Some retailers are not accepting returns on toilet paper, sanitizing wipes and other items people have been stockpiling

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Just a few short weeks ago, it was hard to imagine that toilet paper and Clorox wipes would be such hot commodities. However, the coronavirus pandemic has caused people to stock up on essential items.

Everyone rushing to buy in-demand items has led to a shortage in stores, and in response, retailers are instituting new policies. Stores are putting limits on the number of certain items each customer can buy. Additionally, some retailers are changing their return policies — on some items and across the board.

At Costco stores across the country, signs have appeared notifying customers that they will not accept returns on toilet paper, paper towels, sanitizing wipes, water, rice and Lysol.

With no official policy in place from Costco at the time, people speculated on social media that the policy is meant to discourage shoppers from hoarding popular items so that there’s enough to go around for everyone.

@costcobuys posted a snap of a sign announcing the store’s policy on Instagram and asked, “Do you think this is a good idea?”:


“Thank you!” wrote @babyckes58 in the comments. “Karma for being greedy and leaving so many people without these items!”

“I am glad they are doing this,” agreed @carlasuedurosko. “But I think they should have put a limit on items when this first happened.”

Later, Costco updated their return policy on their coronavirus response page, which now says the company will not accept returns on toilet paper, bottled water, sanitizing wipes, paper towels, rice or disinfecting spray.

Other retailers have instituted similar policies, with some Walmart stores refusing returns on toilet paper and water.

Other stores have temporarily changed their return policy and are no longer taking any in-store returns.

Target isn’t accepting any in-store returns for the next three weeks, the company announced on March 25.

Kroger has also temporarily suspended all returns, except in the case of fresh items that do not meet their standards, in which case customers can still get a refund.

Albertsons has also suspended returns at all of its stores nationwide. “Our return policy is temporarily changing,” read a statement from the company. “We are not accepting returns at this time.”

The company has also suspended its Raincheck service. “Right now, we may be out of some items indefinitely. We will make every effort to let customers know when they will be in stock again.”

About the Author

Kate Streit

Kate Streit lives in Chicago. She enjoys stand-up comedy, mystery novels, memoirs, summer and pumpkin spice anything. More.

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