You know you’ve asked yourself this question, so don’t even try to pretend that it hasn’t crossed your mind.
You’ve been in Costco for five hours, you spent $700, and now an employee checks your receipt at the door on the way out. But why? Like most people, I always assumed it was to prevent theft of big money items like TVs and other electronics. But I’m wrong. And I think you’ll be surprised at the answer.
The real reason for this practice is to prevent potential cashier errors, not to see if you’re smuggling out a DVD player in your cart. A former Costco employee said that in their 12 years of working for the company, receipt checkers found exactly ZERO instances of theft by customers, but discovered several cashier errors every day.
The employee said that shoplifters usually get caught before they even get to the door: “Sometimes they’ll try to hide some DVDs under the big toilet paper package, as the cashier is supposed to clear the cart at the register, this strategy of theft fails before getting to the door.”
Another former employee said on Reddit,
“Trust me, we’re not loss prevention, we have loss prevention in the store and that’s not us. We’re literally just trying to make sure our cashiers do the job right, and when we DO catch it, all the information gets stored. Who did it, what time, etc…and those cashiers get spoken to. This is not to benefit anyone but the member to improve the experience overall.”
Yet another employee weighed in as well: “We weren’t trained to catch shoplifting, we were trained to make sure that people were not being overcharged. During the time I spent receipt checking I probably caught well over $1000 in overcharges.”
So next time you’re at Costco (or a similar store), thank the receipt checker for helping to save your hard earned cash!