With What You Return?