The High CostCo of Waste

Bri, of Figs with Bri fame, recently wrote in with a tale of waste. She passed along a story from an acquaintance of hers who worked at a California outlet of bulk retailer CostCo. I’ll let him tell the story: 

One night when I was helping close up the store, I overheard some of the employees who prepared pizzas complain that they had to throw away 20 pizzas that night because they didn’t sell them. They said that if they took one home, Costco would consider it theft and they would be fired.

We have to introduce Costco to the idea of food recovery! It’s sad that the store won’t allow employees to enjoy perfectly good pizzas. But surely they woudln’t mind them enjoying a slice on the go, right?

On another occasion, we had a “party” at the store, because we had met some monthly sales goal. They had pizza and sodas for us in the break room. When we left, one employee tried to walk out with a slice of pizza to take home. One of the managers came up to him and told him that he had to throw it away. He tried to reason with her and she said that it would be stealing if the food left the premises. There was at least 1 1/2 pizzas left after the party that just got thrown out.

Unrelated to food, I had to pass this electronics waste tidbit along. It’s just too shocking:

We sold a LOT of LCD and Plasma screen TV’s. Several times, I would help a customer carry a brand new flat screen TV out to their car, only to have them come back the next day and return it. Another employee, who had worked at Costco for several years, told me that before Super Bowl Sunday they sell a ton of flat screens and the day after, a lot of them are returned.  People just buy them to watch the game and then take them back for a full refund. There is nothing wrong with the TV’s, but due to Costco and the manufacturer’s policies, the brand new TV’s are slapped with a “defective” sticker and destroyed in the trash compactor. While this is happening, the managers are standing by to make sure no one tries to take one home.

No word yet if the store managers strangle baby seals while overseeing the televisions’ destruction.

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