How To Request Fresh Replacements At Costco's Food Court

A membership has its privileges. That's certainly the case at Costco's incredible food courts, where food items are served up at sometimes shockingly low prices. The best example of this is Costco hot dogs, which have been served along with sodas at the same low price ($1.50 for the combo) for almost 40 years. But the rotisserie chicken is cheap, too (only $4.99), as are other signature items. How is this possible? Costco controls costs through ownership. It makes its own all-beef hot dogs, for example, and sources chickens from its own farms.

The wonders of the Costco food court are legion. But it's not just low food court prices on high-quality items that make membership at the big box warehouse club such a bargain. Yes, membership has other privileges, too, including the right to ask for a replacement on any food court item that wasn't prepared to your satisfaction, whether because of temperature or any other reason. They won't charge you for it, either. Just remember to use the magic word when you go back for the replacement. Yes, the magic word is still the same: Please. That's all that's needed. 

Food falls under Costco's "Risk-free 100% Satisfaction Guarantee" for all members. It covers food and just about everything else — including membership itself — although there are a few notable exceptions, like alcohol and jewelry. Go figure.

Costco's customer service policy, and why it's amazing

Costco's basic membership fee is $60 per year, and given the perks involved, that's a bargain. Not only because couples can use the same membership card (if they live together, that is), effectively making each membership half-price. But also because Costco offers some hard-to-beat privileges. The customer service guarantee is one of them, of course.

Costco will only accept returns on electronic items for three months, but this is one of a few specific exceptions to the company's expansive customer service guarantee. In most cases, items are guaranteed without time constraints, and no reasons have to be given for their return. This includes food items, and indeed membership itself, since the annual fee can be canceled one day before it expires if you decide you don't want to pay for it.

However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when returning items at the Costco food court. One is that you can't eat half the slices from your Costco 18-inch pizza for $9.95 and then go back and ask for another because the first wasn't to your liking. Technically, you'll get away with it, as Costco's policy is that at least half the item must be returned. But eating half a large pizza before deciding you want another for free is pretty clearly an abuse of the very generous customer service guarantee, and too many of these abuses can result in a revoked Costco membership.

Do not abuse your Costco privileges, or your membership may be revoked

Costco doesn't require receipts for most returns, but it's a club, so it keeps track of its members of their purchases. If there's a problematic pattern of behavior regarding returns, Costco will take note. So don't abuse your privilege to return grocery or food court items, as Costco does reserve the right to pull your membership.

That's another good reason to say please, although Costco isn't taking undue advantage of this option, any more than its customers are taking undue advantage of their ability to cancel memberships right before they expire. Costco's worldwide renewal rate for memberships is over 90%. The company offers great customer service across the board, and its members are obviously appreciative.

Its food court employees also offer great service, meeting the standard of all etiquette codes of conduct, in that they show respect and consideration towards others. It's only proper, then, that members adhere to the same etiquette standards, and exhibit polite and considerate behavior to employees during the rare return of an unsatisfactory food item. Say please, and maybe a silent thank you to Costco for those cheap and delicious food court favorites. It really does have some amazing deals.