Here's a scenario: You're on your couch relaxing, watching the 6 o'clock news after a long, busy day. Then you hear local anchors alerting viewers to a thing every shopper dreads: a product recall. In this instance, a recent shipment of a popular extra-cheddar snack food contains an extra-bad ingredient. (It's salmonella.) Anyone who bought a bag is advised to use caution and return the item to the store as soon as possible.
That is, unless you can't exactly return the absolute last cheesy handful of that very faulty snack that you just gobbled down in your home.
Like root canals and cleaning your gutters, product recalls don't happen too often to individual people, but they occur often enough to still be a big ol' drag. It doesn't matter if you're a customer, manufacturer, or the vendor, a recall affects you, your time, and, if you made or sold the item, your wallet. Dealing with a surprise return or wasted coin isn't great either, but it's better than a cheese snack-related ER visit. So, can this scenario be avoided?
Well, Costco can help.
Costco Wants to Help You Get Recall Information Sooner
When any product needs to be recalled in the States, a vendor reports the issue to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. In addition to investigating the vendor and product, FSIS is responsible for letting everyone who bought the product know the deal, which they do by listing the items on their website, sending emails to their subscriber list, and issuing a press release to media outlets and publications and the stores that sold the product ... and, well, not you.
Unless the store you bought your $2 snack from has taken a special interest in you, no one's really going to tell you about what's swimming in your cheesy crackers — they'll just list a notice in store. But one place will tell you, and that's Costco.
"If you're a Costco member, you may already know about their recall alert system," says Kiersten Hickman of Taste of Home. Well, I'm not and, before now, I didn't. But my brother Eddy is, and he may be. His family buys most food (and everything else) at Costco — we're at his home all the time. Where is the sign-up for Costco's recall alert system?
"It's simple: Be a member at Costco! The store will use your contact information to inform you about recalls applicable to your purchases." (Hear that, bro? Make sure your contact email is up-to-date — and also, thanks for following the link to this post that I definitely will be texting to you.)
Costco's system is like the USDA's, but with one special incentive: If a Costco member bought a recalled item, then Costco will notify you directly, and thus more grill owners remain unscathed by hot oil, thanks to a warning from the bulk item store, a pack of Furry Friends for the little one is now away from them, and those buyers of tainted gasoline purchased from one single location in Newport News, Virginia, drive another day without engine trouble.
Speed is a key component to the safest recall notices, but as fifty folks in Arizona can tell you, the process wasn't quick enough to keep their love of burgers and prime rib from biting back. Costco effectively is eliminating time to keep consumers as safe as possible, which in turn saves you from spending time healing from something you didn't know about.
Thanks, Costco. Looks like someone's got a big heart to go with all those big boxes.