25 Secrets Costco Employees Won’t Tell You
Learn how to spot clearance items, get fresh pizza when you want it, and more.
We move items on purpose
Our stores constantly move their stock around, so you won’t necessarily find the peanut butter in the same spot it was last time. The company touts it as a “treasure hunt,” but it also knows the more time you spend scanning the shelves, the more likely you are to notice (and buy) other items. Check out these tips for saving money at Costco.
We’ll keep an item in one spot if it sells
As we move items around, we pay attention to how they’re selling. If they do particularly well in one spot, we’ll keep them there. These are things we sell that you can’t buy anywhere else.
We appreciate when you order ahead
We normally have enough party platters in stock, but we appreciate the heads-up the day before if you know you’ll be loading up so we can prepare. We don’t mind making extra, but we hate telling customers we’re sold out because one person wiped out our stock. These are the things you should never buy at Costco.
Pretty much everything goes on sale
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Wondering if you should stock up or wait? Most items will go on sale eventually, so it’s worth holding off if you can be patient.
You can hunt us down
Got a meat question but don’t see a deli employee on the floor? Just knock on the door to the department, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have. These are the items you haven’t been buying from Costco—but should be.
Don’t sweat missing a sale
While Costco doesn’t price match with other retailers, it will honor its own sale prices on earlier returns. If you notice a costco.com item you bought had a price cut within 30 days of purchase, put in a request online to get the difference refunded. Some warehouses offer the same perk for in-store purchases, so stop by the membership counter to see if we can help.
Our rotisserie chickens are as good a deal as you hoped
We aren’t downsizing our birds or adding weird fillers to keep our famous $4.99 rotisserie chickens at their low price. In fact, our chickens can weigh twice as much as our competitors’. We do add seasonings like sugar, salt, and modified corn starch (like many other store-bought rotisserie chickens), but there are no preservatives, MSG, or artificial colors and flavors. Learn more secrets behind Costco’s $4.99 rotisserie chicken.
And listen for the bell
If you hear a bell ringing at the Costco deli, it means a new batch of freshly cooked rotisserie chicken has been put out. Costco rotisserie chickens are a great value and sell out quickly. If you miss out, simply wait for a little while for the next bell. Or you can opt for a true DIY solution: raising your own chickens!
Our price tags warn you if we aren’t restocking
An asterisk in the upper right corner of a price tag signals our location isn’t reordering the item. It might come back at a later time, like if it’s seasonal, but stock up now if it’s one of your favorites. Learn more about what asterisks on Costco price tags mean.
What you see is what we’ve got
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. Every now and then, the items will be out of reach on the high pallets, but most stores won’t bring the forklift out for just for one item. Come back tomorrow; it will probably be restocked.