Costco Shoppers Are Relating To This Hilarious Rotisserie Chicken

Sometimes we must stand in awe. At least, that's how one person in the Costco subreddit felt when they learned that someone appeared to have beaten the company at its own loss leader game.

"I watched a man push a cart out of Costco with only a rotisserie chicken and his receipt," the original poster described. "I aspire to have that level of self control." The rotisserie chicken is famous among the Costco membership because it only costs $4.99 for a whole cooked chicken. As The Kitchn explains, this is part of the company's loss leader strategy. What that means is Costco is willing to lose money by underpricing their chicken because by the time you pick up the chicken and reach the cash register, you should have miraculously noticed other things you need. So, you end up spending much more than just $4.99 and they make their lost money back.

However, the strategy does not work if you don't buy anything else. "I've been known to go in, order the hot dog and drink, and leave," one commenter boasted. "It can be done. Just don't look up." The OP responded, asking "But did you push a cart all the way across the store to the very end of the store? I would have to close my eyes and hope people move out of my way to accomplish that self control." 

Taking advantage of Costco's strategy

The responses to the Reddit post describing a man leaving Costco with just a rotisserie chicken divided themselves into two camps. One group can be represented by the comment, "Hell off a self-control.. Salute for the guy!!" The other claims a similar level of self-control: "went to Costco to buy salt. Do I get recognition?"

In fact, it is a reasonably large proportion of responses said they were rarely swayed by random Costco items. It makes one wonder how much money is lost due to the Costco rotisserie chicken. The answer is probably in the millions of dollars. In 2020, Snopes fact-checked the claim that Costco does indeed lose millions to keep the rotisserie chicken priced at $4.99. What they concluded was that in 2015, the company's chief financial officer did claim that they would spend $30 to $40 million per year to keep the chicken's price down. However, they could not find any concrete details about what the company in fact spent.

That said, CNN covered in 2019 how Costco was driven to invest $450 million in a Nebraska-based chicken plant. The idea is that by controlling the production of the rotisserie chicken from egg to plastic container, Costco could cut enough costs to keep the price they charge at $4.99. However, as shown by the Reddit thread, some people are able to leave the store with nothing but the chicken.