Costco receipt checkers will sometimes make a nice happy face on the back of receipts for kids, which is nice. But you know the power is going to their heads when they reprimand your mentally disabled child, who didn’t start talking until he was 3, for not enunciating “please” and “thank you” clearly enough.


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  1. homerjay says:

    Commenters on that site are citing Best Buy cases where people are legally allowed to just skip by these checkers but I believe we’ve determined that stores like Costco ARE allowed to do this because you agreed to it when you signed up for a membership, right?

  2. markwm says:

    @homerjay: Correct. As part of the agreement at Sam’s or Costco, you accept the check. At public shopping places, there is no such agreement.
    I also wonder if this is exactly as it went down, as the guy is giving a second-hand account of the situation, which had been provided to him by his wife who had already had to deal with two screaming kids on the trip home, so I’m sure her account of the story was not peppered at all.
    More than likely (and I see he has posted an update which says basically this), the receipt checker was just trying to joke around with the child and meant no harm in it.

  3. ptkdude says:

    I *LOVE* refusing to show my receipt to the assholes that guard the door at Best Buy.

    In this case (Costco), I can understand how the parents would be upset. However, there was no way for the guy at Costco to know the kid was retarded. Did he overstep the bounds with what he said? Sure.

    BTW: I seriously dislike the new consumerist layout :-(

  4. doodbugboodles says:

    As a parent of a special needs child I think this is awful, but unfortunately common. I get all sorts of lovely free advice.

    Oh yes and then there was the time that the walmart cashier acutally commented on my disfigured face as though I may not have noticed it existed until she pointed it out to me.

    I love shopping.

  5. Chicago7 says:

    Geez, the wife could have diffused the whole situation by saying the child has a little speech disorder and the cashier probably would have been embarrassed as hell and maybe even gone out of his way to help or give a treat or something.

  6. rjhiggins says:


    I understand how upsetting this was, but I would urge you not to be too hard on the employee. He was trying to have fun with the child, and he thought this would be a clever way. Obviously he failed miserably. But he hardly seems like a bad person, and it doesn’t seem fair to come down on him full force.

    A call to the store manager pointing out the problem and suggesting a talk with the employee? By all means. But please don’t take the advice of those who want you to contact everyone from the media to the president of Costco and get this person fired. We’ve all screwed up before, often in ways even more embarrassing than this.

  7. ncboxer says:

    I would love to try this, but I would rather not have the hassle that these people are going through. If the checkers all were taught it was voluntary and knew not to detain me, I would easily do so. How much time am I wasting handing over my receipt vs. arguing with a checker about seeing my receipt.

    BTW also: I love Consumerist, but I detest the new layout. It was a little broken before in Firefox, it looks really broken now. The worst is the crappy text style. I might have to d/l greasemonkey and change it myself.

  8. infinitysnake says:

    Actually, it annoys me to no end when they give my receipt to my kids..then i have to wrestle it back if I need to keep it. (“But he gave it to ME”)

  9. nequam says:

    @Chicago7: I agree with your suggestion. There was absolutely no way for this guy to know that the child had difficulties, was simply treating the child like any other child (isn’t that how we want it to be?), and made a lame attempt of being playful. The parent is probably (and understandably) defensive about the treatment of the child, but I see no reason to muzzle this guy due to his failure of perception.

  10. chron999x says:

    On the contrary – when we moved to US, my children barely spoke English. Same situation at Costco the door checker insisted on thank you from my kid. I just interjected and said they speak only Spanish. The guy was truly embarrassed at his insistence, apologized to me and my children. Then asked me how to say thanks and please in Spanish. Repeated words until he got it right. This was in 2001, he is now a manager at the same Costco. The gentleman still remembers my family, now walks over every time he sees us and greets us in Spanish.

    Thanks to modern medicine and care, the disabled especially the mentally affected look and behave like anyone else in the society. It is hard to recognize visually who is and who is not mentally affected.

    IMO this was your opportunity to educate the person and build a relationship.

  11. Kbomb says:

    I would rather shop at Costco than most retailers. If the biggest complaint we get about them is a second hand account of an akward cashier, boo hoo.

  12. Alan Thomas says:

    FWIW, just yesterday, I breezed passed one of these folks on my way out of a Costco. She was flabbergasted, but I just kept walkin’.

    Now I’ve got to check that membership agreement…