What Would You Change About Costco? Store Devotees Reveal Frustrations



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Costco Lunch
Costco Lunch by Bev Sykes (CC BY)

Airing of Grievances

For some reason — maybe it's the $5 rotisserie chickens or the $1.50 hot dog combo — Costco inspires regular shoppers to become superfans. There is great devotion to the house of Kirkland, leading to items like puzzles of a Costco store and a pretty boring Kirkland brand sweatshirt selling out regularly. And though devotees love most things about the warehouse chain, there is room for improvement, according to Reddit users on r/Costco. Someone asked what one thing they would change about Costco, and community members' responses are pretty universal. Do you agree with these popular complaints, or would you toss another suggestion on the pile?

(Not already a Costco member? Apply here.)

Self Checkout
Self Checkout by thekirbster (CC BY)

Better Self Checkouts

For a store that sells mostly bulk items, the self checkouts are woefully inadequate, according to many commenters. The biggest oversight is the lack of a cordless handheld scanners, which would allow you to leave all those big heavy items in your cart while you scanned them. Much to the chagrin of Costco fans, Sam's Club has had handheld scanners at its self-service checkouts for years now.

RelatedI Shopped at Costco for the First Time and This Is What I Learned

food court
Jando S./Yelp

More Food Court Options

Many customers are nostalgic for the pre-pandemic food court, which had a lot more options. The combo pizza, which is Costco's version of supreme, has yet to return after getting axed a couple of years ago. Interestingly, one hot button item is a freebie: the onion dispensers. Apparently, some devotees don't like the famous hot dog without onions and think the metal screw-type dispenser should return. More soda fountain options — which are dismal — and even selling cookies made in the store's bakery were also mentioned.

Young woman feeling stressed while looking bank account online

Updated Website

The most popular response to the thread is about updating the store's website. Commenters complained about it being slow, outdated, ugly, and hard to navigate. It's also impossible to check what's in stock or prices on items at your local store, something that Sam's Club has been doing well for many years. It's hard to believe that a company the size of Costco has such a dismal internet presence.

Modern man in city using mobile phone

Updated App

Similarly, the Costco smartphone app lags far behind its competition. Some commenters call it completely useless, save for one thing: checking the current price of gas at Costco's gas station. Many lament the Sam's Club app, which has an incredibly handy feature where you scan the items in your cart and pay right in the app. Get your technology act together, Costco.

Costco Solicitor
Costco Solicitor by julie corsi (CC BY)

Wandering Solicitors

One of the least surprising annoyances shared by many is the gauntlet of solicitors trying to sell you something as you walk down the main aisle near the electronics. They're often reps from companies selling gutters, cable TV service, solar panels, and even knife sets, and customers hate that they pay for a club membership only to be solicited to anyway.

Costco Muffins
Lacey Muszynski / Cheapism

Mix and Match Bakery Items

Everyone loves those giant mouthwatering muffins in the bakery, but like everything else, you have to buy a lot at a time. Some customers would be happier if they could mix and match the bakery items that require you to buy two packages, including muffins, bagels, and danishes. Same goes for the packages of sliced bread.

Costco Gasoline Pump

Bigger Gas Station

In some places, Costco's gas is far cheaper than other stations, leading to long waits and huge lines that snarl parking lot traffic. The hassle prompted many commenters to suggest offering larger gas stations with more pumps, or at least better traffic flow, marked with signage or attendants, to keep road-rage incidents at bay.

Costco produce section
Artranq / istockphoto

Higher Quality Produce

Produce that goes bad too quickly is a common frustration among Costco shoppers. One commenter even said they don't bother going to the produce section in the store anymore because everything goes moldy within a couple days.

Costco cafe pizza

Take and Bake Pizza

Another casualty of the pandemic was the fresh take-and-bake pizza, which were sold in the deli area and at the food court. Customers can still get a whole, freshly baked pizza hot from the food court, but they can no longer choose to buy it uncooked and bake it at home.

Costco by ABRAS Associação Brasileira de Supermercados (CC BY)

Better Signage

Costco doesn't have any signs on its massive aisles to indicate what products are where, something that many shoppers find frustrating, especially when they're new or visiting a different location than usual. But the reason Costco doesn't have signs like a grocery store is probably related to another common frustration: Products are moved around all the time. That makes any kind of permanent signage impractical.