Mar 26, 2023

Why Do Costco Employees Check Receipts? Mystery Explained.

You are probably used to showing the receipt to an employee when you leave your local Costco store. Why does Costco check receipts? This experience is so much different from other grocery stories. Let’s reveal the secret.

Despite the initial suspicion that the receipt check is all about catching thieves, the real reason Costco employees check receipts is quite different. There are two official and one non-official reasons why this is happening at Costco stores in Canada. By the way, this practice is used at all Costco stores in the world. 

Let’s start with the two official explanations that Costco provides.

Inventory control

Costco wants to ensure that customers are charged the right price for the product they bought. Costco employees know prices for a large variety of products from their store. So they do random checks by scanning each receipt visually to make sure the products from the cart have the right prices. The employee will usually pick 2-3 largest products in your cart, find them in the receipt, and check the price.

Customer protection

Costco knows that customer complaints and returns are costly. This is why they want to reduce errors before clients leave the store. In addition to the inventory control, the employees who check receipts also do quick scans for possible errors. Such errors may include double charges for the same product, for example. 

Costco employees confess that they capture hundreds of dollars charged to customers in errors. Once they find an error, they direct the customer to the customer service desk or call a supervisor.

Trust signal

The non-official reason, which you will not find on the Costco Canada site, is psychological. Costco requires its members to show their member card at the entry, which is a signal of belonging: Costco is only for members. At the exit they check our receipts as a sign of engagement. 

In other words, these two actions - showing the member card and the receipts - are the virtual “hello” and “goodbye ”. These actions build trust and send us signals that this store is serious about allowing only its members and preventing any errors or mischief.

Checking purchase receipts is actually a good practice that does not only help reduce errors, but also sends positive protective signals to the visitors. This is what makes Costco so exclusive and different from the other grocery stores.

The importance of receipt checking

A Costco employee in Canada shared a story about an attempted theft during a receipt check. A shopper tried to leave with a box full of clothes without a receipt. When confronted, the shopper claimed his wife had the receipt and was waiting in the car. However, when the employee insisted on seeing the receipt, the shopper abandoned the clothes and left the store. Here is an example of why the final receipt check for both customers and employees.

Other stores follow suit

Costco isn't the only warehouse store that practices receipt checking. In the US, Sam's Club and BJ's also engage in this practice to ensure customers are charged correctly for their buys. Sam's Club goes a step further by scanning three items in customers' carts to ensure accurate scanning at checkout.

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