10 Mistakes to Avoid When Shopping at Costco

6 min read
Costco Store

Here are 10 mistakes to avoid when shopping at Costco during the coronavirus pandemic.

10. Bringing Guests With You

Friends Shopping
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Once upon a time, bringing guests with you while you shopped at Costco was no big deal. But, now with the COVID-19 pandemic upon us, many stores (Costco included) are limiting the amount of people allowed inside at one time. Doing so helps maintain social distancing, which helps slow the spread of the coronavirus. That being said, if you’re planning on shopping at Costco during the pandemic, you should either shop alone or bring as few people as possible with you.

9. Shopping at the Wrong Time

Shopping At Costco
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Rhododendrites / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

According to BUSINESS INSIDER, a Costco worker in Texas says that you should try to get there when the store opens. “For the best chance to get the high-demand item you really need, you’ll want to be one of the first people through the door at opening,” the employee told BUSINESS INSIDER. “Right now that means be lined up about 30-60 minutes before opening.” Unfortunately, you won’t be able to get in right when the store opens Monday through Friday if you’re not a Costco member age 60 and over. According to the warehouse’s website, those are the only members allowed to shop there Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. during the pandemic (for their protection, since they are among the most high-risk individuals). Thankfully, you can wait until the weekend to shop in the early morning hours, which may be best for you anyway if you’re employed.

But, there’s also another good time to shop, and that is in the evening. An Illinois store employee told BUSINESS INSIDER that there isn’t much traffic in Costco in the evenings. And, if you’re worried about the store not being stocked, don’t be. “We get deliveries throughout the day so [the] store is stocked,” this employee said.

8. Not Planning Ahead

Plan Ahead
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One of the best ways to make your shopping trip move as quickly as possible is to plan ahead. You can do this either by making a shopping list ahead of time to help you avoid having to make multiple trips to the store if you happen to forget something, or you can plan ahead by calling the store in advance to inquire about the availability of high-demand products like hand sanitizer and toilet paper. That way you won’t waste time and gas money making unnecessary trips to the store.

7. Not Wearing a Face Mask

Face Mask
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Costco requires all members to wear face masks while shopping at its warehouses to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. In fact, Costco President and CEO Craig Jelinek had this to say on the warehouse’s website:

“To help protect our employees and members, effective May 4, 2020, all Costco members and guests must wear a face covering that covers the mouth and nose, at all times while at Costco. This requirement does not apply to children under the age of 2 or to individuals who are unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition. Costco employees are required to wear face coverings, and now we are asking that Costco members do so too. We know some members may find this inconvenient or objectionable, but under the circumstances we believe the added safety is worth any inconvenience. This is not simply a matter of personal choice; a face covering protects not just the wearer, but others too. In short, we believe this is the right thing to do under the current circumstances.”

6. Buying the Wrong Things in Bulk

Bulk Shopping
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Myrabella

If you’re thinking of stocking up on meats the next time you head out to Costco, just know that the warehouse is limiting the amount of meat customers can purchase. That’s because there is currently a meat shortage due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, consider buying long-lasting food products like protein bars. Not only do they have a long shelf life, they’re also quite nutritious. Here’s another tip: buy vacuum-tight bags to preserve your perishable goods. Lastly, if you’re single, have a small family or don’t have much storage space, buying in bulk doesn’t make much sense, moneywise. In fact, you’d likely just end up wasting money.

5. Expecting a Full Food Court Menu

Costco Food Court
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Costco began re-opening its food courts on April 30. That’s great news for those of us who are fans of the store’s delicious eats. But, don’t get too excited just yet. The menu is limited and will continue to be as long as we’re in this pandemic. Thankfully, Costco has ensured us that we can still get their tasty foot-long hot dogs and frozen yogurt.

FYI, Costco has brought back their food samples too! It won’t be exactly the same as before (we won’t be allowed to pick them up with our fingers), but at least they’re back.

4. Looking for Half-Sheet Cakes

Sheet Cake
Source: Wikimedia Commons By christa connelly / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

Costco announced in a video on Facebook back in May that the company would be discontinuing their half-sheet cakes, with no immediate plans to bring them back. “To help limit personal contact and create more space for social distancing, Costco has reduced service in some departments,” the company wrote in a statement, according to The New York Times. “At this time, we are not making sheet cakes for special order.” For now, we’re going to focus on our round, 10-inch cakes, which “seem to be resonating with our members,” the statement also said.

3. Waiting in Line to Refill a Prescription

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If you came to Costco just to refill a prescription, there’s no need to wait in line. In fact, “you should be able to skip the line and go straight to the pharmacy,” Eat This, Not That! editors said on the book’s website. At least that’s what worked for them in New York anyway. It may work for you too, depending on where you live. If you’re not sure, just ask an employee if you can skip the line. You could also ask the employee if they can walk with you to the pharmacy just in case.

2. Placing Your Membership Card in the Grocery-Belt Divider

Membership Cards
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Once upon a time, Costco members were instructed by Costco employees to turn the grocery-belt divider upside down and put their membership card there in front of their order. But, all of that has now changed, thanks to the spread of the coronavirus. So, instead of being asked to put your card in the grocery-belt divider, you will now be instructed to hold your card in your hand while the cashier scans it. And, with fewer people touching the grocery-belt divider, this will help stop the spread of COVID-19.

1. Waiting for Employees to Load and Unload Your Cart

Shopping Cart
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Sander van der Wel from Netherlands / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

At one time, Costco had front-end cashier’s assistants that would load and unload your cart at the register. But, that is no longer the case since the coronavirus began to spread. So, to maintain social distancing and help slow the spread of COVID-19, Costco decided to limit the amount of people at each register. Besides, if you’re capable of loading and unloading your cart, do it. The fewer people you have around you handling your items, the lesser your chances of contracting coronavirus.


So, there you have it. These are just a few simple things to avoid to make your next Costco trip more enjoyable. Thanks for reading!