The Most Outrageous Costco Returns, According to Employees

updated Apr 30, 2019
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As any devotee of Costco knows, the superstore has a lax return policy. You can cancel your membership anytime, even if you decide (like one woman who recently shared her story with Kitchn) to purchase it and cancel it in the same day. And if you want to bring back any item that you aren’t satisfied with — including diamonds and televisions — Costco promises to fully refund the purchase.

According to a recent report from Business Insider, most people don’t take advantage of the return policy, and return fraud is easy to catch. Still, the company is considering cracking down on the lenient return rules by potentially revoking a customer’s membership if they abuse their return privileges.

Despite a stricter policy, there are some customers who will try to get away with anything. So Business Insider talked to Costco employees about the most outrageous items customers have brought back.

It might sound absurd, but according to Business Insider’s sources, customers will often bring back half-eaten food, claiming it tasted bad or that it was bought on impulse. Someone even returned picked-clean bones (not human!), complaining that the “meat was no good” but that “they had to feed their family something.” All that wasted food goes straight in the trash, but the returns are always honored.

Last year, a similar thread popped up on Reddit, in which Costco employees vented about all the strange things customers have successfully returned, much of which had obviously been used for years: a seven-year-old dog bed, a cat litter box (with litter still inside), and a decades-old garden hose dotted with holes, rendering it unusable.

Redditors on the thread also revealed that once a customer returned a cart full of eggs, all of which had to be thrown in the garbage, and a package of gummy bears which had melted into one huge, monstrous gummy bear during a particularly hot summer.

To be fair, Costco is filled with impulse buys (like this giant wine glass, an outdoor steam sauna, or an $18,000 outdoor play set) that you think you might want in the moment, but by the time you get home, doesn’t seem quite as appealing. But when it comes to returning half-eaten food? People should probably stop doing that. Forcing a Costco employee to throw out your half-eaten lunch is just gross.