What Exactly Is The 'Go-Back' Cart At Costco?

You're strolling leisurely up and down the aisles of your local grocery store when suddenly your wheels stop rolling and your head tilts to the side. "That was a choice," you think to yourself as you continue walking, puzzled that someone thought it was a good idea to insert an unwanted gallon of milk on a shelf next to all the toilet paper. It's an unfortunately common occurrence to spot random produce far from its proper grocery shelf home. Though, it's even more unfortunate that the store's employees have to hunt down these scattered items and either put them in their rightful places or toss them altogether. According to a grocery shopping etiquette survey from Treadmill Reviews, 97% of shoppers surveyed find it annoyingly inappropriate when perishable items are left in the wrong place.

We get it, taking the time to put your grocery products back where you found them is no doubt a hassle unless you are one to go the extra mile. Costco has an easy solution to this problem if members would be so kind as to utilize it. The popular bulk grocery chain wants you to make the decision to discard once you're ready to checkout rather than leaving its employees a chaotic trail of spoiled goods to find later. As an exercise in common decency, remember to look for Costco's 'go-back' cart to dump your undesirables into instead.

Using the 'go-back' cart prevents product loss

Costco is notoriously huge, so it's no wonder the company started placing a designated cart near the registers specifically for unwanted items. Not only is it a more efficient way for employees to put everything back in one go, it helps them keep track of perishable items that need to be returned to the refrigerated or frozen aisles to keep from spoiling. Grocery store employees discussed this mildly infuriating occurrence in a Reddit post, where one user explained, "My store kept tally of not only shrinkage (theft) but also written off items (cold stuffs places on a shelf) and yearly it was many hundreds of thousands of dollars. Somebody has to pay for it, and thus prices rise."

Tess Robison, a Costco employee, expressed how these misplaced items cause more than just a slight inconvenience for the store as a whole. She says, "This costs us more money, time, and energy when members do this rather than just bringing the item up with them to checkout" (via Insider). Out of all the rude things to do at grocery stores, this one isn't that hard to remedy if Costco members collectively do their part to reduce their losses.

Similar to the shopping cart theory, which acknowledges that returning your shopping cart is objectively the right thing to do, taking advantage of the 'go-back' cart's easy, convenient placement is an easy thing a conscious Costco shopper can do.