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The Real Reason Costco Has People Who Check Receipts Makes Sense

Does anybody else experience a simultaneous thrill and dread when you realize you need to make a trip to Costco? I mean, on the one hand, you have all those free samples to look forward to, and the deals. Oh, the deals.

On the other hand, every other human in your city is going to be there at the same time, and they will all want the free samples, too. It's a dang nightmare, every time.

Costco is a unique shopping experience for a few other reasons.

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For one, there's the legendary hot dog and soda deal for $1.50. Just try to beat that. Is it good for your heart? Probably not. Is it good for your soul? Absolutely.

Then there are the ridiculous sizes of, well, everything. If you have to feed a family of eight, or if you have a dill pickle obsession that rivals a family of eight, chances are you have a Costco membership because it just makes sense for your life.

And of course, the other big difference you notice comes at the end, when you're leaving the store and someone checks your receipt.

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What's the deal with that? This doesn't happen at Walmart or Target, right?

You'd think it would be about theft prevention — one many made headlines for walking right out the doors with 24 bottles of Hennessy cognac — but Costco has other folks on the floor who are responsible for that.

When you think about it, those receipt checkers don't often give your cart enough of a look to even determine what should be there and what shouldn't.

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What can a four-second glance turn up when comparing it to an arm-length receipt anyway?

No, it's not about theft prevention, but looking for cashier errors, which generally fall into two categories.

For one, there's the inventory to consider.

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If the cashiers don't correctly scan everything that crosses their belt — and remember, they're trying to get those huge lines down as quickly as possible, moving customers through who are buying up massive cartloads of stuff — the inventory can easily be thrown off.

The other big cashier error they're looking for is whether you've been overcharged or undercharged for anything.

And by and large, customers are overcharged far more often than they are undercharged, so those receipt checkers could be saving you money.

As one former worker told Consumerist, "I hardly ever saw people that had items that had not been paid for. Literally maybe once or twice in a month of working the door. We would catch hundreds of dollars a week in overcharges, though."

So what happens in that quick glance that the receipt checkers look for?

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"The exit door procedure I would usually follow was to check the receipt for multiples of the same item and make sure they were there," the former employee said. "If they didn't have a lot of items in the cart we would just look at the 'Total number of items' shown on the bottom of the receipt, count the number of items in the cart and make sure that matched."

So there you have it! The receipt checkers are, by and large, on your side.

h/t: Consumerist