Ode To The Costco Baggers

Jeanie writes:

I don’t know where I should be sending this but I wanted to compliment two excellent Costco employees. This was Friday, January 18th at the Roseville, CA store on Stanford Ranch Road. The checker was Marilyn, who was fast, efficient and friendly.

Very pleasant personality. The young man assisting, bagging, etc. was named Pierce. What a fast-working guy. He had items off the belt and into the carts in the blink of an eye. All the while being friendly and extremely efficient. He was quick but careful in not slamming things around.

I think great employees should be told of the appreciation we have for them in doing such a good job. I believe these two employees are a credit to this store.

Sincerely,
Jeanie R.
Lincoln, CA

Sometimes it’s the little things like swift packing of a customer’s bags that make all the difference in turning a decent shopping experience into a great one. Well-paid consultants call this “the last mile,” and it’s often where companies fall down in their customer service. We just call it, “hey, thanks.” Kudos to you, Costco of Roseville CA. We don’t buy butter by the railroad car, but if we did, we would certainly frequent your fine establishment.

(Photo: miss_rogue)

Comments

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  1. phospholipid says:

    costco, is there anything you can’t do?

  2. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Costco employees are treated well, are paid well, and get decent benefits. Perhaps happy employees result in better customer service?

  3. jacknval says:

    Is it still called bagging if they don’t use a bag? Should it be called “carting”, perhaps?

  4. Imaginary_Friend says:

    They use enviro friendly cardboard boxes — and last week I noticed they’re rolling out some new re-useable canvas bags. I didn’t inspect them up close, but they looked ginormous.

  5. SOhp101 says:

    No, Costco baggers suck. Whenever I bring my insulated bag, they put everything in the incorrect order (frozen items in the bottom, then meats, then produce–only putting meats in the same carrying package as the rest since they’re well sealed) and whenever they load the boxes they put everything in unevenly, so I end up having to do it myself.

    @jacknval: They do have bags at costco, but most still use the boxes 75% of the time.

  6. thekicker says:

    Goddamn I love Costco.

    I was recently on a Cruise that left out of Miami. While touring around Miami, I went to see what their Costco was like. It was VERY busy. I managed to pick up a ton of wine (I was like a kid in a candy store – you can only buy wine at the state store). While waiting in line, a very friendly staffer asked if we’d like to be “pre-checked.” We never heard of this before, so we agreed to it. The gentleman chatted with us while he scanned our items with a wireless scanner. We were about 6th in line. He printed up a receipt from the scanner and told us to give it to the cashier. What a great idea! We simply paid and left. What looked like it would take 25 minutes took only 2!

    It was like a well-oiled machine.

  7. harshmellow says:

    I hope she took the time to contact the store’s manager to let them know how happy she is with the service provided by their employees, and didn’t only send her kudos to Consumerist.

  8. MercuryPDX says:

    I don’t know where I should be sending this but I wanted to compliment two excellent Costco employees.

    The store manager is a good start. :)

  9. kenyo says:

    Perhaps the employees in Roseville should take a trip down to Marina del Rey (CA) and give them training in customer service? That location is by far the WORST Costco I have been to, with attitude problems, lack of product knowledge/common sense/urgency, and generally apathetic.
    Kudos to Roseville!!

  10. kenyo says:

    PS- As a person who has worked many years in the service industry, I stongly encourage consumers with great shopping experiences to pause and let a manager know on the way out. About 99% (literally!) of consumer input is negative, so positive reviews are well-received and noted.
    Find out the helper’s name so that they specifically can be given appreciation. This helps with employee reviews (and thus employee retention), and also evens out the occasional complaint from an irrational or crazy customer. And the best thing of all– compliments like these get you remembered by employees and ensure ongoing great customer service to YOU!

  11. rjhiggins says:

    @Imaginary_Friend: The new, environmentally shopping bags are awesome. You buy a 3-pack for a few bucks, and they’re huge but strong enough to hold plenty. Bring them with you each time and you don’t have to deal with crushing and recycling boxes.

    The problem I generally have with canvas bags is that they are too small to really hold enough groceries.

  12. jonnyobrien says:

    @Kenyo

    I’ll see your Marina Del Ray and raise you Westbury/Carle Place, NY. The store is small and is staffed full of idiots. I have watched the manager be rude to customers in line waiting for returns. The cashiers yell at you unless you hand them your card. And the worst part is the general filthiness of the store. There seem to be plenty of employees, just none of them actually working.

    The employees you do come across are the rudest, nastiest bunch I have ever come across in a Costco. I have often wondered if that store is populated by Wal-Mart employees.

    The store 10 minutes away in Melville, NY is night and day to the Westbury store. I’ve been to Costco’s on three continents and the Westbury store is hands down the worst in the chain. I hope the Marina Del Ray store is better than the Westbury store. Even if I am in Westbury, I will leave and drive to the Melville store rather than put myself through the suck that is the Costco Westbury.

  13. eightfifteen says:

    If you really want to compliment these employees, call the store manager and tell him/her that you appreciate the work. Managers almost never get positive calls, so this will catch them off guard, and the employees will benefit.

  14. samurailynn says:

    @ PHOSPHOLIPID

    Are you my long lost friend from high school? I swear that was her mantra.

  15. IndyJaws says:

    I’ll continue in the love fest and give props to the Castleton Costco in Indianapolis. Always clean, cashiers and baggers very friendly, customer service quite professional. Yay to them.

  16. quiksilver says:

    Costco kicks ass and have never had a bad experience there.

    I would second eightfifteen by informing the store manager of the great service.

  17. m4ximusprim3 says:

    Yeah, they started pre-checking at our local (vista, ca) store, and man- why doesn’t everyone do this? we used to have horiffic lines and now two pre-checkers can wail down the lines at 5 different registers and everying moves like the wind.

    Add decent prices and friendly staff, and you get my membership dollars like clockwork.

  18. Kbomb says:

    Costco is fantastic! I have to believe the customer service experience is at least in part due to the fact that the employees make a living wage.

  19. Nissan288 says:

    I used to work at Costco in Portland as a bagger. Good pay for a short term job and people worked hard, but weren’t complete douches about being perfect on everything.

    I know for a fact that the cashiers during peak times of the day need to get out around an average of 40 customers an hour (some cashiers I bagged for averaged around 55) in order to maintain their quota. So us baggers had to be fast with the moving and the scanning and the bagging or else we got yelled at by the cashiers. We are only given a cursory lesson on the science of packing, so some of the guys suck and others don’t. I learned fast and I knew this wasn’t a pernament job so I was pretty enthusiastic about it and I did pretty well.

    I think during my time there I only had one cashier I couldn’t work with but we got along fine when I wasn’t partnered with her during cleanup. I love shopping there and work there isn’t bad either.

  20. ARPRINCE says:

    Costco is the bestest!

  21. motoraway says:

    @SOhp101:

    Right, it’s their fault that don’t package it how your OCD dictates.

  22. The Great Aussie Evil says:

    Novato, CA. Even with the construction work going on, the guys there are very friendly, concerned about consumer happiness, etc.

  23. adamondi says:

    @SOPH101 – Goodness gracious. Obsess much? Your complaint does not warrant a “Costco baggers suck” comment simply because they were not able to satisfy your intricate and unreasonable grocery-bagging demands. Perhaps you should provide a diagram or something for the next bagger you get at Costco. Or perhaps you should just rearrange everything yourself. After all, unless you tip your bagger, don’t expect him or her to know the exact order in which you want your items placed in your insulated bag.

  24. camille__ says:

    As a citizen of Roseville, CA, I am very suprised. Most (78%) of the time customer service is lacking in many of our local businesses. It is nice to know that at least someone was happy with their customer service. Now if Costco could just train out Best Buy, and every store with in the Galleria Mall.

  25. iaintgoingthere says:

    All my friends think I’m some type of weirdo because I love Costco.
    I guess my friends are stupid for not shopping at Costco.

  26. gingerCE says:

    Why is this on Consumerist? I am a long time Costco member and I have the seen good employees and dealt with terrible employees. All stores have them–why is this news? What about the Costco identity theft story going on in Tracy, CA where even employees are having their bank accounts emptied? Or a Costco story on how you’d have to wait eternity to get customer service from an employee if you have a question on an item in the store? Or maybe about the time when I tried to order something online–advertised to be on sale until a certain date (but of course sold out) the day I ordered even though the advertisement had it stated on sale for another week, then called to inquire and when I told them I thought it was false advertisement, I was hung up on? Oh yes, Consumerist, as a long time Costco member, I can give you lots of good horror stories on Costco from their moldy fruit to their supposedly easy return policy. Much juicier stories than this one.

  27. gingerCE says:

    @kenyo: I haven’t been to the Marina del Rey Costco, but I frequent the Venice Costco–and the employees are so rude and unhelpful. It is definitely one of the worst. Maybe it comes down to management in the store.

  28. gingerCE says:

    @jonnyobrien: I second you too. The rudest employees I have ever dealt with have been at Costco–like the time I was hung up on, the time a cashier grabbed my pen from me without asking while I was writing a check, the time I waited and waited for someone to help me after asking several employees to help me, and don’t get me started on their returns desk–it is a nightmare. The only company I have ever written a complaint to is Costco.

  29. JeffM says:

    Hmmm… must be that irrational or crazy customer we heard about earlier.

    @SOhp101:
    You sound like my dad, he is nuts and expects everyone to be as a crazy as he is. As the others said… when you need things just so you’re generally going to end up DIY’ing.

    Best of luck.

  30. gingerCE says:

    @kenyo: Oops–it is the Marina del Rey I used to go to (for some reason I thought that was Venice,) I TOTALLY AGREE with you. The Marina del Rey Costco has some of the rudest employees and terrible customer service.

    Everytime I went there I had to mentally prepare myself to do combat with the employees. It is really bad.

  31. jackelmatador says:

    @m4ximusprim3: I too go to the Vista, CA store and have not experienced the pre-checkout. Maybe because I avoid going on the weekend like I avoid the plague (seriously you have to wait for a parking spot). However going on a weekday night around 7:00-8:00 and it is a very pleasent experience.

    I have returned a few things a Costco, one of them something I broke (the stand to one of their fake trees) and just wanted to know were to buy a new one and they said we will just give you a full refund, I did not even have my receipt!!!!

  32. jonworld says:

    Good Job Costco! but Comsumerist, you might want to change the title, cause last time I checked, Costco doesn’t bag stuff, they just throw it in your cart (because everything is already in huge boxes).

  33. bearymore says:

    Not to beat a dead horse, but the Marina del Rey and Venice Costcos are one and the same store — the Culver City Costco. I’ve had nothing but good experiences there.

  34. Nissan288 says:

    I’d also like to add to those who were having really crappy experiences in California that only the California stores have unions…

  35. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    I belonged to Sam’s Club before Costco came to Chicago & Sam’s in Evanston had pre-checkout 10 years ago.
    The only difference was you had your card scanned with the portable scanner & then your cart was scanned. Then when you got to the cashier, you just gave you card to the cashier & you were told your total & paid. No paper receipt until then.
    Amazing that a Wally World subsidiary had this then.

  36. Empire says:

    @nissan288: I’d also like to add to those who were having really great experiences in California (and almost invariably attributed it to the fact that Costco employees are better-paid and have decent benefits) that only the California stores have unions.

  37. lovelygirl says:

    Good! It’s nice to hear some good things happening instead of complaints all the time. I agree, tell the manager, then they’ll encourage that kind of behavior from all their employees!

  38. lastfm says:

    OMG, this is my freaking job, just for Texas’ grocer. At least I get to manage these people. I saw this happen a couple nights ago and spoke with the checker personally. I told her just how important little things like these are. We can never have too much positive feedback.

  39. zolielo says:

    @bearymore: Yes Culver City. I know it so well… No problems others than the fuel station is a pain to get into.

  40. rjhiggins says:

    @gingerCE: It’s unfortunate you’ve run into some of Costco’s less helpful employees (I’ll assume that explanation, rather than assuming that it could be something about you). But given the overwhelming number of commenters praising Costco (not just in this posting but many others on Consumerist) your experiences appear to be in a distinct minority.

  41. Unnamed Source says:

    My wife and I discovered the Costco enviro friendly ginormous bags last year on a visit to California and were truly amazed at how much stuff we were able to fit into them. When we brought them to the flagship store in Issaquah, WA, we got lots of questions about where to get them. A few months later and we’re pleased to see they’re available here in Costco’s home state now as well. They work much better than boxes for the small foodstuffs and pharmacy items.

  42. gingerCE says:

    @rjhiggins: Maybe, but when I tell people my Costco horror stories, I’ve heard people tell me they never heard it so bad–although I think there are some worse horror stories here on Consumerist. I actually believe I am a reasonable person–the only store I have ever lodged a complaint to is Costco–it’s the only store where I’ve had to talk with a store manager–the only store that has deservedly earned my apathy. I like my local Target, local grocery stores, even my local Wal-mart is nice. When I’ve talked to the Costco 1800 customer service in the past, the 1800 people have been amazed at why I was treated the way I was–and I didn’t lodge a complaint when the clerk grabbed my pen (which shocked me) or the moldy fruit–I lodged a complaint when they treated me like a thief for returning an item I bought but for some reason scanned twice–(one time was voided). I was told I could not return the item until I returned the second item because it was clear I got it for free according to them. I was like–what? That was the first of many unfriendly return moments. Or the time I could not return a gift (unopened in original packaging) because I did not buy it and even though it was a gift, I could not return it with my Costco card–only the original purchaser could. I was like–what? I actually told the manager he needed to train his employees if an item is rung up twice and then voided once on my receipt, it doesn’t me I received an item for free.

  43. gingerCE says:

    @rjhiggins: Of course, when I mention the Costco 1800 number, that doesn’t count the time they hung up on me.

  44. brennie says:

    What is this Costco Westside LA confusion? The only Costco in Marina, Venice, and Culver is the one on Washington (per the website). Regardless of individual experiences, that place is packed all day every day, which is what it boils down to for the company. I HATE that parking lot so very much….

  45. FLConsumer says:

    Too bad there’s no Costco stores within reasonable range of where I live. Kind of odd considering there’s a BJ’s & 2 Sam’s clubs within 5 miles of here.

  46. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @motoraway: Well, part of that is just wanting to get your food home without it spoiling. Hence the insulated bags as opposed to regular bags.

    However,
    @SOhp101: I would have thought that meat and frozen items jumbled together at the bottom wouldn’t be that bad. Are they putting in non-cold stuff instead of meat and frozen items?

  47. Imaginary_Friend says:

    @rjhiggins: Thanks for the info; I think I’m going to pick some up during my next trip.

    I had one negative experience at my local Costco a few years back. I’d just bought new Rx glasses and sunglasses; the next day Costco’s coupon book arrived in the mail with a coupon for $50 off the exact purchase I’d made. Went back to the store and presented the coupon with my receipt, explained the situation, and politely asked for a price adjustment. The optical clerk refused, so I asked for the store manager.

    I guess the regular store manager wasn’t in, so the new assistant came over and proceeded to argue with me [in front of a dozen or so customers] for nearly 15 minutes about why I wasn’t going to get an adjustment (mind you, the glasses hadn’t even been made yet). I told him to cancel my order and I’d get my glasses somewhere else. He rolls his eyes and tells the clerk, “Go ahead.”

    I figured this guy’s bad attitude was an anomaly and didn’t bother to complain, but by the time I went back to Costco (a week later), he’d already been terminated.

    FYI, calling is fine, but when you have a good customer service experience somewhere, it’s usually better to write a quick note and email or snail mail it. Higher ups love that. It goes into the person’s file and that info is sometimes used to decide who gets promoted.

    ________________________

    Jim Sinegal
    Chief Executive Officer
    Email: jsinegal@costco.com

    Karen Paulsell
    Administrative Assistant to Jim Sinegal
    Direct phone: 425-313-8565
    Fax: 425-313-8103
    Email: kpaulsell@costco.com

  48. Imaginary_Friend says:

    Btw, I’m not affiliated with Costco in any way – just a happy customer. I did, however, put myself through college working retail so I really appreciate good customer service when I encounter it.

  49. Lee2706 says:

    LA people – the Marina/Venice/Mar Vista/somewhere Costco is in Culver City. Culver City has a weird narrow city border that dog-legs west along Washington Blvd.

    That being said, that is the most effed up parking lot in all the Costcos I’ve been to. The entrance off Glencoe is fine, as long as entering drivers remember to KEEP MOVING. Trying to queue for the light getting out is another story, plus dealing with that damned In-N-Out.

    I usually go at like 8:00pm weekdays to avoid the crowds. At one point, the easiest Costco to find parking was the one in Inglewood. Big lot, shared with nobody, and when I lived in I’wood, hardly any customers, even in the middle of the day. They added a gas station and a Target and Home Depot opened up across the street, so perhaps there is more traffic nowadays.

  50. hoyagrrrl says:

    Consumerist does a worst company of the year survey, but have they ever done one for best? I’m pretty sure Costco would rank highly and I’m curious to see which others would come recommended by the readership.

  51. rikkus256 says:

    I’ve always have good experience shopping at the 3 Costcos near my home. Usually great customer service, and their return policy is the best on earth. (Just don’t abuse it, people)