Some Costcos Will Not Accept Returns on High-Demand Items Like Rice and Toilet Paper

updated Mar 19, 2020
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Credit: Trong Nguyen

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, it’s slim pickings out there for high-demand items like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, rice, paper towels, and more. People are rushing to stock up on these super important items for self-quarantine and the potential for a shelter-in-place, and it’s causing a huge shortage where people can no longer get basic supplies they need. So, in order to prevent stockpiling, some Costco stores are now refusing returns on a few things in an effort to help the public. 

There are now signs popping up around Costco stores saying returns are not being accepted on toilet paper, paper towels, rice, water, sanitizing wipes, and Lysol. The signs were spotted by Instagram user @costcoinsider, where they posted a photo of the sign with a caption reading, “So happy Costco is making this move! What are your thoughts on it? 👍👎?”

While we do not know if this is a store-specific policy at Costco, or a corporate decision, we know that Costco hopes that these new rules will ease panic and lead to fewer bulk purchases. That way, people who really need these products right now have a chance to buy them, and people who have bought unnecessary purchases won’t leave home to return them later on and potentially expose the virus to others through contact. 

“This is such great news! I’m tired of all those people that buy toilet paper and think they can just return it later when they don’t need it,” one person replied in the Instagram post. I, for one, totally agree — I have ZERO toilet paper and cannot find it anywhere. (Kleenex, napkins, and paper towels are great in a pinch).

We all need to work together as a team in light of this global pandemic and be there to support one another, and Costco, as well as other major retailers, is finding ways to make sure everyone has better sense of security during this crucial time. Between reduced store hours, capacity limits, and restrictions on quantity of certain items, grocery stores are taking action to help as best as they can.