The Legitimate Reasons Why Some Shoppers Hate Costco

Updated March 21, 2024 by Kyle James

Most folks love to shop at Costco as it offers some great ways to save money if you know what you’re doing. But as with any store, some shoppers don’t like certain aspects of shopping in the warehouse. So when I stumbled upon a MarketWatch article talking about the reasons some folks hate shopping at Costco, it piqued my curiosity. So I went out and talked to a bunch of shoppers at Costco and Walmart and surprisingly found many reasons why some shoppers dislike Costco.

The Legitimate Reasons Why Some Shoppers Hate Costco

Made to Feel Like a Thief When Exiting

Many shoppers hate having to show their receipt when leaving Costco as it makes them feel like a “potential thief”.

But, after talking to a couple Costco employees, they actually do this to protect you in case you get double charged for something.

With that said, I’ve been shopping at Costco for over 20 years and have NEVER been double charged, or seen someone else get double charged.

Interestingly, my mom recently got double charged for a lamp and didn’t notice until she got home and looked at her receipt.

The employee at the door COMPLETELY missed the extra charge.

If you’re curious, here’s why Costco checks receipts at the door, surprisingly it has nothing to do with loss prevention.

Distracting Clothing in Center of Store

Some shoppers find the large inventory of clothing right in the middle of the store distracting.

In particular, from the comments, Mammy described it like this, “Large distracting inventory of clothing in the middle section with a remarkable LACK of options in Large, and XL sizes. Forget even hoping for Large-Tall ain’t worth the bother.”

I tend to agree here, but mainly because the clothing is of such poor quality.

The brands are good and include Eddie Bauer, Champion, Banana Republic, and Carhartt. But they are specifically made for Costco and are clearly 2nd rate in order to bring the price down.

I recently bought a pair of Banana Republic pants and they shrunk badly and look terrible after just a couple washes.

In contrast, I have a couple pair of Banana Republic pants that I bought from their actual store and they’ve lasted for years and still look great. Buyer beware.

You Have to Pay to Shop at Costco

Some shoppers refuse to ever shop at Costco as long as they’re charging an annual membership fee to do so.

From Justin in the comments, “I can’t stand paying money to do business with a place”.

Mammy also chimed in with “I hate paying $79 a year for the “privilege” of shopping at their club.”

I often wonder why Costco continues to charge a membership fee. Surely their bottom-line would increase if they dropped the fee, wouldn’t it?

Do you think they do it to keep a “prestige” feel to their brand or some other reason? 

It’s Hard to Locate Items

If you don’t shop at Costco often it can be REALLY hard to find stuff.

I often wander around for 10 minutes looking for 1 item as they don’t mark or label their aisles.

Plus, the location of some items makes ZERO sense. For example, why they don’t put their Sonicare toothbrushes near their toothpaste and toothbrushes is a MYSTERY to me.

People ALWAYS Blocking the Aisles

This one peeves a lot of Costco shoppers that I spoke with.

Their frustrations typically came down to the aisles that have free samples in them, and the weekend crowd that tends to congregate around said samples.

Ja, in the comments, described these folks as “the cheap ass people that block you from shopping for some half-assed finger food”.

I tend to agree as I’m a Costco shopper who sticks to a list and shops with “blinders” on.

I want to get in-and-out as FAST as possible and have little patience for the sample stations.

This is why I try shop early in the morning, in the middle of the week, when the samples are not setup yet.

Costco Counts On You Overspending

Some shoppers that I spoke with are keenly aware that Costco counts on you to overspend, and tries hard to manipulate you to do just that.

One lady that I spoke with told me she “hates being manipulated by Costco corporate who stocks all the boring stuff at the back of the store and makes you walk past all the high markup stuff to get to it.”

In particular, she mentioned the dog food, milk, eggs, toilet paper, and rotisserie chicken are all WAY in the back of the store. Stuff that she buys every time she walks into Costco.

But to get to that stuff, Costco makes her walk past expensive electronics, BBQs, blenders, and jewelry. All stuff she ONLY buys once every 5 years.

She cleverly called it “consumer manipulation at its best”.

See Also: 6 Pricing Tricks Retailers Use To Take Your Money

Oh…the Lines

Apparently the slow checkout process at Costco irks many shoppers.

I actually think this one has gotten better in recent years as many smart Costco shoppers avoid the weekend if at all possible.

Unless of course, they shop late in the afternoon on a Sunday during the NFL season when the warehouse is practically empty.

Or do like I do and ONLY shop at Costco on a Tuesday. According to employees, it’s by far the best day of the week to shop.

Only One Credit Card Option

Yeah, I kinda get this one.

For a long time Costco had an exclusive deal with American Express.

But back in 2016, they switched over to Visa which made some shoppers happy, especially those who use their Visa card to collect airline miles.

You can use the following forms of payment at Costco: Cash, personal check, debit/ATM cards, Costco cash cards, EBT, and any Visa credit card.

See Also: The Best Costco Deals That’ll Easily Pay For Your Membership

Very Little Shopping Advice

Some shoppers that hate the warehouse dislike the lack of employees on the floor who can help them decide which bottle of wine to buy or which HDTV has the most bang for your buck.

The good news is you can use your smartphone to find reviews on Amazon.

Check out CNET or just do a generic Google search for the product name followed by the word “review” and you’re bound to find some useful info to help you with your buying decision.

Once It’s Gone, It’s Gone

If I had to pick the one thing about Costco that I dislike the most, this would probably be it.

Not because I missed out on the sold-out Sam Adams Summer Brew, but because it creates a false sense of urgency in shoppers.

Don’t buy something because it “may” be gone soon, or the price ends with .97, but rather because you have an actual need for the item.

Otherwise you’ll end up with 4 huge bottles of Jose Cuervo Grapefruit/Tangerine Margaritas that’ll you never drink.

My wife fell in love with this Cuervo drink a few summers ago and we stocked up BIG-TIME. Then she decided it gave her a sour stomach and now they sit lonely in our pantry.

No Shopping Bags

I’m cool with this one, especially since the boxes they use make it much easier for carrying heavy items.

At my house, shopping bags just up in the recycle bin anyways.

Can’t Use Manufacturer Coupons

If you’re a big coupon clipper, I can see how you might dislike Costco.

This is especially true as you can often undercut the Costco price if you’re diligent with coupons when it comes to paper goods, cereal, snacks, and drinks.

Ask the Reader:  Would any of these reasons be enough to keep you from paying $60 for a Costco membership?

By Kyle James


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Ja N

I for one have always hated Costco. The biggest reason is you have to pay for all of that aggravation in the form of a membership. Unless you are buying some big ticket items (which you can just borrow a friend’s card) are you really saving money? The long lines, no 10 items or less line, one payment option, so crowded you can never find a parking spot – and forget about even going there on the weekends, the long lines at the gas pumps, no bags for your items only boxes, and the cheap ass people that block you from shopping for some half-assed finger food.

Bill E Goat

I have no other Costco to compare ours to, but the one in Coralville has fast checkout lanes. They almost always have two people per lane and the wait time isn’t that long , even on the weekends. Think they’re slow? Just try Walmart on a weekend… We also have indoor parking as the entire building is a converted giant warehouse

Alec Heesacker

They Double The Prices Of The Merchandise That You Buy From Their Stores, Which Did Not Look Right! The Hillsboro Location Complaint.
They Had Doubled $11 To $22 For Just One Box Of Twix! I Am Crying, Because Of This Price!

The Patriot

Costco The Lack of Customer Serice


i cant stand paying money to do business with a place. i cant stand the sales push at the register to buy the presidential package or getting frisked on the way out to make sure you didnt steal from the place you paid money to shop at, the place needs stop lights in the aisles, anyone that stops to actually look at what is being purchased can be ran over at anytime. the liquor is simply vodka, bourbon, etc, no variety– i laugh at the people waiting in line for gas to save .03 a gallon.

oh and i cant go there and get everything i need in one place like a real grocery store.


1. They don’t accept manufacturers coupons or rebates.
2. They don’t offer ‘loss leader’ items like other grocery chains do.
3. Their prices aren’t that great anymore.
4. Memberships are pricey.
5. Rotisserie chickens are undercooked and tasteless. Polish hotdogs were discontinued.
6. Limited product selection of every day items, as an example…no Iceberg lettuce or melons.
7. Receipt checks before you can exit the store.
8. Constantly rearranging the store making it harder to locate items.
9. Isles aren’t marked with any descriptions .
10. No curbside service or deliveries.

Bonus tip: make a list of what you need and STICK TO IT. Costco derives 90% of their profits from ‘impulse buyers’.


Top Ten Reasons I Hate Costco

10. Paying $79 a year for the “privilege” of shopping at their “club.”
9. Cramped parking lot to enter.
8. Being carded for my member i.d. upon entering their store, as though it’s some kind of exclusive experience.
7. Lack of labels on aisles. Yea yea, I get it “because inventory always changing,” but STILL could at least label in generic terms such as “tomato sauce/spices/pasta” “Pet foods” etc.
6. Walking round and round up and down trying to find the ONE item I came for.
5. KETO selections not clearly labeled. (See #6 & #7 above.) When I ask if specific item(s) are in inventory, associates play “pass the buck” until the unlucky supervisor checks the system to relay the info that the requested item is not at THIS particular Costco, but can be found at ANOTHER particular Costco, 40 miles away. (As though I’ve got the time/wherewithal to drive 40 miles x2 for a bagof cereal.)
4. Large distracting inventory of clothing in the middle section with a remarkable LACK of options in Large, and XL sizes. Forget even hoping for Large-Tall ain’t worth the bother.
3. Long lines thru the checkout, hurried and harried clerks.
2. Similarly, long line to exit the building, being “carded” for my receipt and my cart checked, as though I’m a potential thief and may have stolen something from their glorious “warehouse.”
1. Cramped parking lot to exit and ridiculously long lines at the gas station to save myself –IDK– maybe $2, tops? Never buy the gas b/c the lines are too long and I just want to get the hell out of there by that time.

Note to Costco: Time is money. MY time is valuable. It’s a waste of my time and my money to navigate thru your customer-hostile system. And p.s./ the “savings” ain’t really so.