Is working at Costco really all it’s cracked
up to be? The only way to find out is from employees
themselves, and luckily, they’re not afraid to talk about their experiences. Here’s a look at what it’s really like to
work at Costco, straight from the people who know best. Working at Costco might seem like a simple
job, but employees tell a different story: apparently, it can be as exhausting as an
intense gym session. Rachael, a Costco employee in Colorado, told
Mental Floss that employees are the ones who do all the heavy-lifting. According to her: “When you see pallets stacked with 50-pound
bags of flour or sugar or dog food or cat litter, a lot of that stuff had to be stacked
by hand by employees before the store opens. Ditto for those giant stacks of shoes and
bottles of salsa or five-gallon jugs of cooking oil. It’s a lot of hard work.” Costco is a membership-based store, meaning
you have to pay an annual fee in order to get a card that allows you to shop there and
enjoy all of those discounted prices. Every customer is expected to show their membership
card to an employee before they walk through the doors. “Welcome to Costco. I love you.” However, that doesn’t mean customers are always
happy about doing it. One Costco employee explained on Reddit that
one of the hardest jobs there is working the entrance simply because of the people they
encounter. The employee said that customers tend to make
things harder for the card checkers by not showing their card, blocking the entrance
when taking out their card, or forgetting their card and trying to get in anyway. Another user explained that one of the most
common issues that comes up is people trying to shop there even if they aren’t members. Sorry folks, but that’s not how it works! Costco is known for having a terrific workplace
environment, but it’s not just the pay that makes it awesome. Employees enjoy lots of great benefits, and
plenty of perks on the job as well. One of the best has to be the fact that they’re
able to shop after hours. Kathleen, a Costco employee in Washington,
told Mental Floss: “You can shop after hours, and a lot of employees
do that. You just bring your cart to the front register.” Costco stores actually keep their member service
counter open after the store closes for exactly that reason. Oh, and you can’t forget about the fact that
employees have access to all of the wonderful free samples that make weekend Costco shopping
that much better — and you better believe they take advantage of them. One Reddit user who claimed to have worked
there for over seven years said they ate a lot of samples, and added a helpful tip to
non-employees: “The demo people are there every day but Saturday
and Sunday are the prime times to get free grub.” Another Reddit user who had worked at Costco
for over two years jokingly said that workers there called the samples the “Employee Buffet.” Every Costco has the same policy for customers
who are leaving the store: after you pay and as you are walking out, an employee checks
over your receipt and looks at the items in your cart. But have you ever wondered how they do it
so quickly? Apparently, they aren’t reading the entire
receipt. Thomas, an employee in California, told Mental
Floss: “We’re looking for items on the bottom of
the cart, big items like TVs or alcohol.” One Reddit user talked about it on a thread,
saying that employees count the number of things in your cart and see if it’s the same
number as on the receipts. They also said that they check for expensive
items: “Lots of people I knew just checked for the
expensive things and didn’t bother with anything else.” Another user said that they also look for
doubles, saying: “Most of what we find is actually errors with
scanning. Had someone accidentally key in the number
for a $1000 item instead of a bag of avocados once.” Costco employees are generally pretty happy,
but one very common complaint is that their technology seems to be very outdated across
the board. One employee said on Reddit: “Whoever is in charge of technological advancement
and taking the digital systems that run our entire company into the future needs to take
a step back and reevaluate what we’re doing.” Another employee complained about not being
able to look at their schedules or submit time off online and not having a tablet to
use to check inventory, adding: “Why do our computers and registers look like
they came from the ’80s? Why is everything done by paper and pencil? I get that this kind of stuff is expensive
to upkeep, and by not doing tech upgrades we keep our prices low, but it’s time to join
the rest of the world.” “Password entered.” It’s pretty common knowledge that, in most
stores, there’s more inventory in the back — all you have to do is ask an employee
to check for you. Well, at Costco, what you see is what they
have. One Costco employee told Reader’s Digest: “Costco is a ‘warehouse’ store in a literal
sense — we don’t have any additional storage from what you see on the shelves. If it’s not there, don’t ask us to check the
‘back.’ The ‘back’ doesn’t exist.” One employee said something similar on Reddit,
adding that if you notice the item is up on the pallets on the higher shelves, you can
try asking someone to get them down, but they may not. The employee said: “I’ve been told they don’t take down pallets
from the shelves because it would require driving the forklifts through all the customer
foot traffic, roping off the aisle and the one opposite for safety and would generally
cause too much hassle. If something is up high and there’s none on
the floor, just go back the next day for it.” “I didn’t really know we carried these.” “These? You guys got everything in here.” “Well, we sure do, is it working out for you?” If you’ve ever worried about how your food
is being handled at Costco, let this reassure you: employees say food safety is a really
big deal to them. Employee Rachael told Mental Floss: “If an employee forgets to remove their apron
before exiting the department, they must remove that apron, toss it into the hamper, and put
on a fresh apron because now it’s contaminated.” She also said that there are rules against
employees wearing nail polish near food prep, as it could chip and fall into the food. A Costco employee from Florida echoed the
same sentiment. They told Business Insider: “We are very strict on food quality and safety. We have safety walks every hour that audit
the temperatures of our food coolers and storage. Our famous rotisserie chickens are not allowed
to be sold after two hours of sitting in the warmer.” “I will buy you a Costco rotisserie chicken. … Sold!” Yes, the rumors are true: Working at Costco
really does mean terrific benefits, and employees can’t stop raving about them. Meghan, a former Costco employee, told Yahoo
News that there were more than great hourly wage and healthcare benefits. Meghan said: “While I was at Costco, they gave employees
complimentary memberships to the store.” One employee told Business Insider that they
got paid holidays, a generous 401(k) plan, and affordable healthcare that includes dental
and vision insurance. An employee with over seven years of experience
told Reddit users that employees get a free executive membership. Another random perk? One employee says they’re given a very special
gift for the start of the holiday season: “We get free turkeys for Thanksgiving. I didn’t even know that before I started working
there. It’s a nice perk.” We have to agree with that! Costco is known for their fantastic flexible
return policy, which comes with very few restrictions. But be wary of taking advantage of it… employees
say they’ll start to notice if you’re returning too many items. California employee Thomas told Mental Floss
they can tell just by the way you talk: “When someone comes in to return something
without a receipt and they go, ‘Oh, you can look it up on my account.’ that’s a tell. It tells me you return so much stuff that
you know what we can find on the computer.” Another employee with over two years of experience
there explained on Reddit that while they don’t flag people, they “can make comments
on your membership.” The employee said: “If a return was over $100 we had to call
a supervisor to sign off on it. If it was over $300 we had to call a manager. The supes and managers were so busy though
and got so tired of this rule that they literally only came down to sign the receipt. They would ask us ‘Do you think it’s okay?’
and if we said we were okay with it then they would sign it.” Most of the time, a trip to Costco means you’re
ready to stock up on enough food and supplies to last a few weeks. But sometimes, you go to just grab a few things
— and those times, you’ve probably thought it would be nice to have an express line to
go to. There’s a legit reason most stores don’t have
them, though. Costco employee Rachael told Mental Floss
that the supervisor in charge gets a head count of customers, so they always know how
many people are in the store and have an idea of when they’ll be checking out. They can then determine how many registers
should be open. They also don’t hesitate to pull employees
from other departments to help out with lines. There are plenty of great things about working
at Costco, but make no mistake, it isn’t a walk in the park — employees work hard for
those benefits. Aside from the physical labor, many employees
say they find the job to be pretty stressful. An anonymous employee wrote on Quora, “Costco is an incredibly stressful place to
work and you are required as full time to work for 40 hours a week, generally during
the most inconvenient times and often on weekends and evenings, giving you very little time
away from work.” Another employee echoed that sentiment: “If you do night cleanup or morning stocking
you will be under very tight deadlines to get your work done on time and you will often
face situations where you are screwed no matter what you do. It can be very stressful and takes a certain
mental fortitude. I could only do it for six years before I
burned out and had to move on.” Even if the job is stressful, most employees
say the job is still well worth it. One employee from Arizona told Business Insider: “I legitimately love my job.” An employee who worked for the company for
over two years told Reddit: “The company really does strive to treat their
employees fairly… It’s actually nearly impossible for them to
fire you if you’ve been there for a few years.” However according to one employee on Reddit,
the best thing about working there is simple: “The fact that everything is done properly. There is a real emphasis on doing things the
right way rather than the fastest or cheapest. It’s a real testament to the quality of this
company.” Or to put it another way: “It’s fun, everybody knows everybody, they
talk about values, and they have good snacks.” “Sounds like a place we both know and love.” Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Mashed videos about your favorite
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