A woman returned her ‘dead’ Christmas tree to Costco in January—and she got her money back

A woman in California just returned a dead Christmas tree to Costco for a full refund. Yes, you read that right. She took her dying Christmas tree back to Costco on Jan. 4 in order to get her money back—and it worked!

The story takes place at a Los Angeles Costco, where a fellow customer reportedly witnessed the refund take place. He took to Facebook to rant about the experience (it appears his post has since been made private or taken down entirely), saying he couldn’t believe the woman would try such a stunt.

Costco’s Lenient Return Policy

Costco is well known for its permissive return policy. In fact, last year a popular thread on Reddit featured Costco employees sharing the craziest things that customers have ever returned to the big-box store.

Everything from old mattresses to 13-year-old fish to empty wine bottles were mentioned in the hilarious thread. (The reason for the wine bottle return? It gave the customer a “headache.”)


And it turns out that plants are one of the most commonly returned items. The plants die or start to do poorly, and the customers bring them back—but one has to wonder whether the plant was truly “defective” or if the customer just didn’t take proper care of it?


As for the woman who returned the Christmas tree, since it is unclear when she bought the tree, we don’t exactly know how out of line such a return is. A cut Christmas tree is supposed to last a month, as long as you care for it properly (in other words, make sure it has water!). It’s also important to take into account when a tree is harvested, as the more recent harvests will have a longer shelf (um, floor?) life.

Her Story Is Going Viral

Regardless, most people think that the woman was being ridiculous and that Costco should not have given her a return. Here are a few of the comments on Twitter.

They range from disappointment…

… to confusion…


… to tsk-tsking at Costco’s leniency.

And others worry that taking advantage of the system like this could spell trouble for other customers in the future:

No word from Costco on whether the company plans to outlaw such returns in the future, but let’s hope lingering feelings of holiday spirit and good cheer prevent others from trying a similar stunt.

Other Stores That Accept Returns—No Questions Asked

Kohl’s, Nordstrom, Eddie Bauer, L.L. Bean and most grocery stores will all accept returns with little to no hassle.

Flickr | JeepersMedia
Flickr | JeepersMedia

And at CVS, you can get a full refund on beauty products purchased there—even if they’ve been opened!

Getty Images | Scott Olson
Getty Images | Scott Olson

What do you think: Should Costco have made an exception and NOT accepted her return?

About the Author

Bridget Sharkey

Bridget Sharkey is a freelance writer/ghostwriter with a background in publicity. As a ghostwriter, she conceives, researches and composes original content for clients in the fields of business, hospitality, lifestyle, technology and relationships. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband and children, Maeve and Malcolm. You can reach her at http://bridgetsharkeywrites.com/. More.

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