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10 Costco Items Garnering Thousands of Customer Complaints This Fall

Like every grocery chain, Costco carries products that some fans can't get behind.

Costco takes pride in carefully screening all of the grocery products it sells. And in many instances, this has proven to be a winning formula for the company. Costco has no shortage of fan-favorite meals, snacks, baked goods, and frozen items gracing its shelves.

However, that doesn't mean that Costco has a flawless track record when it comes to its grocery selection. Like any other grocery chain, the retailer carries products that customers just can't get behind due to the quality, taste, price, or a combination of factors. Using input from Costco's very vocal community of shoppers, we've rounded up the items that have been garnering lots of criticism to give shoppers an idea of the most complaint-plagued items right now.

It's important to remember that everyone's tastes vary, so one member may love a product that others dislike. However, these are all items that have received many complaints over the same issues, so their problems probably come down to more than just personal preferences.

Here are 10 Costco items garnering the most customer complaints this fall.

Kirkland Signature American Vodka

Kirkland Signature American Vodka
ZikG / Shutterstock

This past summer, Costco's popular Kirkland Signature American Vodka suffered from a sudden and puzzling downturn in quality. In several threads that racked up dozens or hundreds of comments each, customers complained that newer bottles of the vodka inexplicably tasted like Flintstone vitaminsacetone, and even chemicals.

"It's terrible. Couldn't get past the first sip. I knew it smelled off, but the taste was even worse. Never again," a customer commented on one of the complaint threads.

Costco ultimately sent out a notice to customers acknowledging the quality issues with certain bottles of the vodka and offered refunds to customers who weren't satisfied with it. While the company didn't explain why the vodka tasted strange, an alleged regional office employee claimed it was because the vodka was infused with rum flavors while being transported in a container that wasn't completely cleaned.

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Kirkland Signature Batteries

Kirkland Signature batteries

Most people have probably had to deal with leaky batteries at some point in their lives. But when it comes to Costco's Kirkland Signature batteries, members report that leaks have become an all too common occurrence. 

In two recent Reddit threads racking up hundreds of comments apiece, customers complained that the batteries are consistently lacking in quality. Some said that the leaks have been so bad in some instances that they damaged or destroyed their electronics.

"Kirkland wrecked a kind of expensive flashlight of mine. Never again," one member wrote on Reddit.

"Costco batteries are the only consistently awful products Costco puts their name on," another wrote in another thread.

Of course, there are others who say they've never had a problem with these batteries. But the complaints are far too plentiful to dismiss it as a limited issue.

Snapdragon Chicken Pad Thai

Snapdragon Chicken Pad Thai

For pad Thai lovers, it might seem tempting to pick up a pre-made version of the noodle dish to enjoy when you don't want to grab takeout or make it yourself. However, there's a pretty big consensus among Costco shoppers that the Snapdragon Chicken Pad Thai isn't worth your hard-earned money.

Customers not only criticized the item, but the entire Snapdragon brand in a Reddit thread last month that built up a couple dozen comments. The member who started the thread complained that the noodles are thin and soggy, while the overall dish didn't really taste like pad Thai.

"Pad Thai just isn't good out of a box or in a pre-made grocery store meal," a Redditor commented.

This wasn't the first time that Costco members have slammed the taste and quality of the pad thai. In another thread earlier this year that racked up 80 comments, a customer set off a wave of complaints for the same item after giving it "two thumbs down."

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Kirkland Signature Toilet Paper

Kirkland Bath Tissue

While name brands aren't always the best you can buy, there are some cases when you'd be better off avoiding the generic versions of products. A key example is the Kirkland Signature Bath Tissue. Members say that while Costco's house brand toilet paper used to be pretty dependable, there was a major downturn in quality for the item in recent months.

In a recent Reddit thread that has racked up more than 250 comments, for example, members complained that the toilet paper isn't as soft as it used to be, tears too easily, and is extra linty now. For those reasons, many have completely given up on the Kirkland item.

"I used to always buy Kirkland brand [toilet paper]. But not anymore…it's not very good anymore," a customer commented.

Food Court Roast Beef Sandwich

Roast beef sandwich at Costco
Chris Shott/Eat This, Not That!

Few Costco items have generated as much controversy this year as the food court roast beef sandwich. Customers first spotted the item at a Lynnwood, Wash., warehouse back in February and were immediately outraged over the $9.99 price for the item, mostly because other items on the Costco food court menu are almost shockingly cheap.

Despite the backlash, Costco began adding the roast beef sandwich to even more warehouses over the summer. This sparked a fresh wave of criticism as members took aim at the retailer in Reddit threads that racked up hundreds of complaints apiece.

"With a price point like this, I hope it fails hard. I want to see them introduce more delicious, low-priced food items," a customer wrote in one of these threads.

"$10.00 for a roast beef sandwich from Costco? That's a rip-off. I'll pass," a member commented on a separate thread about the sandwich.

These comments are only a taste of the widespread vitriol that has been directed at the sandwich.

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Kirkland Signature Dishwasher Pacs

Kirkland Signature dishwasher pods

There seems to be a pattern of complaints revolving around Kirkland Signature cleaning products. In a recent Reddit thread where members shared the Kirkland products that they think are inferior to name brands, the Kirkland Signature Dishwasher Pacs received several mentions. Entire Reddit threads discussing issues with the dishwasher pods have also popped up in recent months, racking up dozens of comments apiece.

The biggest complaints about the pods are that they don't dissolve completely and leave unwanted marks or residue on dishes.

"People consistently complain about the quality of these tablets and the complaints are warranted," a customer commented on one of the threads.

Mission Hill Bistro Smoked Beef Brisket Burnt Ends

Mission Hill Bistro Burnt Ends

Mission Hill Bistro's Smoked Beef Brisket Burnt Ends have turned into quite a divisive product. On one hand, some shoppers have raved that these are "surprisingly good" for pre-made barbecue from the grocery store. On the other hand, there's another extremely vocal group of shoppers whose feelings about the product are the exact opposite.

For example, customers heavily criticized the product in a Reddit thread over the summer that garnered a whopping 700 comments.

"Burnt ends are great; however, these ones from Costco have a horrible taste and are chewy, I wouldn't recommend them. Definitely go to a legit BBQ place and get real ones," one critic wrote.

"These were awful. Never again," another said.

Even some of the people who enjoy the taste of the burnt ends have complained that the meat quantity isn't good enough for the price.

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Kirkland Signature Organic Ground Beef

Kirkland Signature Organic Ground Beef

Can ground beef really be too "ground?" It certainly can—at least according to Costco shoppers. An unpleasant texture was one of several issues that shoppers brought up in a recent Reddit thread where they complained about the Kirkland Signature Organic Ground Beef.

"It's overground to the point of having no texture," one customer lamented.

The texture, however, isn't the only major issue that members cited while criticizing the meat product. One jaded member swore off the ground beef completely after purportedly finding a couple of "larvae-looking things" in the meat.

"Greasy. Tastes weird. I can get organic grass-fed beef at my local grocery store a little bit cheaper and it tastes much better," another wrote.

Fresh Produce

Costco fresh produce
Trong Nguyen / Shutterstock

Costco's fresh produce has been plagued by a very long running complaint. Customers say it tends to spoil or grow moldy pretty quickly after it gets home. And because Costco sells pretty much everything in bulk quantities, using the produce up before it goes bad is a much harder task.

Customers have been complaining about these issues since at least last year, mostly in Reddit threads garnering dozens or more than 100 comments. The issue recently came up again on the discussion board after shopper complained that produce on Costco's shelves was already rotting.

"Stopped buying produce from Costco a long time ago. I think this is the main thing they can improve on," a shopper commented.

"Costco has the worst produce. Every time," another said.

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Rana Beef & Short Rib Lasagna

Rana Beef & Short Rib Lasagna

Like the burnt ends, the Rana Beef & Short Rib Lasagna is another Costco item that has sharply divided members. On the one hand, some say that the lasagna has been a crowd-pleaser whenever they've served it. However, an equally vocal group of customers have some major qualms about the item. One critic triggered a passionate discussion about the lasagna recently when they took to Reddit to report that it was "not good."

"Baked it in the oven and it came out really watery and the rib meet bits felt like I was eating canned dog food. It kind of tasted like a wet dog too," the customer wrote.

The thread racked up nearly 90 comments, many from other shoppers who also criticized the taste and texture. (Similar complaints emerged in another thread over the summer with more than 140 comments.)

"Agree. Bought this one and never again. The short rib was like a meat paste," one member commented.

Zoe Strozewski
Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe