Costco Employees Share the Most Ridiculous Things People Have Tried to Return

published Jun 12, 2018
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: a katz)

One of the best things about Costco is its extraordinarily generous return policy. Costco will take just about anything back, for whatever reason. That’s really nice for people who might want to try something they don’t like, or who would otherwise not take a risk on a very large or expensive item. But some people out there are really stretching the limit of what is an acceptable thing to take back to the store.

Costco’s return policy is extremely generous. Not only will they cancel and refund your membership fee at any time, Costco also says they “guarantee your satisfaction on every product we sell, and will refund your purchase price” with a few exceptions. Electronics, for example, can be returned within 90 days. And if you want to return a diamond over 1 carat, a gemologist will inspect the diamond for authenticity to make sure the diamond hasn’t been swapped for a cubic zirconia or something, because you just know somebody would try to pull that scam.

But aside from a few reasonable exceptions, Costco will take just about anything back. That has led to some customer shenanigans over the years. Recently, over on the Costco forum on Reddit, a poster going by pinkieb18 asked, “What is the most ridiculous thing you’ve seen returned at Costco?”

The original poster was inspired to start the thread after seeing a couple return some dead plants, but dead plants barely scratch the surface of bonkers Costco returns. Here are some of the highlights from the Costco return desk.

1. A Christmas tree — in January

One of the most egregious examples was this past January, when a woman tried to return a whole, dead Christmas tree to Costco and asked for a refund because it had died. It’s a Christmas tree. They do that! If you make it past December 25, you just have to haul your tree to the curb like everybody else. The man in line at the Costco returns counter behind the lady with the tree took a photo of her, and she wound up in the news. She did get the refund, though.

That woman was not alone, either. At least two other Costco employees said they saw post-holiday tree returns. One said a tree was returned after Christmas on the grounds that it “had termites,” despite having purchased the tree at least a month earlier. Another said they saw a tree returned during the summer, and it had been purchased two years earlier.

2. A full flatbed cart of eggs

“A full flatbed cart of eggs,” a user going by baahbaahsheep wrote. “It made us so angry, since we knew they’d all have to be thrown away.”

I feel like there had to be an interesting story behind that return. How does a person buy that many eggs by mistake? Is Gaston from Beauty and the Beast involved?

3. A 7-year-old dog bed

“Used dog bed (from 2011). Covered in hair, filthy, stinky, just gross. Obviously used without issue for 7 freaking years,” wrote a user going by somuchlavender.

4. Anything with a VHS component

“Heard someone returned a blender with a VHS instruction video from 2005 a couple days ago,” a user going by Rubyred88 wrote.

If something is old enough that you couldn’t use it without hunting down a VHS player on eBay, it’s too old to return.

5. A used cat litter box

“Cat litter box. Still full of cat litter. It stank up receiving for weeks afterwards,” wrote a poster called sarynkitamo. “Also a 10 year old garden hose ‘because it had cracks in it’.”

6. A giant lump of former gummy bears

“My mom always bought those huge bags of gummy bears. She left an unopened one in her car, for who knows how long, during the summer and it melted into a giant gummy log, no sign of bears anymore,” wrote a poster going by CoolMilo. “She took it back and they let her return it.”

That sounds like something my mother would do, too! But in this case returning the gummy lump sounds like a shame, because those Costco gummy bear bags can weigh six pounds, and there are a lot of funny things a person could do with a six-pound block of molten gummy bears.

What’s the strangest Costco return you’ve ever heard of?