This Is Why Costco Always Checks Your Receipts

Costco has checked receipts at the door since opening in 1983—and the reason has nothing to do with shoplifting.

You think the reason would be preventing shoplifting, right? It makes sense! Costco is a pretty magical place. Between the Kirkland items you should always buy and Costco’s free samples, it sure is the place to be. But are Costco employees really worried about theft? Surprisingly, the answer is “No!” Here are some more secrets Costco employees won’t tell you.

Here’s what Costco really wants to know

According to an article published by, Costco checks receipts to make sure that everything was properly scanned. And not just for the items that weren’t scanned, but the items that might have been double scanned.

“It’s pretty simple,” Kevin Heuer, general manager of the Costco in San Francisco, told “We want to make sure they’re not getting overcharged and they’re not getting undercharged. It’s not to target shoplifters. Invariably that could happen without someone paying for something, but if there’s an extra item in their basket, that’s not their fault. That’s our fault. Sometimes checkers forget to ring up items placed on the bottom of the basket.”

Here’s what employees are checking for

Shoppers have their receipts and trolleys checked by an employee (R) as they exit from a Costco storeFREDERIC J. BROWN/Getty Images

When Costco employees check your receipt upon exit, they’re actually looking at a few specific details:

  • A printed code on the top and bottom of your Costco receipt. These codes change each day, and employees confirm if the code on your receipt is for that day.
  • There’s also an item count present on the bottom of the receipt, which helps employees ensure there was no under or overcharging of purchases.
  • Items over $300 and more expensive items including electronics, stamps or jewelry need a supervisor’s initials marked on them.
  • Signifiers will be present on the receipt for large items, which ensures that Costco employees do a final check of the bottom of a shopping cart.

Having your receipt checked may seem a bit nerve-wracking, but Costco is only trying to respect customers’ purchases before they head out the door. So if you’re heading to Costco for a grocery run or any other type of errand, know that they have your back. Now, find out the 13 Costco tips frequent shoppers keep to themselves.


  • SFGate: “The Reason Costco checks Receipts at the door isn’t about shoplifting”
  • The Ascent: “4 Reasons Why Costco Checks Your Receipt When You Leave”

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Originally Published on Taste of Home