Costco ethical dilemma

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Poll
7 votes (46.66%)
4 votes (26.66%)
No votes (0%)
No votes (0%)
1 vote (6.66%)
3 votes (20%)

15 members have voted

December 28th, 2014 at 7:35:16 PM permalink
Wizard
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Member since: Oct 23, 2012
Threads: 129
Posts: 2834
Today I set a new distance record on my unicycle at 31 miles for one ride. You can see the details on Strava. The ride started and ended at the Summerlin Costco parking lot, where I planned to do some shopping afterward for stuff we were running low on, but nothing urgent.

After I finished the ride I was rather tired but still had enough energy to do a quick Costco trip. Besides, I was already there. The parking lot was crowded but I went forth anyway.

I filled up my cart with the stuff I came for. When I came to the check out area I was surprised to see lines about 10 carts deep. For those who don't know, when people come to Costco they don't mess around and fill up shopping carts. This seemed to be especially the case in this post-Christmas shopping season.

I was in NO mood to stand in that line, which would have taken about 30 minutes, nor to retrace my steps in the crowded store and put everything back properly.

Let's also keep in mind that I'm a great Costco customer, spending about $1,000 there per month.

The question for the poll is what should I have done in this situation, ethically speaking?
Knowledge is Good -- Emil Faber
December 28th, 2014 at 7:51:04 PM permalink
FrGamble
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 44
Posts: 4849
Unfortunately I don't think your mood or feelings are really applicable in this case. They can't really determine what you should do or shouldn't do. If you really ran out of time and had somewhere else to be then letting a store employee know that you have to abandon your cart and run would be the best play. In your situation you truly might have been too tired to either wait in that line and buy the stuff or put it all back, so you could have done the same thing. I don't think abandoning your cart is the best idea, but rather taking it to an employee or a manager and letting them know you can't wait in the line and have to go.
December 28th, 2014 at 7:53:18 PM permalink
Evenbob
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 105
Posts: 10181
When this has happened to me I find an
employee and tell them I have to leave.
They always take the cart. What the heck
do you spend a grand a month on at
Costco. I spend about 200 a month
there and some of it is stuff I don't
even need.
If you take a risk, you may lose. If you never take a risk, you will always lose.
December 28th, 2014 at 8:06:35 PM permalink
rxwine
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 111
Posts: 4445
Putting items that are going to spoil back is what I would do. It annoys me to see someone throw a expensive piece of meat into those side bends because they decide they don't want it or it went over budget or whatever reason they do it.

I don't shop at Costco though.

Big superstores have cartloads of items at the end of busy days that need to be re-shelved. Not that anyone should pile on extra work, but they do have someone to do that almost everyday.
No one has ever proven I am not God.
December 28th, 2014 at 8:16:09 PM permalink
Wizard
Administrator
Member since: Oct 23, 2012
Threads: 129
Posts: 2834
Quote: FrGamble
Unfortunately I don't think your mood or feelings are really applicable in this case. They can't really determine what you should do or shouldn't do. If you really ran out of time and had somewhere else to be then letting a store employee know that you have to abandon your cart and run would be the best play. In your situation you truly might have been too tired to either wait in that line and buy the stuff or put it all back, so you could have done the same thing. I don't think abandoning your cart is the best idea, but rather taking it to an employee or a manager and letting them know you can't wait in the line and have to go.


I buy that my mood and energy level are not really the issue. However, isn't asking for forgiveness from some random employee seem to me to be just seeking the easy way out. If I were the store employee I would have been thankful for the extra work and said "Do what you have to do." This is probably something the manager sees all the time, and in all fairness, he is probably annoyed by it. However, I think it also sends a message that he didn't put enough people on the payroll this busy day and the abandoned cart is a cost of doing business related to that mistake.

In short, I think a random employee is not in a position to grant forgiveness because he isn't the one paying the overtime for somebody to restock that stuff. The manager probably wouldn't be thrilled to be bothered with the inquiry. So, what I'm trying to say is that if you're going to sin, just sin, and don't try to sugar coat it.

Quote: Evenbob
When this has happened to me I find an
employee and tell them I have to leave.
They always take the cart.


Wow, you and FrG agree on something! That should be duly noted in the record.

Quote:
What the heck
do you spend a grand a month on at
Costco. I spend about 200 a month
there and some of it is stuff I don't
even need.


With three kids, you seem to find plenty to buy there.

p.s. By process of elimination, you seem to be the "bigot" vote.

Quote: rxwine
Putting items that are going to spoil back is what I would do. It annoys me to see someone throw a expensive piece of meat into those side bends because they decide they don't want it or it went over budget or whatever reason they do it.


In my defense, I didn't buy anything edible. Had I bought meat I would have at least put that back or suffered the line.
Knowledge is Good -- Emil Faber
December 28th, 2014 at 8:21:51 PM permalink
Pacomartin
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 648
Posts: 7426
Quote: Wizard
Let's also keep in mind that I'm a great Costco customer, spending about $1,000 there per month.


I thought Costco had special Opening Hours for Preferred customers?

I would be honest and take the cart to customer service. I probably wouldn't be honest enough to say it was purely because the line was too long, but in my experience most stores don't ask why anymore.

I saw a study that 67.45% of shopping carts are abandoned before the customer completes a sale. But then I realized they were talking about "online" shopping carts.
December 28th, 2014 at 8:29:38 PM permalink
Evenbob
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 105
Posts: 10181
I always vote bigot when it's offered,
no exceptions.
If you take a risk, you may lose. If you never take a risk, you will always lose.
December 28th, 2014 at 8:34:35 PM permalink
Wizard
Administrator
Member since: Oct 23, 2012
Threads: 129
Posts: 2834
Quote: Pacomartin
I thought Costco had special Opening Hours for Preferred customers?

I would be honest and take the cart to customer service. I probably wouldn't be honest enough to say it was purely because the line was too long, but in my experience most stores don't ask why anymore.


They have extra hours for business customers. Before I sold my business, I could have applied for such access, but deemed it to not be worth the cost.

Again, some random employee will make me feel good and let me off the hook, but does that make it right?

Quote: Evenbob
I always vote bigot when it's offered,
no exceptions.


At least you're honest about it.
Knowledge is Good -- Emil Faber
December 28th, 2014 at 8:46:44 PM permalink
FrGamble
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 44
Posts: 4849
Quote: Wizard

Again, some random employee will make me feel good and let me off the hook, but does that make it right?


Do you like to feel bad or torture yourself? Why do people like to wallow in their mistakes even when they can be set free? It seems almost self masochist to me. Here you have an employee more than willing to help you out and take away your problem and yet you would rather somehow feel bad about this situation a little longer. Be free and shop smarter in the future.
December 28th, 2014 at 9:27:20 PM permalink
Pacomartin
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 648
Posts: 7426
Quote: FrGamble
Do you like to feel bad or torture yourself?


Wizard, you are more given to self recrimination than most people. A priest probably spends 95% of his time chiding people for not thinking about the consequences of their actions. Now you have one telling you that you overthink.

On a more technical note, packagers have had a difficult time going from box level to item level RFID tags because of margins. But as I understand it the cost is possibly on the order of 3 cents a tag. They are waiting until costs go to a penny a tag. Could you have a special section of the store where people understand that there bill will be inflated by 3 cents per tag? I think many people would be happy to pay 3 to 5 cents a tag just so they can walk through a scanner and do the checkout in a few seconds. People pay a premium to go to convenience stores for a much higher price. It will help jump start this moribund section of the economy.
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