Costco is refusing returns on hoarded items
Costco recently began posting signs indicating that it will no longer accept returns on six items — toilet paper, paper towels, rice, water, sanitizing wipes and Lysol — that consumers have been stocking up in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The signs in recent days began popping up on social media on non-affiliated Instagram sites such as Costco Insider, Costco Buy and Costco Deals. It’s uncertain whether the initiative is nationwide.
An employee at an Illinois Costco warehouse told Business Insider that the non-returns policy was for both sanitary purposes — to avoid the risk of tainted returns — as well as to discourage hoarding.
The move was praised on social media.
“This is such great news! I’m tired of all those people that buy toilet paper and think they can just return it later when they don’t need it,” one individual responded to an Instagram post.
“It’s about time! Too many people taking advantage of their return policy,” another said.
Costco in early March began placing purchase restrictions on certain items due to panic buying. CFO Richard Galanti said on Costco’s second-quarter conference call on March 5, “We’re getting deliveries daily. But it’s still not enough given the increased levels of demand on certain key items. It’s been a little crazy.”
Many stores are closing early to provide time to clean and restock stores. Costco and others are dedicating their first hour of opening to seniors and those with compromised immune systems to, not only help them avoid crowds that leave them susceptible to COVID-19, but to also give them a first shot at restocked assortments.
The ongoing hoarding has again led to some arguments that prices should be allowed to rise so supply and demand can reach equilibrium, although critics feel such a free-market solution would be detrimental to lower-income households.
Many government officials and store leaders are still trying to get out the message that hoarding isn’t necessary since grocers remain open and are continually restocking.
- Some Costco stores are banning returns on items like toilet paper, soap, and rice as people panic-buy amid coronavirus fears – Business Insider
- Costco Signs Indicate The Store Is Refusing Returns On High-Demand Items Like Rice And Toilet Paper – Delish
- Grocery Stores Are Changing Their Hours And Policies Amid The Coronavirus Outbreak – Delish
- Panic buying leaves retailers scrambling to restock – ABC News
- Costco Wholesale Corp (COST) Q2 2020 Earnings Call Transcript – The Motley Fool
- Trump says ‘relax,’ urges against hoarding as coronavirus cases soar and Fed cuts rates to zero – CNBC
- Retailer Leaders Urge Responsible Shopping During Pandemic – Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA)
- Costco Insider – Instagram
- Costco Buy – Instagram
- Costco Deals – Instagram
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you agree with Costco’s move to refuse returns of products that have been hoarded during the coronavirus outbreak? Do you see any other solutions to limit hoarding?