Costco employees pick the 11 most surprising items the wholesale retailer sells

You can buy everything from giant bears to toilet stools.

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You can buy everything from giant bears to toilet stools.
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Bart Everson/Flickr

 

  • Costco stores are known for their sometimes outside-the-box offerings and deals.
  • Some of the chain’s more unexpected products have attracted particular notice from Costco employees.
  • Business Insider reached out to workers to learn about Costco’s less conventional items.

Costco stores boast a ton of deals, tasty food court options, and, occasionally, some straight-up surprising products.

Of course, we shouldn’t really be surprised that a retail chain that sells vacations and cars also features a range of out-of-left-field items. Take emergency food kits that can feed a doomsday-prepping family for a year, for instance. Or gallon jars of mayonnaise. Costco has even gotten in on the art business, selling works by Henri Matisse in 2012.

Business Insider recently asked a number of Costco employees about the most unexpected products they had ever seen sold in a Costco. Here’s what they had to share.


The retail chain features an entire section dedicated to funeral necessities. Four Costco employees from Arizona, Illinois, Ohio, and Washington agreed that caskets were the most surprising product offered at the store. “They are cheap compared to other places,” added the Illinois-based worker.

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Corey Taratuta/Flickr

A Costco employee in Princeton, New Jersey, singled out Costco’s kayaks as the chain’s most unexpected item. The retail chain also sells paddle boards, inflatable sun decks, and pack rafts, for the aquatically-inclined.

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Jonas Tufvesson/Shutterstock

Costco might not be the first store to come to mind when it comes to engagement ring shopping, but it has quite a selection. A Costco employee in San Diego noted that the store sold a “$50,000 ring,” while a Roseville, California-based employee mentioned $21,000 rings and a $3,500 watch.

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Phillip Pessar/Flickr

Two employees, from Minnesota and Iowa respectively, remarked on Costco’s “doomsday” emergency freeze-dried food supply products. Business Insider’s Hayley Peterson reported that one $6,000 kit can feed a family of four for a year, and that the product reflects a rising rate of natural disasters.

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BravissimoS/Shutterstock

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider


In Hawaii, one Costco employee was shocked by how small and “cute” the sour cream tubs were, given the chain’s reputation of selling items in bulk.

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Sea Wave/Shutterstock

A Costco employee from Ohio was surprised that the store sold beehives. Costco member and Youtuber Sterling W. echoed this sentiment, commenting, “The fact that they sell beehives is pretty cool… I don’t know beehives at all, but I think it’s pretty cool.”

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This is not a Costco beehive.
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Stefan Kunchev Kunchev/Shutterstock

Source: Youtube


An employee from Tuscon found Costco’s DUDE Wipes — an adult alternative to baby wipes — to be the store’s most unexpected offering.

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These are not DUDE Wipes.
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Yevhen Prozhyrko/Shutterstock

A Nebraska-based Costco employee told Business Insider that they once saw a $20,000 piano for sale in the store. And the Costco pianos aren’t just there for show. Plenty of Youtube videos show employees and members alike jamming out on the instruments.

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antony griffiths/Flickr

Source: Youtube, Youtube, Youtube


Costco may be known for its bulk quantities, but it’s not every day that you see a cask of liquor. That’s why “giant barrels of whiskey” are the store’s most surprising product, according to an Arizona-based employee.

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Yelp

For a Costco employee in Chicago, the store’s iconic 93-inch teddy bear makes for a particularly unexpected product. But perhaps even more remarkable is the bear’s intense fan base — Business Insider’s Mary Hanbury reported that the toy even has “its own Wikipedia entry,” along with “more than 15,000 posts on Instagram under the hashtag #CostcoBear.”

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Mark Gunn/Flickr

Source: Business Insider


The Squatty Potty is far and away the most unique thing sold at Costco, according to seven employees Business Insider reached out to. Workers from Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, Arizona, and Texas, as well as a store veteran of 25 years, said that the toilet stool was the most surprising product they’d encountered. “I mean, come on,” one Washington-based employee told Business Insider.

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squattypotty/Instagram

Are you a Costco employee with a story to share? Email acain@businessinsider.com.