woman at Costco store shares the 4 secret price codes

@ecommjess/TikTok Jonathan Weiss/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘If you see this, you can consider it clearance’: Shopper shares the 4 secret price codes at Costco



Sarah Kester


Posted on Jun 5, 2023

If you shop at Costco, you already know that you can save big. Often called a Disneyland for adults, the wholesale warehouse provides deals and sample stations as far as the eye can see. 

The Costco food court, for example, offers a hot dog and soda combo for $1.50 (the company vows not to raise prices despite inflation). 

But Costco has some tricks up its sleeves, as well. One TikToker says some deals are hidden in plain sight—right on the price tag. The TikToker, Dr. Jess (@ecommjess), said the company uses secret codes to indicate things like future sales and whether an item is discounted. 

Jess shared how to read four of these price codes in her viral video, which by Monday had been viewed 7.7 million times. The Daily Dot reached out to her via TikTok comment and Costco via response form.  

@ecommjess I bet you didn’t know the last one! 🤫#shopping #costco #lifehack #learnontiktok #money ♬ original sound – Dr. Jess | ecommjess

The first code is that standard pricing ends at 99 cents. Jess explains that this is the regular price and that the item has not been marked down. 

She said if you’re on the hunt for sales, you want to stock up your big cart with items that end in .97. “So if you see this, you can consider it clearance,” she explained.

She added an extra tip: “The date it was last marked down is in tiny print on the bottom right-hand corner, so if it’s been a while, they might mark it down again.” 

That might not be fully true though, according to at least one Costco employee who commented on Jess’ video.

“I work at Costco, and so don’t always go by the date in the corner, we reprint signs all the time so it really doesn’t mean much,” they wrote, adding, “It’s for us.”

Jess’ third hack involves pricing that ends in a 9: For example, 39, 49, and 79 cents. She said this typically means special deals from the manufacturers on brand-name products. 

Her last hack especially pertains to customers loyal to certain Costco products. “If you see an asterisk, the item won’t be restocked,” she said. “So if it’s something you like, grab it now before it goes away.” 

A commenter who said they’re an employee said that the asterisk, referred to as the “Death Star” by some, means an item is actually seasonal and will return next year. 

In the comments sections, users said they were grateful for the price hacks. 

“Ur Doing The Divine’s Work and I luv u,” one wrote. 

“We used the asterisk tip yesterday to snag a few things that are being discontinued!!” another wrote. 

Some wished they had known these tips before their last Costco trip. “I WISH I HAD SEEN THIS WHEN I BOUGHT MOROCCAN OLIVE OIL AHHH,” one woman wrote. 

Jess’ video inspired Costco employees to chime in with their own must-know hacks. For instance, a person who works at the Costco bakery shared this delicious morsel: If Costco is going to be closed the next day due to a public holiday, the store decreases the price of several items. 

Another wrote that if a price ends in 00, it’s code “manager special clearance.” 

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*First Published: Jun 5, 2023, 6:35 pm CDT