Shopping at Costco requires a different mindset than shopping at more traditional grocery stores. Sure, customers can find many of the same grocery staples sold by everyday chains, but the selection is scaled down so Costco can focus on cost-effective, bulk-sized products. This means that any purchase at Costco holds more weight since you're committing to an item that is meant to last for a longer period of time.
So, how can the less experienced shoppers tell which Costco items aren't worth a big investment without spending the money to sample each product? Just look to the chain's vocal members.
Costco shoppers are happy to sing the praises of the products they love, but they're also not afraid to let fellow members know when a certain item isn't worth their time or money. While tastes and preferences vary widely among every consumer, some Costco items tend to garner much more criticism than their peers.
Here are six items sold by Costco that have been racking up tons of customers complaints lately.
Complaints about Costco's fresh produce are certainly nothing new, but shoppers recently directed a fresh wave of criticism at the retailer's fruits and veggies. It all started when a Costco shopper took to Reddit in May to complain about finding brown lettuce and "squishy" tomatoes in Costco salads. The customer was so disappointed in Costco's salads that they vowed to start making their own from then on, adding that Costco's produce in general tends to either be overripe or far from ripe.
That post has since racked up 140 comments. While some shoppers said they don't have major issues with Costco's produce, many others complained that the fruits and veggies spoil extremely quickly, sometimes days before the "best by" date.
"It's been the spinach for me. It's always on the verge of spoiling. I've had to take it back a couple of times," one customer commented.
"I stopped buying produce at Costco years ago," another said.
Kirkland Signature Bagels
Costco's bakery section tends to generate a lot of positive feedback as it rolls out popular treats like the new S'mores Cookies and seasonal Key Lime Pie. But some recent chatter about one of the chain's staple baked goods was anything but positive.
In a recent Reddit thread that has garnered more than 230 comments, a customer complained that bagels from the Costco bakery molded just a few days after purchase and found that many other members have experienced the same issue. "You are not alone, mine molds like crazy after a day or two," a fellow member commented.
Some shoppers did point out that it might be a sign of higher quality that Costco bagels mold quickly because it likely means they're not packed with preservatives. Others also reported success in extending the shelf life of the bagels by storing them in the fridge or freezer.
Still, the mold issues were enough to put some members off of Costco's bakery bagels completely. "I don't buy Costco bagels because of this," a customer commented.
Just Bare Lightly Breaded Chicken Breast Chunks
Just Bare's Lightly Breaded Chicken Breast Chunks–sold by Costco and a range of other retailers–usually generate a lot of positive feedback. Some customers have even described them as a dupe for the super popular chicken nuggets from Chick-fil-A.
But customers recently reported that the product has either dropped in quality or, at the very least, has some consistency issues. In a May Reddit post, a Costco shopper asked fellow members if Just Bare had changed its recipe for the breading on the chicken chunks. "The coating seems dry and mealy compared to previous batches," the shopper wrote.
The post received dozens of comments from other shoppers, many of whom reported that they'd also noticed a change for the worse with the popular poultry product. "I got hooked on these about a year ago as they were very similar to Chick-fil-A. The last 2 bags I got two months ago were absolutely disgusting and I haven't tried them again since," a customer commented. "Chicken was woody and grey and the breading tasted off. I literally spit out the first bite. No idea why they have such an issue with consistency." Another wrote, "Something changed. I used to eat this religiously and now cannot stand them."
Out of all the Costco items on this list, none have garnered quite as many complaints lately as the new food court mango smoothie. Though this smoothie has already been available at Costco locations in Hawaii for some time, the company began launching it at mainland warehouses a few weeks ago–and much of the reception has been fiercely negative.
Though the smoothie does have some fans, numerous Costco members have taken to Reddit over the past couple of weeks just to share how much they disliked the new smoothie option. Many have compared it to baby food and others reported that it has a "weird flavor." Some members were also put off by the color of the smoothies, some of which turned out more brown than the orange you'd expect in a mango drink.
"I bought one yesterday, took two sips and threw it away," one especially passionate critic wrote in a Reddit thread about the smoothie with more than 750 comments.
Butterball Ground Turkey
Ground turkey is such a major grocery store staple nowadays that it might seem like the type of product that's hard to get wrong. However, customers have major complaints about a Butterball brand ground turkey product sold at Costco. In a May Reddit post, a customer declared that they were done buying Butterball's ground "turkey mush" because of its undesirable texture.
"It's meat paste in a pouch. It sticks to your fingers when you try to handle it and causes a mess. I'll pay the extra to buy at the grocery store to get those nice ribbons that are a signature of ground meat," the customer wrote.
That post has racked up nearly 300 comments from other members, many of whom agreed that the Butterball product left a lot to be desired. "We bought it once and I will not make that mistake again. It was so pasty that the only use for it was dog food," another said.
Unfortunately, the texture of the ground meat wasn't the only complaint from customers. Other customers said they stopped buying the product altogether because they kept finding chunks of bone in the meat.
Certain Real Good Food Products
Like Costco's produce, the frozen meals from Real Good Foods also frequently garner scathing complaints from shoppers. A member triggered a passionate discussion about the brand last month by sharing a picture of Real Good's Lightly Breaded Chicken Breast Strips on Reddit and encouraged customers to "skip" the product.
"Dry meat with no taste…" the customer wrote.
In the more than 80 comments that have piled up since then, some customers took the post as an opportunity to criticize the entire brand. "Everything Real Good has made has been Real Bad. Those green enchiladas they had almost took me out," one shopper wrote, referring to the company's Grande Chicken Enchiladas.
It's important to note that some customers do defend Real Good's products as a decent option for people on special diets, like keto or gluten-free eaters. But others say they don't want to compromise on flavor just because they have to eat under stricter parameters. "I'm not interested in food that is tolerable, or food that is 'good…for something gluten-free.' I want it to be just plain good," a customer wrote in a Reddit thread earlier this year.
Kirkland Bath Tissue
Sacrificing quality when it comes to toilet paper just isn't something that Costco shoppers are willing to do. For that reason, many say that they avoid the Kirkland brand product.
Last month, a shopper posted on Reddit about noticing a decline in quality with the Kirkland Bath Tissue and several shoppers were in wholehearted agreement. They complained that it had become too thin over time and also released tons of particles when they opened a new roll or ripped off a piece.
This isn't the only time that the Kirkland tissue has received these types of complaints from shoppers this year. In another Reddit thread a few months back about the products that members never buy at Costco, the toilet paper product received several mentions.
In the words of one shopper: "Kirkland toilet paper falls apart where you don't want it to fall apart."