Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Costco Makes Me Feel Like A War Criminal

I went to Costco today, and as usual stood in line. Twice. Once to checkout - why do they never have enough registers open? - and again to get out the stupid door. Someone has to check my receipt and make sure I haven't stolen anything, or forgotten something, or whatever, so I wait in like with all the other sheep.

Why do they do this? Do they have a huge problem with theft of 24 packs of toilet paper or something?

The only other place I know of that has a similar policy (in our area, at least) is Fry's Electronics. I hate shopping at Fry's for various reasons, and I will go out of my way to avoid it if at all possible, but once in a while I wind up in there, and every stinking time I regret it. And that last little slap - "show us your receipt and merchandise" on the way out the door - just rubs it in.

Can someone please tell these companies that their "stop 'em again at the door" policies are pointless, stupid and irritating? I haven't got the contacts, but someone out there does.


  1. In theory, you can refuse the Fry's check at the door. You are not legally obliged to show them anything unless they have some sort of evidence, and even then they would have to have the police on the way as well, or else it's akin to kidnapping.

    It's a different matter at Costco. Somewhere in the fine print of your membership contract is a clause that gives them permission to verify your purchases at the door.

    One big difference between Costco and Fry's is that Costco is technically a type of co-op, and is actually "private" to its "members". Fry's is a business open to the general public, and the public has more rights there. However, many of us are pretty sheep-like. Sigh.

  2. An interesting distinction, but not one I usually ponder on my way out the door at either establishment. What I think about is how irritating it is to be considered a wrong doer just for shopping at these places.

    The entire retail purchase landscape - in the US, at least - has shifted towards huge chain stores and big box retailers, leaving consumers with fewer choices, particularly if they want to save a few pennies. Thus, I find I have to go to Costco and (occasionally) Fry's though I'd rather not. But that's for another post one of these days.

  3. One of the verifications the Costco door monitor does is make sure you got ALL of what you paid for. Once of them caught that I had paid for two of something and that there was only one in my cart going out the door. I am now happy for them to check.

  4. Well, Sue, I've heard stories like this on a couple of occasions, but I simply cannot believe that the reason Costco is checking my receipt is that they want to make sure I got everything I bought.

    In truth, they're checking it to make sure I didn't steal something, and that's a sad commentary on the world.

    Yes, every so often they may figure out that someone didn't get something they bought, or catch some other honest mistake, but to my mind it's a bit like listening to everyone's private phone calls or reading everyone's personal mail because you're trying to find a bank robber. It's way too intrusive, and there just has to be a better way to accomplish the same goal.

    Oh well, as I say, CostCo and Fry's are never going to listen to me.


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