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The Real Reason Sam’s Club and Costco Check Your Receipts Barbara Ries / Sam's Club

If you’ve ever been to a big-box retailer like Sam’s Club or Costco you are probably aware of the greeters at the doors. One to check your membership card and another to check your receipt on the way out. Given the high ticket items you can buy in the stores (televisions, jewelry, bottles of wine and liquor) I always assumed the exit greeter was in place to spot potential theft. However, according to former employees, the exit greeter isn’t there for loss prevention at all.

According to a Reddit thread, wholesale retailers set up greeters at the door to check for registry errors such as duplicate charges or missed promotions rather than looking for shoplifters. Essentially the greeters are there to quality check you got all of your items that you were charged for.

One Redditor commented that one Exit Greeter saw that they had been charged for a gift card and if they received it (In some places the gift cards are behind glass). If it wasn’t for the Exit Greeter the Redditor would have forgotten his gift card entirely.

Another Redditor, who worked at one of the club stores, shares that they used to count the items in the shopping cart before the customer handed over the receipt. If the cart contained 12 items and the receipt showed a different number, the Exit Greeter would take them aside and look through the receipt to figure out why it’s different. In instances of big hauls (like 30-40 items) the Exit Greeter looks at the bottom of the cart to double check those items didn’t get missed by the cash registers

Furthermore, the Exit Greeter is set up at the exit of the store to provide employees with another opportunity to connect with a shopper. While checking receipts, employees can share upcoming savings events and provide help with your shopping experience.

Former employees share that there is no reason to be huffy and angry while handing over your receipt. According to Sam’s Club, the store reserves “the right to request that members show receipts.” The membership terms also stipulate that they reserve “the right to inspect any container, backpack, briefcase and so forth of any person upon entering or leaving the Club.” Refusing to hand over a receipt will likely end up in a forfeit of your membership.

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Lyndsay Burginger is a food and lifestyle writer as well as the Managing Editor of Wide Open Eats. Lyndsay has worked for companies such as America's Test Kitchen and Disney, and holds degrees in Creative Writing and Culinary Arts. When she's not writing or cooking you can find Lyndsay traveling ...Read more
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