A Woman Accidentally Returned Her Life Savings with a Costco Freezer

published Sep 25, 2018
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Costco has been the site of many terrible returns. The bulk warehouse’s famously generous return policy has led many people to take things too far and return old mattresses, dirty kitty litter, and even empty bottles of alcohol. But one Colorado woman is extremely upset over what might be the most unfortunate Costco return ever, after she lost upwards of $35,000 in cash after she put her money in the freezer for safekeeping, and then accidentally returned the freezer to the store.

According to Vice Munchies, Renee Reese of Thornton, Colorado, had been storing her life savings in her freezer, because she thought the freezer would keep it safe if there were ever a fire. Reese said she could not get to a bank easily to make deposits because she has severe Multiple Sclerosis, so she thought her house was the safest and most convenient place to keep her money.

Recently, though, she decided to get a new refrigerator/freezer from Costco, because the newer model had wide French doors that could be left open when moving large items in or out of it, which made life with her mobility issues a lot easier. The doors on that refrigerator were slightly defective, though, so she called Costco for a replacement. Costco is famously very good about accepting returns, and agreed to have the refrigerator picked up from her home and replaced with a new one.

But Reese said the delivery people who came to get the old fridge did not give her enough time to prepare, so she wound up frantically emptying the shelves at the last minute, and she forgot about the Ziploc bag full of cash she’d left in the freezer. (Reese said the money was wrapped in paper towels in the bag, so it blended in with the white freezer shelves.)

“I thought my daughter had grabbed it, she thought I had grabbed it, then when I went to look for it to put it back, it wasn’t there,” Reese said.

Of course she filed a police report and notified Costco right away. Costco managed to track down Reese’s old freezer, but did not find any money in it. Denver7 said it managed to get in touch with the delivery company that handled the return, but they said they hadn’t seen any of her money either.

Reese still has not gotten her money back, and she blames Costco for not conducting better background checks on its subcontractors.

It’s a terrible loss, but it’s really not Costco’s fault. And it’s easier than one might think to forget where one has stashed a huge amount of money. In January a couple accidentally donated a false-bottom soup can containing their life savings to a soup kitchen, and in 2014 three college students made headlines when they returned $40,000 they found in their thrift store sofa.

So, here’s the moral of the story: It turns out the refrigerator is really not a very safe place to hide money. And anyway, most new freezers have too many plastic parts to be 100-percent safe against the high temperatures of a house fire.