Does Costco have the right to check your receipt?

There was an interesting story this past week about a guy being illegally detained by Costco employees.  He felt he didn’t need to show the receipt checker his receipt when walking out and tried to walk out right past them.  At that point he was stopped by 3 employees, one being the store manager.  They grabbed his cart, refused to let him leave, and demanded to see his receipt, the contents of his cart, and inside his handbag.  This guy wasn’t trying to steal anything, he just believes strongly in protecting his fourth amendment right (guards against unreasonable searches and seizures).

Eventually the employees let the guy go, but the cops came when he was in the parking lot.  He had to listen to lots of lectures from the manager and cops, but I don’t think he ever had to show his receipt.  That is a lot of grief for not having someone quickly glance at your receipt and mark it with a sharpie.  According to U.S. law, Costco would have to see you commit a crime to detain you, but did you know that according to the Costco membership agreement there’s an unconditional consent to search?  If you didn’t consent to a search Costco would probably simply revoke your membership.  Definitely not worth it in my opinion!  What are your thoughts on this subject?

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  • greg hines

    Interesting, you say the policy has an unconditional consent to search? It states: “Costco reserves the right to inspect any container, backpack, briefcase, etc., upon entering or leaving the warehouse.” This statement is listing types of property (etc. infers any other type of property), NOT your person, nor does it mention detention. And, this states INSIDE the warehouse, not outside, as you state. Also, detention for a breach of contract (the COSTCO policy), not for a lack of probable cause, is considered false imprisonment in most states.

  • figman

    Today at Costco Culver City, Ca. I was hassled by store security who claimed they were checking to make sure I hadn’t stolen anything and that the receipt was for the items I had just purchased. If that was indeed true, then they would have to spend considerably more time actually correlating the purchased items back to the receipt. The cursory glance the security guard gave had no chance of ever accomplishing his stated goal. There was no way anyone but Superman could have even read the line items on the receipt from the distance he saw it from. When I told the guard that his once over couldn’t have accomplished anything useful, there was no response at all. Interestingly enough, the receipt checkers at the local Home Depot seem to know that what they’re doing is completely and utterly useless and and even agree with you when you remind them that you are now the legal owners of the products you just bought.

  • Kyle

    It is perfectly legal for Costco to ask to see my receipt, and it is perfectly legal for me to decline their request and keep walking. Costco cannot detain me or my property (yes, it is my property as soon as they get the approval on my Amex, even if it’s in their store) without probable cause that I’ve shoplifted. And probable cause means that they have video or a witness of me shoplifting. Declining their receipt request does not constitute probable cause.

    I have no problem with people volunteering their receipt, even if it slows me down a bit. But I choose not to be an unpaid part of Costco’s loss prevention department. I’ve been politely declining their receipt check for years, mostly without incident. On the odd occasion that I get questioned by the receipt checker, I acknowledge their policy, and inform them that my policy is that they may view my receipt for my receipt checking fee of $ 10. Cash only and payment upfront. They never take that option, so I guess the receipt isn’t all that important to them after all.

    • Euler

      lol!

    • PhilMcCraken

      You will be told to not return at my Costco, and they will enforce it.

  • Thethimman

    Yesterday as I was leaving Costco at approx 1100 in the morning I came to a line with about 10 parties waiting to be checked. Only one person was checking the reciepts. I stood there for a while and noticed that the person checking the first basket and was looking at a full basket with the look of bewilderment. (There was only one check and usually there are two) I waited for a while and then went through the door. She ran after me and grabbed my are scratching it.
    It did not say anything because it did not draw blood. I was parked in the first handicaped space and watched 2 security preople running all over the parking lot looking for me in their carts. (She was not security; just a checker. She was problably new.) The security guard finally found me as I was putting the items in my card. I pulled up in the rear of my car. I asked him what he wanted.
    He said it was Costco’s policy to check the reciecpts. I said I did not care what their policy. I then asked him if he saw me stealing anything. He said, well did yyou. I then said are you going to arrest. He then said, no. I said get away, and leave me alone, that I was leaving. Which he did.

    Normally I submit and show my receipt. As long as I do not have to wait long.
    I am a 65 year old white guy. I have never had anyone ever really check my cart aat any large store. They just at me and mark my reciept. I have watched, and they hardly check anyone over 50, no matter who they are. I’m suprised that someone has not gone after there for profiling.

    I did not know that I signed away my rights where I joined. I still will not change my habits. I went there today and bought gas and some items inside. I guess my membership is still good.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for the information. Glad I could clarify the rights in this case.

  • Wrt

    Leave and say no thanks to a receipt check. If they attempt to detain you threaten to call the police for being falsely imprisoned. If they touch you, physically defend yourself. Most of the time you will have no problem as it is illegal for them to detain you.

  • huey4745

    Are they checking to see if I got everything I paid for or that the price is correct?

    They are mostly checking on collusion between checkers and customers.

  • Snoozinjoe

    As part of your membership you agree UP FRONT to let them check receipts in order to deter shoplifting. If you are a member then you have agreed to this. If you don’t agree, don’t go there.

    • Kyle

      Again, I have no problem with people volunteering their receipt. But there’s no law that requires me to provide my receipt as a condition of leaving the store. A store’s policy does not impose new laws on me and my property, nor does it negate legal protections that protect me from non-consensual searches of me or my property. If you like the receipt policy, feel free to volunteer your receipt. If you don’t like the policy, a simple “no thanks” as you walk past the receipt checkers is adequate. Of course, they may follow you and get aggressive, but if you haven’t shoplifted, you have nothing to fear. Just keep walking.

    • excostco

      Costco lost my business Sam has never stop me

  • Dave

    You say not worth it. Maybe Costco should stop bugging the crap out of their customers and wasting time for everyone. What the co. Is doing Serves no purpose. Most of your customers hate that the most about your store. You would think if you can fix what most people hate the by stoppinqg this dum … Rule
    Thank you please do something

  • Tplonetree

    I can’t believe how RIDICULOUS some of you are–why must you look for ways to be offended??? Costco is able to keep costs low because they do many things very well, including keeping their losses low–
    Declining to show your receipt, calling the police, false imprisonment???? Really??? Get over it and get a life–if you don’t like their policy–DON’T SHOP THERE! Stop trying to create an equivalency between Costco’s receipt policy and your constitutional rights–find something to actually do with your life–ARGH!!!!!

  • jo

    hate this policy!! If you go to a busy Costco there is often a line to
    check out, as well as a line to get out the door. Since I bring my own
    shopping bags they don’t really check inside, so it is useless! It
    annoys the costumers so what is the point!!! If the policy says that
    they have a right to search, I believe all stores probably have a right
    but they only do it if there is just cause…not every single costumer.

    • Kyle

      you’re confusing Costco policy with US law. Costco has the right to ask to see a receipt. You have the legal right to decline their request and keep walking. They can’t detain you for declining their request (unless they have actual evidence of you shoplifting). If I decline their request, the worst thing is that I am non-compliant with Costco policy. Big Deal ! Costco is not law enforcement, and they can’t detain you. The receipt check is VOLUNTARY ! If you choose not to play security theater with them, you don’t have to. If you want to participate in their pointless exercise, you have that right as well.

      • Kyle, No company can trump US law. In fact if I have you sign a contract with a bunch of crazy points in it that are no legal, a judge does not have to enforce it just becouse I signed it. Not even you can take away your own rights.

        • Peter

          What about this SCOTUS decision regarding an unnamed telecommunication company, which can actually avoid to get sued by customers?

        • Troy Heagy

          If you feel that strongly about it, take it to a judge
          .
          Of course we both know he would just laugh you out of court, as you have no case against Costco
          .

    • lee vann

      MAY BE IF THEY ARE GOING TO STOP ME AND CHECK MY RECEIPT THEY SHOULD
      ACTUALLY CHECK IT NOT JUST PUT A MARK ON IT HOW LONG WOULD THAT TAKE TO
      CHECK EVERY THING IN THE CART A GUY WITH $1000 WORTH MIGHT HOLD UP THE
      LINE FOR 15 MIN OR MORE TIME IS MONEY AND I DONT HAVE THE TIME TO STAND
      THERE

  • YOU ARE GUILTY till proven innocent here @ COSCO 😀
    FORGET THE B/S it is not about protecting COSCO’s inventory
    It is about desensitization
    YOU ARE A CRIMINAL … if not after we invade your privacy and step all over your rights maybe…… maybeeeee you might be not currently guilty
    But dont count on it you probably are

  • Scott

    You played this right. You didn’t ask their permission to not show your receipt; you informed them that you would not be complying with their request. Sadly, most people are too afraid of minor confrontation (or just ignorant about their legal rights) to do this.

  • Do you know many stores suffer huge losses from shoplifting ? Most stores do not allow employees from stopping the thief even when they observe the thief.

  • StPauliGuy

    What a circus. I walked today passed this Colma California receipt checking guy. He followed me onto the parking lot, holding and blocking the cart with my stuff in it. If Just spend $360 in that store and they treat me like a criminal at the exit. Security and a manager came, stating that they can do what they want and it’s policy. They followed me to my car calling the police. I gave my membership card to the GM and told him to … with it. And took off feeling good.

    Costco lost today a good customer. I will shop now at places where they actually treat me like a customer and not like a shop lifter. I’ve spend to much money at Costco anyway, I never managed to leave Costco without spending at least $250. Costco is totally rediclas! I feel much better without my membership.

    • Logical me

      What a bunch of self important crybabies that can’t follow procedure. There are many reasons for the final receipt mark off. One thing is it quickly matches the cart contents to YOU the purchaser and be more sure someone else won’t be allowed to run off while you use the restroom or stop after leaving the cashier to do something and have some idiot run out the door with another person’s cart! It is also a quick double check for errors. Did you get your stamps, cash back? And to mark the receipt showing the merchandise has left the store.
      You agree when you pay membership, the manager can be called and you may turn in your membership if you don’t like the rules.
      IDIOTS, it is not about shoplifting, if you are shoplifting do you think it is going to be in the cart or on the receipt?? *stupid people!* OR how do you expect the people to know that anyone pushing a cart full out the door even went through checkout??
      The warehouse setting is much more loosely open than a regular store. The doorways need to be monitored.

      • lee vann

        MAY BE IF THEY ARE GOING TO STOP ME AND CHECK MY RECEIPT THEY SHOULD
        ACTUALLY CHECK IT NOT JUST PUT A MARK ON IT HOW LONG WOULD THAT TAKE TO
        CHECK EVERY THING IN THE CART A GUY WITH $1000 WORTH MIGHT HOLD UP THE
        LINE FOR 15 MIN OR MORE TIME IS MONEY AND I DONT HAVE THE TIME TO STAND
        THERE

        • Gerard

          When I worked the door I checked the date and the time on the receipt to make sure they are recent then for large or expensive items to make sure they had them with them as marked on the receipt then the mark through the receipt which deters someone from trying to go through with another cart on the same receipt and no you cant see all that is in some carts it is more of a deterrent for thieves and to make sure no one was over charged if possible. Yeh if you dont like it there then don’t shop there but if they are doing things to stop theft loose it will keep the $350 trips to Costco from becoming $400 or more with the prices having to be raised do to Products Loss.

        • sara simonds

          They count the items in the cart and compare them to the receipt. They question any discrepancies

          • Churchill4President

            No they do not always count all the items. If they did it would take hours to leave the store.

      • frankieitalan

        Lol. Seriously? It’s not about shoplifting? Lol. Yes… Many people leave their carts full of paid groceries to use the restroom. Lol. That’s why they stop you… To save you from thieves. You really are an idiot.

      • Dorothy Rothchild

        A little late to the conversation here but if someone refuses to show their receipt and/or membership card on the way out, how is Costco going to know who to take it away from?

      • 1antispin

        You could not be more wrong or miss the point more completely. If I was there when the Costco people followed him into the parking lot, obstructing my movement and searching my belongings without either probable cause or a warrant properly served, I would have waited for the police to arrive. Then required the arrest of the Costco employees for assault, improper search, and much more. Then file a civil case against Costco for requiring its employees to breach my civil and human rights of customers as a condition of association. We did fight a Civil War over this.

        That Costco requires customers to give up civil rights as a condition of association is the key point. It isn’t just that this is illegal and wrong. It is that Costco is forceful about breaching our human and civil rights.

        You agree that in exchange for further dialoging with me that you give up your 13th and 14 amendment rights to me. You agree to slavery. Do you get it now?

        • Troy Heagy

          HERE’S WHAT WOULD ACTUALLY HAPPEN: Policeman: “According to the witnesses from Costco, we have probable cause that the TV was stolen, so we are searching your car to get the TV, and later we will verify store receipts to see if it was purchased, or stolen.”
          .
          Judge (several week later): “I’m sorry but there is no case here. The police were acting on a report of stolen goods, so they had probable cause to search your car. Case dismissed.”
          .
          On appeal to the Supreme Court (if it ever got that far): “We concur with the original judgment. The police had articulable suspicion that a crime had occurred, and established clear probable cause for a search of the defendant and his car. No 4th amendment violation occurred.”
          .
          That’s how the REAL legal system works, not the imaginary world from your Alex Jones/infowars fantasy
          .

          • 1antispin

            Ridiculous. There is no probably cause, after the fact. Probable cause has to be that someone from Costco saw you hiding something un-bought on your person, or something like this, and also show the intent to get off Costco property without paying for it.

            Democrats and their now-fringe media use the tactic of generating a flawed basis and using it as a fact to further their arguments, just like what Troy did here.

            First, I would be the one calling the police because I was illegally searched (I always have video on my smart phone on when leaving a Costco) and my movements were falsely arrested. When the police came, I would be the one explaining the crimes against me. If a Costco employ falsely accused me of theft of something, I would add that crime to the list right there with the Cop. I would explain to the cop that his/her job is not to make a determination, but to charge. If the cop fails to charge, I would take my video to a court official and have either the charges placed directly and out of the jurisdiction of the police, or have the police ordered to place the charges by the court official. If Costco or its employee tries to have me charged during their incident, a court might determine the cop has probable cause to search my belongings as the Costco employee would be deemed truthful before-the-fact. After the fact of the search, since nothing I don’t own will be found, I would ask for the arrest to the Costco employee, and have quite a civil case against Costco.

            That is how the legal system works, not your fringe CNN and its fringe media peers fantasy.

      • Huh

        “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” If YOU want to be a sheep and do as you are told, then have lot’s of fun. Those of us that are true Americans will continue the fight.

    • Evan

      Good. Glad you’re gone. We’re all better off without pompous self-important twits like you. Did you ever R-E-A-D your membership agreement? You AGREED to that policy as a condition for being given your membership in the first place. And now you get haughty about abiding by the agreement! I believe they have your SIGNATURE on file for it. And since you are on THEIR property they DO have a full right to enforce the agreement you made.
      I’m glad Costco checks receipts–it helps prevent theft and keep prices down. And if a schmuck like you thinks he’s above the policies which he agreed to that’s fine–get the hell out of the way. And take your ‘I don’t care if I signed an agreement’ behavior with you. Never heard of being a man of your word? Bye-bye!

    • 1antispin

      I actually use my smart phone for a video each time. Simple and effective. I just turn on the video in the line to get out. There is always a line to get out because Costco employees obstruct our exit with this receipt-checking and searching. Right now, I do give my receipt to the Costco employee, But if they attempt a physical search, I tell them to stop and ask for their badge and warrant stating what they are searching my personal belongings for. None of the Costco employees understand that by searching through someone’s belongings in the cart that they are searching through someone’s belongings. A few have even said my purchases are not mine. I engaged each in a conversation trying to get from them when they think they own something if not when they bought it.

      Mostly, our peers blindly follow illegal rules and policies, even if they are troublesome.

  • By signing up with Cosco you signed an agreement that you would submit yourself to their procedures such as receipt checking. You are completely right. The receipt is your property. However if you break the agreement, your membership will be revoked and future attempts at rejoining will be rejected. Have fun wasting $50 because you are too stupid to read the fine print.

    • Tris Warkentin

      You can’t sign away Consitutional rights except in extreme circumstances. For example, Costco could require you to sign an agreement that said you would never speak ill of Costco in public, but it would violate your first amdendment rights.

      Long story short, you still have the right to walk out of Costco, and they do NOT have the right to detain you. It’s a dick move, but that’s the law.

      • PhilMcCraken

        And they have the right to revoke your membership. I don’t like it either, but I comply because I like the store. When WalMart tries it? My answer is usually EAD and get a lawyer if you try to detain me.

        • Tris Warkentin

          Yep, but they may have a tricky time knowing who you are for sure…

          • PhilMcCraken

            Take a picture, watch for you next time. Not hard at all. Regardless, you’re aware of their rules. You have plenty of other places to shop, why shop there and ASK to be a member then not play by their rules? Sounds a bit hypocritical, no one’s forcing you to join Costco.

          • Bob Richards

            Reviewing security video w/timestamps would allow Costco to track you from your refusal to show the receipt at the door back to the register where you bought the products in your cart. Then, they would look up the transactions at that register to identify your member number based on the transaction time (and, perhaps, an additional check for what’s on the receipt and what’s in the contested cart and your picture). Then, they just cancel that membership number and blacklist you from ever acquiring a new membership (albeit, you could probably still so under an alias). Sure, you can still get in the door with your cancelled card, but you couldn’t buy anything as you member card would be rejected at checkout.

            Certainly easy to accomplish — I’m not sure if they bother though.

          • Sparky Mahoney

            And who would ever want to be a customer of a store like that? Fuck the pricks at Costco and other stores that treat their customers like thieves.

          • Bob Richards

            I don’t know if they would do that, but I’m betting they could.

            If a membership based business has rules and you accept those rules by joining, I have no problem with them expelling people who violate those rules and using data to figure out who those people are.

            One time when leaving Costco, the door checkers realized that I had one more item in my cart than was on the receipt and they went through the list (it took maybe 30 seconds) and figured out that I had four of something and the checker had only rung up three of them. They didn’t question me at all about it – they jotted down a couple bits of information and sent me on my way without even asking me to pay for the extra item (they realized it was likely the checker’s, not an attempt to defraud them). I assume the checker got dinged for it in some way, but that’s reasonable.

          • mirskyreps

            Checking carts is for cashier accuracy. They often make mistakes and are reprimanded and retrained if they have numerous issues. Checking carts has nothing to do with members stealing. To keep prices low it is important to have loss prevention and most of that is from cashiers that forget to scan a product. We also find mistakes that help members who have had a product scanned twice. And a member who was leaving a store without his $200 head phones, because he picked up jewelry and forget to get the headphones in another area. Needless to say he was very thankful we noticed.

          • Connor Mullins

            We do, have helped with this process on several occasions.

      • sara simonds

        Comparing apples and oranges.

      • cl0ud 0x29A

        Fourth Amendment only applies to state actors like law enforcement. So a costco membership is hardly signing away any constitutional rights. Long story short, they can and do have the right to detain you if they have reasonable suspicion to believe a crime has been committed. This is also supported by state laws that protect CostCo from civil lawsuits for false imprisonment or detainment.

        • Sparky Mahoney

          Well, I guess that’ll be your little secret then. No, it doesn’t apply only to government, it applies to everyone. You choose to manhandle someone? Guess what, that’s assault. You think you can detain someone? False imprisonment right there. Those are felony charges, fella. Criminal and tort law is explicitly clear on these matters. And no matter what any store’s policy is it does not supersede your rights or the law. There is absolutely zero law that protects Costco you moron. You try that with me and I’ll sue you clear into your next life.

          Jesus, that’s like saying Costco could make a store policy allowing their employees to rap and murder anyone they want in the store and by entering the store you agree to that. Don’t be an idiot – oh sorry, I forgot that’s what most Costco employees are and why they work there.

          The only things they’re permitted to do is A) Call the police if they feel a crime has been committed. B) Can revoke your membership and ban you from their stores. That’s it, that’s all.

          • cl0ud 0x29A

            Might want to consult a lawyer there, sparky. You speak with conviction but your words ring untrue. Fourth Amendment has nothing to do with rape and murder, so your extreme examples are as irrelevant as your incorrect interpretation of the Fourth’s scope.

          • Troy Heagy

            Non-disclosure agreements are allowed under U.S. law. For example your iPhone catches fire, and Apple repairs the damage to your house, but they make you sign an NDA to be quiet. It does not violate your first amendment rights, because you received money to keep quiet (contract law)
            .
            The 4th amendment is also not absolute. Police officers can search your car or person, even if they don’t have a warrant. It’s called “probable cause” such as seeing a bag of weed on the car seat, or hanging out your pocket. If they can articulate suspicion for the search, then they can perform it
            .
            You are correct that you “cannot sign away your rights” but wrong to apply that rule to this Costco case. U.S. law does not give you the right to take a TV from a store (even if paid for) without permission of the store employees. No such right exists
            .
            What does exist is the right to file a case in court, in order to get a judge ruling in your favor, so then you can get your TV from the Costco business
            .

        • 1antispin

          Then, I could take you as my slave because I am not a state actor. Your rationale sounds like 1st year law school. Facile. You say states can create laws that breach our civil and human rights but do not provide examples. This is ridiculous.

        • 1antispin

          Ridiculous. It applies to people. If you were to walk up to me and start this conversation, I would tell you first that to converse with me, you must agree to a “quick check’ so that I know you don’t have any weapons. You just said you would agree to my condition for an association. I wouldn’t check you out because that would be misdemeanor assault. So, with Costco.

        • Huh

          They can TRY to detain me. But I have the right to bust one of them in the mouth if they one hand on my person or try to confiscate what is already mine.

      • Huh

        Not a “dick” move at all – it just looks that way to sheep

    • 1antispin

      I would like to see Costco breach the agreement because Robert did not surrender his property. This would be a very quick, and for Costco, expensive civil law suit. I would urge him not to accept any attempt by Costco to settle out of court as any judge would find Costco at fault on first principles and award damages.

    • 1antispin

      Ridiculous. You would be a good candidate to submit yourself to indentured servitude in exchange for signing a document. Costco can have anything in print it wants that even marginally passes the smell test. But when it requires an employee to act against a citizen, a completely different matter.

    • Huh

      And you have fun being a sheep because you are too weak and lack a backbone.

  • Jason

    Firs of all, your forth amendment right protects against unreasonable
    search and seizure from the GOVERNMENT, not private entities. Second, I
    don’t know about other states, but in California any merchant has the
    right to detain another for a reasonable amount of time to ensure no
    items are being taken without being purchased (CA PC 490.5). they are
    not required to prove that you committed a crime, that requirement is
    strictly for peace officers due to the fourth amendment. Whats more, if
    you are a member of CostCo you have in fact signed a contract agreeing
    to showing your receipt before departure. Your haven’t “signed your
    rights away”, your rights were never in question.

    • Peter

      Your point is, that Costco shops are exteritorial areas like an embassy?

    • kcloudy

      Your “GOVERNMENT” qualifier is not in the 4th amendment, here is the text of the US constitution:
      “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

      Now it is another question entirely whether we as American citizens will stand up to government laws or private parties that encroach on our God given rights (or transcendently given rights, even an Atheist like C.Hitchens believed in that, so long as that right remains securely unalienable).

      • I don’t know what kind of moron you are, but the constitution is a document that defines the GOVERNMENT. The bill of rights is a limit on THAT.

        • 1antispin

          Moron? You fail to understand that the “government” is people. It is people who claim some power or other that the Bill of Rights part of The Constitution defends against. For example, you just said you have the ability to enslave an American. You said exactly that, when you really need to understand what a moron YOU are.

          • Nope. Never said I have the ability to enslave an American. Anyone who comes onto my property and plans to leave with things from it is free to leave with everything they came in with and nothing of mine, if they cannot agree to the rules.

          • 1antispin

            If you tried to restrain and search me because you thought I might have something of yours as I was leaving your property, I would have you charged with criminal assault, and more, depending on how violent you get. In fact, I would be on the phone with 911 at your first outburst so that any of your violent behavior will be used against you no matter what.

          • And you would be laughed at as the idiot you are.

          • 1antispin

            You are such a typical Democrat.

          • You’re such a typical idiot who makes bold ASSumptions that are completely wrong. I don’t recall ever voting for a Democrat, but you insist that your dysfunction makes me the party of your disaffection (look it up, illiterate.)

      • Troy Heagy

        The 4th amendment only applied to the FEDERAL government, not the states
        .
        Later court cases of the 1900s extended it to the state governments
        .
        It still has no application to private businesses or homes. If you own a business or home, you have every right to search people when they enter your building (or exit). You are the king of the place you own
        .
        BTW slavery is still legal (if it’s voluntary). So too is indentured servitude. It helps if you actually READ THE LAW because it only bans INvoluntary servitude
        .

        • 1antispin

          Ridiculous. The Bill of Rights applies to each individual citizen. The perpetrator is not specified in any of the guaranteed rights because they are absolute. Democrats got around this to keep slavery in our country by saying slaves were not persons. Later at the constitutional convention, Democrats allowed us to have a Constitution at all by forcing normal people to agree that slaves were 3/5 of a person. Democrats caused the Civil War to keep slavery, even after Briton and other countries came to their senses. Guns are another problem with Democrats infringing our civil rights.

          Slavery is not legal in the US or its Territories, in any form. Any local or state law that restricts movement, pay, etc will be immediately struck down in any federal court. I did re-check just now, in case you might have known what you were talking about. You don’t. In fact, the momentum is so strong in parts of the USA against any restrictions on employees that post-employment restrictions (where national defense is not involved) are struck down or shortened to months or maybe a year. Many of us have noticed that Muslims are able to wear their garb instead of a company’s uniform.

    • Bing Maloney

      Jason if you are going reference a section of the penal code, you should make sure you read it and understood it.

      490.5 (f) (1)

      “A merchant may detain a person for a reasonable time for the purpose of conducting an investigation in a reasonable manner whenever the merchant has probable cause to believe the person to be detained is attempting to unlawfully take or has unlawfully taken merchandise from the merchant’s premises.”

      The merchant has to have probable cause. That’s the law in the section you quoted. The receipt checking is not based on probable cause.

  • M. Henry

    You are all so annoying. Don’t be members there if you don’t agree! I teach and this is why children think that they have the right to not follow the rules in school…because they see their parents doing the same thing! Ugh…do everyone a favor and order from Pea Pod so you never have to leave your home…the world would be a much happier place!

  • cindy

    Here’s my comment…..Im a 53 yr old woman who picked up 1 item from Costco and was treated like a freakin criminal!!! I showed the guy my receipt and he nodded his head and let me go and then said ‘i need to check that for you ma’am’. Check what!? In my hand is 1 product and 1 receipt.
    And PLEASE dont tell me they do it to reduce theft because not one of those ’employees’ at the door really check item to item what you have on your receipt. Its a joke!
    If Costco is worried about theft they need to do something on THEIR end…and not on mine!!

  • Peter

    I hate it, if any business or small town can create its own laws. But laws regarding car traffic don’t need to be followed. Examples are plenty of cars without front license plate, nobody following the rechts-fahr-gebot, especially uphill, no cameras checking for endangering tailgating, no red light cameras. I really don’t understand people here defending costco’s crazy policies. If these rules at least would make sense…
    Everybody complaining that Germany has so many Verbote… Never walked trough a public park on the USA? Every 3 steps a verboten-sign.

  • JSebastian

    Costco member and shareholder here – I don’t mind the receipt checking process since it helps keep my prices low and my shares high!

    Its somewhat irritating when there are 20 people in line at the door and there is only one receipt checked, but that rarely happens. And you know that if you shop at Costco, its not exactly the kind of place you go if you want to be in and out in a few minutes. If you want that, go right before they close, or right after they open.

  • Tommy Udo

    I bought one item at Costco yesterday. Since, at the point they accepted my money, the item became my property, and no longer theirs, I decided to walk past the receipt checking line just to see what would happen. As I passed, I did hold up my receipt for the lady to see, but I didn’t stop and she started yelling at me to come back. I ignored her and kept walking. She shouted to another employee outside, and he started yelling at me, too, but I kept walking. I was prepared to defend myself against an assault if they laid hands on me, but nobody came after me, and that was the end of it. Now that my curiosity has been satisfied I will probably comply with the sheep line in the future just to avoid the hassle.

  • Costco Bear

    Im a Costco employee so Ill simply explain. Receipt checkers are trained to look for expensive items in your basket that the company loses money from every year. They mostly look for water, paper towels and larger expensive items. Many times the cashiers make a mistake and only charged you for 1 water bottle when you have 2 or simply you could have easily placed another water bottle in the basket even after you paid for it. No matter what, the receipt checker will note down the cashiers name on the receipt and they actually get a write up for it. Yep! Also when you signed up for a membership you agreed to have us check your receipts on the way out. If you dont like the way we run things then dont shop Costco its as simple as that. And if you continue to not show your receipt, we will revoke your membership on the spot. If you worked at Costco you would understand why we do things the way we do and everything would make sense 🙂

    • Sonal Gupta

      Hi,
      I have one opposite question around, I shop regularly at costco and last month it happen then i ask cashier to remove be gals from my cart and bill after scanning the price as it was set of 2 piece bagel and i pick one piece and i did not wish to pick another and wait for long line again. My bill was over $500 and when i reached home, i verify costco return item receipts along with my latest purchase and found that 2 piece begals was billed to my bill. Why can’t they check item if they are less number of item. Although it is my mistake not able to verify all items as my card was almost filled but do really receipt checker check number of total items and verify it, what they do if item are less in cart?
      Also, how do i ask costco refund for item which was not along with me 🙂

      • Costco Bear

        Im sorry that this happened to you but are you sure you checked the receipt correctly? Usually on the receipt it will still show whatever was scanned on the register. For example, the cashier scanned your bagels but its a “pick 2” bagels and you dont want to get the other bagel for whatever reason, it will still say 2 bagels on your receipt. However, after that it will say “VOID” on the receipt and then say 2 bagels with a negative (-) and the price. If you do not see a void anywhere in the receipt, simply go to the return line with your receipt and we will gladly refund your money no questions asked. We will not argue with you whether the cashier made a mistake or not, we will simply give you back your money on the bagel. I hope this helps! 🙂

        • SG

          I talk to costco rep on return center and he speak to his manager and his manager denied with a reason that if you could come within 24 hours of purchase then they will consider to return back the money. I don’t know but now a days costco associate do ask refund reason even for non open items.

    • 1antispin

      No matter what Costco told you or how they trained you, you are liable if you try to search the belongings of a person. If Costco needs to save money, breaching the Bill of Rights is not the way top do it. Once my debit card has been charged, I own the material in the basket, not you or Costco.

      • Costco Employee

        Once you pay you own the materials in the basket? What line in the constitution says that? You signed your rights away when you sign up for a membership. If you are inside our store, we still have the rights to search you because you are inside of our store. Same with shooting a person inside your house. If you dont like this you can simply go to Walmart where they also check receipts.

        • 1antispin

          Personal property is a basis of The Constitution, what the rest of it is all about. When I exchange the official currency for a product or service, the product is my personal property and the service must be performed. The UCC further specifies how the transactions are defined and take place. That you are asserting actions and opinions without knowing the facts is a problem for the rest of us.

          There isn’t just “a line” in The Constitution guaranteeing this human and civil right.of freedom from your search of our belongings, It is #4 of the original Bill of Rights of The Constitution.

          Since you believe Costco can usurp our human rights as a condition of association, tell us when Costco will begin requiring indentured servitude from us. If Costco does not plan to breach Amendments 13 and 14, why does Costco believe it can breach the 4th right in the original Bill of Rights? Why will Costco allow us certain human rights and breach others?

          Just because we are in your store does not give you the right to breach any of our human and civil rights. ANY.

          No Walmart I have been9 to checks receipts. In fact, the only other store we know of that attempts to check receipts is BJs. I will check the Costco in Tsukuba soon to see if they deface receipts oand search Japanese citizens. It will be interesting to see if Costco breaches the cultures and laws of other nations.

          I hope I meet you at the door of a Costco and you perpetrate a warrentless and evidenceless search. I will have you charged at least with criminal assault. Since Costco maintains the words in writing, and they took illegal action based on those words, It seems there is a near perfect case for a class-action suit.

          For now, only a few Costco employees actually attempt to execute the wrongful Costco policy. For 2 of them, If they attempt a search after I am forced to hand over the receipt, I just push my cart right out the door to my car. I assume you know that is a store employee grabbed or blocked me, they have committed assault. Forced to hand over OUR receipts…Hmmm.

          I’ll leave your gun-fetish to you.

          • Kyle

            I realize that you don’t need a college degree (or even a high school diploma) to work at Costco, but Costco Bear (an employee) is grossly misinformed about the legalities here. This kind of ignorance has the potential to cost Costco heavily if the employee touches or detains a shopper illegally.

  • Mary

    Somalia, at our Costco it clearly states at the bagel display that you HAVE to buy 2 packs of bagels. You chose to only go through the line with one and it unto tidally charges for two. Costco charged you th correct amount,mit was you that didn’t buy the required 2 packs.

    • Mary

      My second sentence was suppose to sayYou chose to only go through the line with one pack and Costco charges for two

    • 1antispin

      They set a condition of sale.

  • Umm…the 4th Amendment protects you from the government. It doesn’t allow you to leave an establishment without establishing that you paid for their property which is in your possession.

    I’m pretty sure it’s more than reasonable to shop at an establishment that expects you to show that you’ve paid for any of their property with which you’re leaving. If you don’t good luck finding any place to shop.

    • 1antispin

      The 4th amendment protects your rights, period. “Government” and “Costco” are not qualifiers in it. If you were right, Southern Democrats would still be forcing people into slavery. ….They are instead stopped by the 13th and 14th Amendments, even though they are not “government”.

      • Umm…Nope. You’re wrong about that. It protects you from the monopoly state that was established. You need to go back to civics class. You are always free to leave someone’s property with your belongings and only your belongings, if you can’t follow the rules on that property. This is why no idiots like you have ever sued for such a thing and won.

  • 1antispin

    Our human rights are not anyone’s circus. If you don’t defend your rights, yopu don’t deserve to have them. Do you think propertry ownership is a right? the go-alongers have just about eliminated this one, so think again.

    I challenge the door checker every time they do anything other than just deface my receipt simply BECAUSE it is a breech of my human rights. The Bill of Rights are a list of human rights. Those who go along to get along will sink us all. All of our rights in the Bill of Rights are there for a reason even if these faux-smart get-alongers think otherwise.

    Several times, I have had the receipt yanked from my hand. When the checker started moving my belongings around in the basket, I left. I state he (always a he) will not breach my 4th amendment rights. A couple of times the store manager has come out and tried to inspect my belongings as I was putting them in my car. One told me he had a right to inspect me and my belongings. Each time I have asked if he ever thought of making Costco customers each work 4 hours a month free. This would reduce Costco’s operating costs significantly. Much more than searching their customers. Usually, babble emerges that generally is dismissive. This is the 13th and 14th amendments. I told him he can’t pick and choose what parts of the Bill of Rights he will allow to me. I then just say he will not determine what human rights he will permit me to have. I never threaten to sue for their various infringements, …yet.

    If Costco employees did physically restrain me, I would call the police and have charges filed. Probably for the detention and illegal search, maybe more, such as stalking. Then the civil phase.

    .

  • News Reporter

    Costco w/ Walmart story. After checking out Costco, there is NOTHING to possible steal on your way out! They must have some third party psychological studies on the phoney highlighter to your receipt. Even then I don’t understand the purpose. Walmart in MN just recently began using their elderly greeters to do the same receipt look-over. People were very offended. But I heard one of the Pharmacy technicians talk about the amount of missing inventory after stock checkers perform their checks. I use to lean against the wall and spread my legs in a police stop search. People behind me would laugh. They finally just checked for large ticket items which don’t fit in Walmart checkout bags. That would make sense. But these elderly greeters still have difficulty reading and finding these items (toilet paper, water, etc) on our receipts. We have to point them out for them.

  • Colonel Muttonfield

    A Costco employee attempted to check the contents of my briefcase a couple of years ago as I was leaving the store. I, of course, said no. He then insisted I comply and stepped in front of me. I again refused and reminded him that I am an American citizen and protected by law from illegal searches, even from law enforcement officers. He pointed to a sign on the wall and said its “store policy” and that he still needed to see inside my bag. Seeing that this apron-wearing Nazi was on a power trip, I invited him to “try to open my briefcase and see what happens next.” He immediately stepped aside, apologized and said he no longer needed to look inside. I guess the store policy suddenly changed. I then walked away with no further interference from this centurion with a name badge.

  • John J. Virden

    Why not take the same position regarding showing your membership card for admittance? Are they making an assumption you are not a member by requiring you show your membership card for admittance?

  • Purebredmutt

    I have been a long time Costco customer and find this to be the most invasive, unnecessary and insulting behaviour on Cosco’s part. There is no product located between the tills and exit so this is a blatant disrespect of Costco towards its customers. Fortunately, Costco’s days are numbered as there store format is outdated and very open to competition. Soon people will stop paying to be a customer, carrying the store garbage home as impromptu packaging while standing in the first of two excessively long line ups. One to pay and the second to be treated as a common thief because you chose to be their customer.

  • ryan

    For me, it’s simply a matter of time. I spend an hour or more shopping and sometimes 30 min to checkout. I really don’t feel like waiting in yet another line just to leave when there are a lot of people waiting. One thing that costco does not do well is manage lines well.

  • sara simonds

    They check your receipt when exiting the store…so what?! A lot of stores do this and I don’t blame them. The solution is a quick and easy one. If you don’t like the process, don’t shop in that store. No need to make a big deal out of it.

  • sara simonds

    Cops respond when they’re called. Silly or not, that is their job.

    • Sparky Mahoney

      No, they don’t. They use their own judgement whether to pursue something or not. No cop is going to show up at a store because someone didn’t show their receipt. Don’t be an idiot.

  • Kristy

    What I say when I get to the door at Costco is, “The employee who took my money already checked my receipt by handing it to me.” What bothers me most about Costco’s receipt-checking policy is that they are transferring the job of security on to the customer. I don’t get paid to perform their security. If they are so worried about theft, then they should have security all over the store and let me leave when I want to. How is it even possible for someone to steal anything between the register and the door? Yet, after waiting in line to check-out, I have to wait in another line to leave.

    Costco also claims that they check the receipt to ensure that the checker didn’t over-charge. So, basically, Costco hires incompetent employees? And I, the customer, have to make up for that? Costco is essentially transferring the cost of both security and incompetent checkers on to the customer in the form of inconvenience.

    No matter how good my shopping experience is, I always leave Costco with a negative feeling because of the receipt-check. If that’s the impression Costco wants to leave with its customers, then so be it. I realize that I don’t have to shop there. But, I can still lament about it.

  • Seth Allen

    Costco does not have any legal right to check your receipt unless they witness you committing a crime. I know this from other sources. Personally, I signed the membership application and I do not recall anything about consenting to a search. I might have missed it anyway because I am not an attorney and I generally don’t understand all that garbage. I am sure if someone told me about the unconditional search I would have told them what they can do with their membership. But then the only reason I joined Costco was to purchase a pair of eyeglasses and I prefer lower prices. Also, I really don’t care whether Costco wants to look at my receipt. I see that procedure as nothing more than bureacratic nonsense. No store is perfect. The receipt check is something I can put up with. That doesn’t mean I agree with it. I see it as a useless practice that unnecessarily takes up employees’ time which only increases costs to the customers. Other stores exist without a receipt check without problems.

    • Kyle

      the membership agreement simply states: “receipts will be checked as you exit the store”. That statement does not give them the legal right to detain you, touch you or physically obtain the receipt. Since the receipt is in my pocket, there is no legal way for them to get it if I don’t offer it to them. Just because Costco has a policy, does not make them legally able to touch me, my property or detain me. If they’re getting aggressive or threatening, ask them “am I being detained ?” They won’t answer the question, because they know that they can’t detain you (in the absence of actual evidence that you’ve shoplifted). I ask the question once, confirm that they are not detaining me, then walk to my car and wish them a good day.

  • Cristhian Mejia

    You are correct except that it is Costco’s property and Costco’s rules. If you don’t like it shop somewhere else. You signed up for this when you signed up for a membership.

  • Douglas Zimmerman

    I have no problem with Costco checking my receipt at the exit. However, this past Saturday, a Costco employee asked to search my bag AFTER checking my receipt. I feel very much offended but let the employee search my bag anyway. I am questioning the legality of this search of my bag by Costco employee. I don’t think anybody has the authority to check another person’s bag except police officers or individuals who have been authorized by the government to do the search. I am going to call police if Costco employees ask to search my bag again. I am fine with police searching my bag. Not Costco employees, not anyone else.

  • Sparky Mahoney

    I was followed out by no less than 6 employees after refusing to show my reciept. Amazing, a dozen people in line with 1 checker. They can’t afford to have anyone else speeding up the process but 6 of them can rush out of the store screaming and yelling at one guy who has better things to do than waste his precious time standing in line for something he doesn’t have to? One of them actually grabbed me and I told him to remove his hand or lose his teeth. Heh, he literally jumped back a good three feet. Than some dumb bitch is literally screaming at me how it’s their policy. I mean freaking out like I’m initiating Armageddon by not showing my receipt. I reply that their store policy doesn’t supersede the law, and if she wants to revoke my membership that’s fine but shut the fuck up and get out of my way. If you think I stole something call a cop. Again, otherwise shut the fuck up and get out of my way.

    Fact is I rarely ever shop at Costco to begin with precisely for this reason. I actually only really use them for their gas as it’s always a nickel cheaper. Still, I will actually choose to pay more where I shop to be respected and thanked for actually being a customer instead of being treated like a thief when I’m the one paying their fucking way. So, I’m finally done with them. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Makes me wish we had a WinCo Foods here!

  • Kyle

    I’ve actually let my Costco membership expire and rarely shop there as a result of the receipt checking nonsense. In my state (CA), Costco can’t require a membership to sell state-licensed items (alcohol, tobacco and Rx meds), so I still go there to buy alcohol now and then. I politely decline the receipt check and keep walking. They usually do nothing; once they sent “security” (an old obese man) and the store manager to my car as I was loading. They asked for my receipt, I asked for my receipt-checking fee of $ 10, which they declined. I said I guess we’re done here then. The manager was getting really aggressive about my receipt (all my items are now in my car), and threatened to terminate my membership and demanded my card. I told him that I don’t have a membership, so he’s welcome to call the police if they have probable cause and evidence of the theft. Of course, they don’t since I don’t shoplift. I got in my car, and the security guard was standing behind my car, trying to look tough (well, as tough as an obese 70 year old man can look). I put the car in reverse and started to back up. He moved and flipped me off in front of the manager. Nice customer service there, Costco !
    It’s been said here several times, but bears repeating: it is perfectly legal for Costco to ask to see my receipt and it’s perfectly legal for the customer to decline their request and continue exiting. It really is that simple. I wish someone would train the Costco employees on this.

  • Evan

    Fascinating discussion in reading all the comments. I’m finding on two points:
    1) People who believe they have any right to bypass the receipt check – um, did you R-E-A-D the agreement you agreed to when you joined Costco? They’ve got your signature. It’s an agreement you, without duress, chose to enter into and it gives them full authority.
    2) People who believe that somehow the agreement violates their rights and all the legal declarations of constitutional rights, that they’d successfully sue Costco. Let’s just say this: I challenge any of you–please do press the matter. Go ahead–refuse to show your receipt, then sue Costco when staff demand. C’mon–DO IT. I really, really, really want to see one of these legal ‘experts’ put their money where their mouth is. Already claiming you’d “win a huge settlement”, so . . . what’s stopping you?!? [Disclosure: I’m begging you to do it because I’m just twisted enough to be WANTING you to learn that the law is NOT on your side when you lose.]

  • Meatworld

    I think it’s interesting that people get their panties in such a bunch over this policy when I appreciate it. I have forgotten on multiple occasions to get the gift cards that I purchased on my way out and their receipt checker was the one that reminded me saving me a trip back and/or trying to wait for some kind of confirmation/procedural process that I really didn’t get the gift cards the first time and I’m trying to get a second set. Additionally, they once caught that I was double charged for something. They ended up just sending an employee to go get me a second because it would be easier and I was okay with getting 2.

  • PlayThatMusic

    I have nothing to hide, but don’t want to waste my time standing in yet another line for their silly receipt check that does nothing. I just bypass the line. If I’m stopped, I ask them if they have probable cause that I have committed a crime. If they says no, I keep going, if they says yes, I hand them my receipt. Either way, I don’t stand in the silly receipt checking line.

  • mirskyreps

    We are checking for cashier errors. It helps keep prices low. Cashiers makes many mistakes. A cart check has nothing to do with the Member!

  • A Morris Mitchell

    I’m in a slightly different situation as I live in Canada. But I had a similar experience today. Now, it was a foolish day to go to Costco – it being the Friday before Canadian Thanksgiving – but things went well, if rather slowly. I cleared the checkout and got into a very long line of people with heavily loaded baskets. After 5 minutes I was 2nd in line. Where I stood for at least two more minutes as the receipt checker gave a young woman of colour a hard time by moving things around in her cart to go through the list. I was fed up with both the checker’s behaviour and with the delay and decided to walk out unchecked. The checker went mad! She chased after me grabbling the front of my cart and yelling at me that my time was no more important than anyone else’s in line. I then said that after waiting in line for 7 minutes I wasn’t going to waste any more time. At which point she screamed ,”7 minutes? You’re a liar!” I’m not easily rattled, but I am a man in my 60’s and expect to be treated with a modicum of respect. I can’t remember the last time I was insulted like this. In anger, (which I now regret), I told her to get her hands off my bloody cart and walked past her – along with the two unchecked customers behind me in line! At this point she started yelling for a manager.

    Now, I have shopped in this Costco for nearly 19 years and have never questioned this receipt checking before. But now I find myself wondering what possible purpose this further delay at the door could serve? Any insights?

  • Of all the issues one could raise in this world, this? I’ve been a customer for 20+ years, and, at worst, it’s an extra few minutes of my time. At best, they catch a mistake in my favor, an item that rang twice and I didn’t notice.
    This isn’t any kind of racial profiling, it’s a 100% policy. And if this person doesn’t want to follow it, he won’t be a customer for long. I like the policy, if it lowers the shrinkage, that’s money that Costco can use for its own profits, employee benefits (among the best for this type of business) and to keep prices low.

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