If there’s anywhere hoarders love to shop, it’s the wholesalers like Costco and BJ’s. But now that COVID-19 has thrown Americans into panic-buying mode, Costco has watched as even its never-empty shelves are growing empty. Despite their boat-loads of toilet paper and other household essentials, shoppers are buying Costco out of its supplies, which has caused the company to update its policy before the pandemic affects their bottom line too much.

Costco has started posting a message on their registers that makes it very clear that they’re not going to give any hoarders their money back. If the COVID-19 pandemic goes away by Easter – as President Trump promises it will – these buyers are not going to be able to trade in their extra supplies for cash or credit.

The sign that is posted around on many Costco Wholesale locations is simple. It states:

“Returns will not be accepted on toilet paper, paper towels, sanitizing wipes, water, rice, Lysol.”

The sign then signs off with a simple “Thank you for your understanding,” which is corporate-speak for you’re sh*t out of luck if you want to get money back on the stuff you bought to protect yourself against coronavirus.

Some people hope that by Costco forbidding returns on these items, people will stop buying more than they need because they no longer have the ability to return the product if they don’t use it.

Usually, Costco makes it easy for shoppers to return anything. Because shoppers need a membership in order to be able to shop the shelves at the wholesale establishment, the business tracks everything they buy and know what people’s shopping habits are. It’s a trove of data other companies would die to get their hands on.

Because Costco tracks everything its members do, they know when people are returning too much to the store and costing them more money than they’re worth. At that point, the shopper is put on a watch list and monitored for fraudulent activity. Costco really watches you if you return big-ticket items like TVs and other such things.

During an interview with Business Insider, a spokesperson at Costco said, “In the event a member is not satisfied with Costco merchandise, the membership fees may be refunded, and the membership canceled. This decision is made on a case-by-case basis and is at the discretion of each location manager. Additionally, memberships may be canceled due to abuse of the Member Privileges and Conditions.”

Because panic shoppers have justified their crazed buying habits with the logic that they’ll just return the unused toilet paper or paper towels, Costco wants to let them know that returning these items simply will not be acceptable anymore. Instead of being able to buy, buy, buy more than their fair share, the members will have to think more carefully about what they purchase and only take home what they need for the week or month ahead – not the next few years.

What do you think about Costco’s updated return policy during the coronavirus pandemic?

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