We know the freshest rotisserie chicken is important to you, but do you really need to hover over the staff who are just trying to do their job?
a storefront of Costco
Credit: Getty Images

At one of the U.S.'s best bulk-shopping outlets, you can find everything from multi-packs of ramen noodles to a whole ham leg for holiday slicing. Costco is a food lover's shopping paradise, full of samples to taste, creative foods to explore, and even local and niche groceries that only appear in select locations. 

This busy warehouse thrives when customers are kind, earnest and conscientious. But sometimes the best intentions aren't actually helpful. We sifted through the internet to see just exactly how Costco employees view some of the "polite" things that Costco shoppers do that aren't actually so polite. For a better Costco experience, consider the advice of the people who work there. 

 1. You Don't Return Items to the Correct Places

Yes, we hear you: Costco is gigantic, and you may not have time to get all the way back to where you need to if you decide that you may not want something. And you may think you're being polite by returning an item before you get to the checkout line, where chaos can ensue. It's more polite to just … leave your item somewhere in the store, right?

Well, not so fast, says Reddit user and Costco employee millertime7898. Failing to return a cold item to the refrigerated section and then just leaving it in a random place is actually the height of rudeness. Not only does leaving something where it does not belong make more work for the staff, but it also means that the item has the potential to go bad before it ever finds its home again, which is just wasteful. If you don't have time to return an item, you're better off taking it to the checkout line with you, where at least an employee can be alerted that you no longer want it, so that it can be placed back where it truly belongs.

2. You Guilt-Shop the Sample Station

One of Costco's finest perks is the sample stations, where shoppers can delight in a vast array of tasty morsels. And although you may feel obligated to pick up that bottle of barbecue sauce or package of frozen samosas after trying them, you should definitely only grab the package if you actually intend to purchase it at the register, says Reddit user and Costco employee popo351. "Sample ladies have a lot of downtime on slow days, so they don't mind members approaching them and talking to them once in a while," popo351 says. "But oftentimes, people get self-conscious about taking too many samples, or talking for too long, so they pick up unwanted products to save face, only to ditch them in odd places [see above!]. Even if you take a few samples and don't buy anything, you don't have to pretend to buy anything," popo351 says. "Just say thanks and move on."

3. You Want the Best—No, Not That Best 

Insiders know that Costco is a great place to score inexpensive-yet-delicious produce. And who can blame shoppers for spending just a little extra time looking for that perfect piece of fruit? But there's a difference between being a selective shopper and being a rude shopper, says Costco employee and Reddit user AccountingStudent1, who works in the produce department. "Digging through the first layer down is okay-ish," the user says. "It all came on the same pallet. Whatever. Digging down farther than that is ridiculous and just makes more work for me." 

The product, the employee says, is available at a discount for a reason, and disrupting a pallet of produce for a pineapple that may or may not be a tiny bit better—which, in turn, will make an employee's job a lot more difficult in the end—is a rude thing to do. "If you get the one that's 98% perfect instead of 100% perfect, it's not gonna be the end of the world," AccountingStudent1 says. "It's about to be the end of my back, tho."

4. You Don't Come Prepared

One former Costco Tire Center employee had a lot to say about customers who came shopping for tires. You may think that asking a tire expert to choose the best tires is best practice, says Reddit user ProfessorMarth, since you're consulting someone with more expertise. But the truth is, purchasing a tire is nuanced. "I ask them what kind of driving they do, what's most important to them when it comes to a tire," ProfessorMarth says. "I don't know whether or not you need an all-season, all-terrain, run-flat or whatever, if I don't know what you're using it for."

ProfessorMarth also says that customers often come in with no knowledge of their car or its needs. "I don't expect you to know anything about tires; that's why I'm here. But is it too much to ask you to know what the year, make and model of your vehicle is?" the Reddit user says. The next time you shop for tires at Costco, make sure to arrive armed with the details of your car in-hand.

5. You Eagerly Await the Freshest New Item

Whether it's the hottest rotisserie chicken or the fresh-from-the-oven blueberry muffins, Costco shoppers have a tendency to get really, really enthusiastic about that just-cooked or just-baked item. But although it may seem polite to express your genuine passion for the store's best and brightest products, looming over employees definitely isn't. "When I had to stock muffins, people would literally hover over me and wait until I turned my back to grab more from my cart and would try to snatch them," says former Costco employee and Reddit user psychoelectrickitty

It may be worthwhile to remember, psychoelectrickitty says, that many of these items were actually made at the same time, even if they're being restocked. "I just didn't have room to stock them earlier," the Reddit user says. Getting in the way of a Costco employee who is trying to do their job is impolite. But Instagramming that muffin mid-bite? We're all for it.