One of the most memorable lines from the film Jurassic Park is when Dr. Ian Malcolm is speaking with the founder of the park about the ethics of bringing dinosaurs back to life: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should,” he says. A more reductionist example of that philosophy can also be found in The Big Lebowski when Jeff Bridges’ titular character tells his friend, played by John Goodman, “You’re not wrong, Walter, you’re just an a**hole.”
These aforementioned quotes fit right into the conversation that was sparked by a Costco customer’s discovery, which he shared in a viral TikTok that’s accrued over 873,000 views and 47,000 likes.
In the video, TikToker Austin Elliott (@iamaustino) said he discovered a Costco “hack” that would allow him to return his two-year-old mattress for cash. His video documents his attempt to use the hack, and viewers in the comments section debated whether or not it was ethical for him to do so.
@iamaustino COSTCO MATTRESS HACK!!!! 💥 #costco #returnpolicy #hack ♬ Love You So – The King Khan & BBQ Show
The clip begins with Elliott pulling the mattress out of a U-Haul truck in a Costco parking lot.
“Y’all know we do not gatekeep on TikTok, so let me put you on to this quick Costco hack,” he says. “So, I just moved into a new apartment, and I upgraded my mattress from a queen to a king. But, I heard that you could take a mattress back to Costco after any time on TikTok. So, you know I had to try it out for myself, and, y’all, it worked.”
Elliott films himself pushing a cart with his old mattress resting atop it into the store. The clip then transitions to him standing in front of the customer service desk as an employee counts a series of bills and arranges them in small stacks on the counter.
“I had actually bought this mattress like two years ago and here she is giving me back cash for it no questions asked,” Elliott says. “When I tell you we went to go get that box spring and king mattress so quick. Y’all gotta try this and let me know if it works.”
At the end of the video, Elliott can be seen carting a new king-size mattress and box spring on his way out of the store, a smile beaming across his face.
One commenter wrote that this hack wouldn’t work for them at the Costco store they frequent, remarking: “my costco always ask us why we’re returning stuff.”
While someone else said that folks should be careful about excessively returning items: “They keep a record of your returns and if you do it a lot they can revoke your membership.”
Another commenter said they would be too ashamed to do this: “And then there’s me over here too embarrassed to return this pillow I bought from them cause it got super flat pretty quick. (4months).”
While someone else questioned why he would return a bed he slept on for two years: “You returned a used mattress…?”
Another remarked, “Idk – I’d feel weird returning a mattress I used for 2 years, just because I wanted an upgrade.”
However, there were also a number of folks who defended Elliott’s decision.
“People are really upset in these comments calling you out of your name as if you sold them the mattress and the money came out of their pockets,” one commenter wrote.
Someone else said: “People in the comments defending Costco like they own it.”
“Why are people talking about morality in the comments?” another asked. “If Costco took it back why are y’all so upset? Did they take the money from your Bank account?”
Someone else replied that they tried this particular “hack” and it worked out in their favor: “Just did this ! And IT WORKED ! Returned our 2 yr old one and got a new one and it was on sale so we ended up pocketing 190 hehe thank you!”
The Daily Dot contacted Costco via email and Elliott via TikTok comment for further information.