Costco Employees Reveal What It’s Really Like to Work at the Big Box Store

Costco shoppers everywhere descend on the warehouse club to snag insane deals on household staples, and it makes sense considering the store offers plenty of budget-friendly foods that you should always have in your kitchen. But with all those members arriving in droves, what is it really like to work at a Costco? Well, the employees have spoken. Follow along to find out what it’s really like to work at the big box store. 

1. Most of the employees are really happy working for Costco

Costco samples
Most are pretty happy with the company. | Tim Boyle/Getty Images

It’s not uncommon for members to look down on Costco employees, wondering if all they will ever do is work for the wholesale corporation. What so many people do not realize is that the bulk of Costco employees are pleased with their decision to work at the store. One former employee, Meghan Demaria, explained that while a lot of people assume the company’s employees are just killing their time while they “look for something better,” many of the company’s employees have actively chosen to build their careers with Costco.
Next: A little physical activity goes a long way. 

2. There is a lot of physical activity involved

Costco Opens First Store In Manhattan
There is a lot of walking involved. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Apparently sitting is the new smoking, and Costco employees don’t have to worry much about it. One thing is certain when it comes to being a Costco employee and it is that physical activity will be expected. Between the heavy lifting and marching from one end of the store to the next, Demaria lost 10 pounds (all while enjoying her weekly $1.50 hot dog from the food court). A sedentary job it is not, and with that comes a slew of other health benefits.
Next: You can climb the ladder.

3. Advancing up the ranks

Costco Store
It’s easy to pack a cart full at Costco. | Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Costco offers plenty of room for advancement to its employees. The managers you see working at stores today were probably cashiers before. In fact, Brian Woolf of the Retail Strategy Center estimates that roughly 76% of Costco warehouse managers were previously hourly employees.
Next: The pay is good.

4. A living wage

They treat their employees right | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

A lot of hourly employees at other companies can be found complaining about their wage. As prices rise along with the cost of living, it can be hard to find hourly work that covers the bills. Luckily, Costco knows that happy employees make a better business. The average wage for a cashier’s assistant is about $13. Couple that with room for advancement, and Costco offers some good opportunities.
Next: Bad customers, didn’t your mom teach you better? 

5. Customers are constantly leaving perishables all over the store

Shopper pushes cart through Costco
Customers constantly leave things out until they spoil. | Chris Hondros/Getty Images

A person’s level of laziness is put to the test in a store as large as Costco. Unfortunately, the employees are left to pick up the slack of these lazy shoppers — one of their biggest qualms. According to one Costco employee, “The worst thing that pisses me off is people that leave perishables sitting in the aisles.” Many of these perishable items end up in the trash because they’ve spoiled before an employee finds them.
Next: This isn’t Taxicab Confessions, people. 

6. Employees are asked to explain themselves to customers all the time

Costco Cashier ringing up order
Customers feel free to get personal with employees. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

The life goals of a Costco employee (along with any other human being) does not solicit the approval rating of a Costco member (or any other person). That alone should explain the surprise Demaria felt on her first day of work at the wholesale superstore. The customer asked about what her “long-term plans were, other than working at Costco,” to which she questioned why he needed to know in the first place.
Next: Were Costco members raised in a barn? 

7. Customers are extremely messy

Costco Employee cleaning
Many people have no respect for their surroundings. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Besides littering perishable merchandise all over the store, employees complained that Costco members are impressively messy. Sure, we all enjoy a good sample, but apparently throwing away the trash is simply too much to ask. A 25-year Costco employee expressed to Business Insider that “We have garbage bins at every sample station, along with at the end of a few aisles. Then there are garbage bins outside around the store. Yet sample cups end up sitting in the cart with leftover pieces, juice, and sauce in them. Very messy.”
Next: Sometimes, members turn into monsters.

8. Members turn into monsters

shopping at costco
Customers fight over the silliest things. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Anyone who has ever stepped foot inside a retail store has witnessed the rage that can come from a disgruntled customer, and Costco is no different. One employee barely dodged a physical altercation with a member who was unhappy that another customer was allowed to check out in front of his abandoned cart. He divulged on Reddit that the member:

Got right in my face telling me he could lay me out right then. I remember telling him that if he hit me I’d get some paid time off from this place, so go for it. Management kicked him out because he was causing a huge scene. Members clapped when he left. I felt like a hero.

Next: Pay for your membership or leave. 

9. Sneaky non-members try to regularly wiggle their way in

a costco loyalty card
You can’t shop without a membership — it’s policy. | Tim Boyle/Getty Images

For some reason, shoppers looking to sneak a good deal feel entitled to sidestep Costco’s membership policy. After all, they are purchasing the products so why do they need to purchase the membership? Well, the membership is what allows the company to provide all those great deals. Nevertheless, employees are left to regularly explain the store’s policy.
One employee told Reddit that their regular response is, “I do apologize, but it is Costco’s policy. It is a membership-based warehouse, and if you are not a member then you cannot shop here.” Just pay the $60 for the membership already.
Next: All in all, it’s worth it. 

10. The compensation and benefits are worth the headache

Costco employee scanning items
It’s the best spot for benefits and compensation, according to Indeed. | Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Despite the headaches that come with navigating customer service, Costco compensates their employees well. It is at the number one spot on Indeed’s top-rated companies for compensation and benefits. In fact, the company offers full benefits, including a 401(k), to both full-time and part-time employees.

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Additional reporting by John Wolfe