5 Tricks for Shopping at Costco Right Now, Straight from Store Employees
Working at a grocery store during the coronavirus pandemic is tough for a bunch of reasons, not least of which is the mental and physical health risks presented by COVID-19. Ever wonder what these workers would like the world to know about shopping amid the spread? A reporter at Business Insider polled a number of Costco employees and revealed specific tricks to have the best possible experience at the national retail chain.
Grocery store shopping during the coronavirus outbreak is a physical and emotional journey. Now that facial covering and masks are required in many places across the nation—and visiting the supermarket requires close interaction with many other people—stocking up on food and dry goods is fraught with peril at every turn.
Luckily, some generous Costco employees are offering some common sense tricks to make your trip to the retail giant as efficient and pleasant as possible.
Get there early.
Like all grocery stores, Costco locations are at their cleanest and most stocked at the start of the day. Many Costco locations have started hosting seniors-only hours and special hours for first responders. If you don't fall into those categories, and those hours are not off-limits in your area, going to Costco as early as you can may lessen your interaction with others, and help you get the products you want. Early birds get the worm… and the toilet paper!
Make a grocery list and stick to it.
Before you head out, make sure you have everything you need: reusable shopping bags, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes. Make a very detailed list of the groceries you need, and if possible, order it by how you navigate your local store's aisles. Limiting your time in the store limits your risk of picking up any contagion. Fomites are particulates that put you at risk, and can exist on door handles and shop counters, so don't be afraid to hand-sanitize or disinfect anything you need to touch.
Presuming you don't need to also keep an eye on your children, try to go shopping alone. The more people that are in the store, the higher the risk. And, since we are trying to limit all interactions, having to chase down a rogue toddler serves no one's best interests at this time.
Plan for bottled water limits.
The coronavirus outbreak has led Costco to place limits on some essential products. While toilet paper quotas have taken the headlines, many are surprised to learn that it also applies to bottled water. Costco employees recommend purchasing water filter systems, which also save the planet.
Buy packaged items—like protein bars—over perishable goods.
A Texas Costco employee recommended that packaged goods like protein bars, that have a longer shelf life, are ideal during these times when you should be reducing the number of grocery runs. But, given that packaged foods aren't necessarily healthy, an Illinois employee recommended that people who buy perishables should "buy vacuum-tight bags to preserve food." Adding, "purchases of that item have recently spiked in his store."
We made a list of the worst grocery stores to visit during the coronavirus outbreak, which may also be useful to know during these times if you can't make it to Costco.