Why You Probably Shouldn’t Buy Your Milk from Costco

It could save you from unnecessary frustration later.

Let’s get one thing straight: Costco is a fantastic establishment. It’s a one-stop-shop for everything on your list—and everything you didn’t know should be on your list, like vacation packages and gym memberships. But there’s one product you may want to keep out of your Costco cart: milk. As you’re making your list, check out these 6 other things you should never buy at Costco.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with Costco’s milk. It comes at a fair price, and it pairs with cookies just as well as milk sold at other stores. The problem is with the packaging. It seems that in 2008, most Costco locations around the country started selling their milk in square-shaped gallon plastic jugs, which were apparently incredibly difficult to pour without spilling. This concern made its way across the Internet, including on Reddit discussion boards, and customers around the country all shared the same frustration.

“Those square milk jugs are horrible,” Seattle-based blogger Rachel Teodoro told MONEY. “I’m a grown woman who has a college degree and I cannot pour the milk without spilling it.”

Sleuths on Reddit recently figured out that the original square design had been updated to be easier to pour, but many still found the containers prone to spilling. There may be questions about milk, but you definitely should be buying clothes from Costco.

The controversial containers do have some benefits, however: according to the New York Times, square milk jugs are much easier to pack and ship, reducing shipping costs and saving on fuel emissions and water usage in keeping the crates clean. This means the milk can get from the cow to the consumer much faster and is therefore fresher. If you appreciate the environmental and taste benefits, but can’t get to grips with the design, representatives suggest a new technique: don’t lift, just tilt, and pour slowly to prevent spillage.

The packaging does seem to vary slightly by region, so your local Costco may still sell traditional milk jugs. If you see those square milk jugs, you may want to consider going to another grocery store that sells traditional jugs that aren’t quite as spill-prone. Costco milk prices are comparable to other national grocery stores, anyway.

Of course, for every product you avoid getting at Costco, there are even more that you should definitely keep an eye out for. Check out the 15 things you aren’t buying at Costco—but should be.


  • The New York Times: “Solution, or Mess? A Milk Jug for a Green Earth”
  • Reddit: “How to pour Costco Milk without spilling?”
  • MONEY (Time.com): “Things Never to Buy at Costco”
  • Reddit: “Dear unappreciated product engineer that redesigned the costco milk jugs.”