Why Costco Checks Your Receipt When Exiting (From a Receipt Checker)

Updated June 20, 2024 by Kyle James
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I’ve talked to many anti-Costco shoppers over the years who cite the receipt checking at the exit doors as one of the reasons they DO NOT like shopping at the warehouse club. Many say it makes them feel like a criminal shoplifter. But did you know that the checking of receipts has nothing to do with loss prevention? I have a friend who works at Costco and has done many shifts at the exit doors checking receipt, and I recently had the chance to ask her exactly what Costco trains their employees to do when a customer hands their receipt over. Here’s what I found out.

Why Costco Checks Your Receipt When Exiting (From a Receipt Checker)

1. They’re Looking for Double Charges

My friend told me the #1 reason they eyeball your receipt is to look for double charges.

With a quick scan of the price column, they can see if any prices match up exactly and then investigate if you were charged twice.

She said this happens most often “when shoppers buy 3 or more of an item” as the cashier can get in hurry and easily scan an item one too many times.

So it has nothing to do with Costco thinking you’re a potential shoplifter, they actually check your receipt to make sure you aren’t overcharged.

2. They Make Sure You Got Everything You Paid For

There are some expensive items at Costco that employees have to go and retrieve for you when your checking out OR you have to go to customer service to get.

Items that jump to mind include Apple products, jewelry, gift cards, and some electronics.

With this said, sometimes these items DON’T end up in your cart as the cashier forgets to retrieve them or you forget to “fetch” them.

Enter the receipt checker at the exit doors.

They’re trained to make sure these items end up in your cart so you avoid a HUGE headache down the road when you get home and realize you didn’t leave with the product.

See Also: Costco Employees Tell Me the Best Day of the Week to Shop

3. They Only Count Items If You Have Less Than 15

Costco receipt shows number of items

In an effort to not hold up the exit line, my friend also told me that they’re instructed to only count the items in your cart if it’s less than 15.

This seems to be a suggestion, more than a rule, as the last time I was at Costco I had 14 items in my cart and the receipt checker definitely didn’t count them.

I’m guessing if the items are large they’re more likely to count everything as it’s easier and they’re not having to dig through your cart to find all the things on the receipt.

My friend told me that she tends to count stuff only if it’s less than 15 items.

If it’s more than that, she’ll pick 2-3 items on top, 1-2 items on the bottom, and verify that they’re in the cart.

She also said she’ll look for the most expensive item on the receipt and makes sure the correct number is in the cart.

4. “Bottom of Basket” Screw Ups Are a Thing

Amazingly, I had this “Bottom of Basket” screw up happen to me the last time I was at Costco and the picture of my receipt above is my evidence.

I was buying Kirkland dog food, had the 40 pound bag on the bottom of my cart, and the cashier accidentally scanned my bag twice.

I probably would have noticed later, but fortunately the receipt checker noticed it and saved me a trip back to Costco, or possibly saved me $34.49 if I had never noticed the double charge.

My friend told me that the receipt actually says at the bottom “Total BOB Item Count” so they can quickly check the bottom of your cart to verify the correct number of items.

She said this happens more often than you think, especially on crowded weekends when cashiers are super busy and sometimes scan things a little too quickly or miss things altogether.

See Also: Ever Wonder if Costco Delivers? Here’s How the Whole Thing Works

5. Costco REALLY Wants a Line Drawn Through Your Receipt

Black line thru receipt

I was also told that Costco wants a line drawn through your receipt to keep scammers from scamming.

My friend told me that it would be fairly easy to come back into Costco and fill up your cart with the same exact items and try to walk out with the same receipt, especially on a busy Saturday afternoon.

The line drawn through the receipt keeps scammers from trying to pull it off.

See Also: Want to Work at Costco? Here Are ALL the Perks and Benefits

Bonus Tip: Can I Bypass the Receipt Checker?


When you sign-up for your Costco membership you’re agreeing to let Costco check your receipt when exiting.

 Yes, somewhere in the boiler plate it stipulates that you have to let Costco check your receipt.

There actually was a case where a shopper tried to sneak through the exit doors, but ended up getting in an altercation with the receipt checker.

He pushed the receipt checker up against a wall, and during the melee that followed, ended up breaking his leg. Carma, anyone?

Ask the Reader: Has a Costco receipt checker ever found anything on your receipt that didn’t add up? Let me know in the comments.

By Kyle James


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