I work at Costco – the psychological tricks they use to get you to spend more and the coded clue that it’s a steal

COSTCO carries everything from hot dogs to hot tubs and is famous for its low prices.

But have you ever wondered how the retail chain that sells to customers and businesses encourages you to spend more than you intended?

A former Costco employee has revealed how the retail chain manages to get its customers to spend more than they intended. Pictured, archive image

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A former Costco employee has revealed how the retail chain manages to get its customers to spend more than they intended. Pictured, archive imageCredit: Alamy
Former Costco employee Rachael revealed secrets about Costco

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Former Costco employee Rachael revealed secrets about CostcoPhoto credit: Channel 5

Well, now you don’t have to because a former Costco employee and retail experts have revealed it all.

As consumer journalist Harry Wallop explains in Channel 5’s Costco: Is It Really Worth It on Wednesday, “The real trick with Costco is you have to go in with a calculator and internet access and just check the prices because it really matters.”

Some things are fantastic value and some things are not good at all.”

Costco, a giant in the cash and carry world, is only available to members of a club — you must be a registered business, VAT registered, or one of a variety of occupations — teacher, frontline worker, lawyer, or accountant.

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Prices start at £15 per year and go up to a whopping £74.40 for a single Executive Membership.

“They’re really trying to make it feel like an exclusive club, like you’re getting access to exclusive bargains on their own branded stuff that you can’t get anywhere else,” adds Harry.

Super shopper Joanna who runs a successful cupcake shop, has a membership card and knows the best deals.

“Two reasons I stop by,” she says. “First of all, of course, you get what you pay for, which is great.”

“But the second main reason is that going back and forth to the shops is a total waste of time and you can’t value your time.”

After years of successful shopping, Jo has dozens of tips for winning at the department stores.

“The most important thing is to plan your shopping before you go,” she advises.

“It’s often so easy to get sucked into those impulse buys that yell at you from every single aisle.”

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“It will save you a lot of time and a lot of money when you get to the checkout.”

Jo also checks the price of the goods she wants to buy to make sure she’s only getting real bargains.

“I definitely recommend locking it till the end of the store — it saves a lot of money and distraction,” she continues.

Retail expert and author Miya Knights also highlights the tricks Costco uses to encourage customers to spend the money.

“They tend to put staples like milk and bread and the toilet paper at the back…they put their big wow items at the front to distract you,” she points out.

And while the aisles have numbers, there are no signs inside the store.

“The layout is pretty chaotic, so as a member you have to go exploring every time,” she continues.

“It’s absolutely their goal that you walk out with something you didn’t mean to buy.”

However, it’s not always easy to resist the temptation when the store puts unexpected items in your eye line.

“That’s the genius of this very odd layout – there are endless opportunities for impulse buying,” says Harry.

“Just as you’re turning the corner looking for bread or butter, you find a pair of knickers on sale and you’re like, ‘Oh, I need some new knickers,’ and then they go in the basket.'”

Adds former Costco cashier Rachael, “The one thing I used to hear most often was, ‘I just came in for one thing.’ You used to just laugh and then they spent over £100.”

She goes on to reveal that if you’re in the know, there are super encrypted clues that could bring prices down even more.

“If you see 97p at the bottom of the price, that means there’s been a discount,” says Miya.

Rachael goes on to explain: “It could be reduced to this one from full price, so it could have been £20 and reduced to £9.97.”

Miya also notes that the labels themselves contain a bit of secret code.

“For example, if you see an asterisk, it means it’s out of stock,” she says.

The former Costco checkout clerk confirms, “What’s gone is gone—that’s the last remaining inventory.

https://www.the-sun.com/lifestyle/5520926/i-work-at-costco-how-they-sell-stuff-cheap/ I work at Costco – the psychological tricks they use to get you to spend more and the coded clue that it’s a steal

Jessica MacLeish

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