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How To Return Food To A Grocery Store Successfully

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return food


Step-by-Step I’m going to walk you through how you can return food to a grocery store so the next time you’re not a happy customer you know how to get your money back!

I don’t often return food but when I do I make sure I get our money back

How many times have you eaten something new or food that you were familiar with from the grocery store and you just didn’t like it?

I’m betting you can count a few times on one hand in your lifetime but I want to know, what do you do about it?

Today, I’m going to walk you through exactly how we would return food to a grocery store including what we would say and do.

Can you return food to a grocery tore in Canada?

When I first moved to Canada there was no way I was returning anything to a store whether it was food or something else.

In fact, I had no idea how to grocery shop in Canada which meant I was starting from scratch.

I’m not alone, this happens every day even with people born and raised here.

Today, my views and experience have greatly changed only because my wife motivated me to get in there and do it myself.

Sometimes it’s hard to return something when you aren’t familiar with the process or you don’t want to look like a fool.

Trust me, you won’t.

I hope this offers a bit of inspiration to those of you who hesitate or feel cheap about doing something like this.

Don’t be, it’s your money and you should be getting the best quality even if it is no-name brand products you buy.

Should you return food if you don’t like it?

Most people won’t return food to a grocery store if they are not satisfied with their purchase even if they shop weekly at the same store.

Below are 5 common ways consumers deal with the food they don’t like or is inedible from the grocery store;

  1. Throw it out
  2. Gift It or pass it on
  3. Hide it in other foods
  4. Feed it to the dog or other pets
  5. Return it- YES you can return food you don’t like to a grocery store depending on their return policy.

Related: Ultimate Guide To Grocery Store Return Policy Canada

No one should ever consider food waste as an option of getting rid of food when it is edible and someone else can eat it.

Just this week we emptied 3 large freezers of food and donated it all to a family in need.

There is always someone out there who WILL eat it even if you don’t like it.

I’ve seen numerous times on buy and sell sites people offering food that they didn’t care, near expiry or hardly used.

People jump on this stuff because it’s FREE food and when the money is tight food is food.

There is no room for being picky when food is limited and scarce and you’re living with a slim budget.

Obviously, if you’ve purchased food and it has gone off before the expiry date you should bring it back to get your money back.

Most people won’t.

Keep in mind that expiry dates differ and just because it says it expires in a day or a week doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be spoiled ahead of time.

Returning Our Kirkland Hamburgers To Costco

A few weeks back we made a trip to Costco where we purchased Kirkland Burgers for $19.99 on sale with Costco coupons for VIP members.

Mrs. CBB and I typically make homemade burgers but thought we’d give them a try since we often see Costco customers loading up on them.

They can’t be that bad right? 

WRONG, at least for us and there was no way we wanted to eat the rest of the bag.

I know there are consumers who enjoy Kirkland burgers and like any product you like some, you love some and there are some that will never touch your lips again.

They were a horrible mess for us and my brother and sister-in-law agreed since they bought the same bag on sale as we all went together.

We did not put them on the BBQ first because we wanted to do the frying pan test which was an epic failure.

Sorry Costco but those burgers start out looking like a big beautiful burger and in the end curls up like an upside-down turtle shell.

Haha, you know what I mean.

The Kirkland burgers were lacking flavour and you shouldn’t have to add condiments to pretend you’re eating a burger.

They taste like cheap filler hamburgers when in fact Kirkland 1/4lb burgers are expensive to buy.

This was just another reminder for us that you don’t always get what you pay for and homemade is best.

Costco Canada Return Food Policy

We like to learn and explore products so we can write about them for all of you but the best part about Costco is their return policy.

If you purchase an item that is defective or with which you are not satisfied, you may return it for a full refund.

We ask that you return the merchandise:

  • Within thirty (30) days of purchase
  • In the original packaging
  • With a Costco receipt

Costco has what we’ve heard one of the best return policies in Canada for everything they sell including their membership if you are not a satisfied customer.

Obviously there are some restrictions but for the most part, you can bring anything back.

Big-ticket items like electronics and jewellery you will have 90 days from the date on your receipt to return them.

We don’t care about that right now because we’re learning all about how to return food today!

Costco’s generous return policy for their warehouse also means that those horrible Kirkland burgers will be going back with us the next trip we made to Costco.

The bag is open, we do have the receipt but even if we didn’t they would still process it for us.

Keep in mind Costco will track your spending and returns so they know what you are doing so they can track those abusing the return policy system they have in place.

If you’re returning food on a weekly basis that is half-eaten I”m sure the red flags will start popping up.

How can I return an item purchased in a Costco Warehouse?

We are pleased to offer what we believe is one of the best return policies in the industry.

With a few exceptions, Costco has a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our merchandise.

If you are not completely satisfied with your Costco purchase, simply return the product to any Costco warehouse.

Please include the product packaging if you have it, although we do not require it for a return to be processed.

We also prefer that you provide your original receipt, but if it is not available, we will do our best to process your return without it.

If you’re not sure you can always Just call 1-800-463-3783 or go to and select Customer Service.

Grocery Store Return Policy

how to return food to the grocery store successfully

Whatever you do, don’t throw out food that you purchased and still have a receipt for because you most likely can bring it back.

Don’t view it as a hassle rather a part of customer service where your grocery store wants to see you as a happy customer.

Odds are you will be making another trip to the grocery store for another shop so don’t hesitate to bring along the product(s) that you didn’t care for along with your receipt.

This is why I always tell my readers to keep their receipts because they aren’t just a piece of paper they are considered money in your pocket if you don’t like something that you purchased.

Thankfully, almost all grocery stores in Canada will take back food that you don’t like with-in a specified time-frame in accordance with their return policy.

They may not be as simple as Costco but if you aren’t happy with a product or service most often you just let them know why and they will return your money or offer you an exchange or in-store credit.

Zehrs is another grocery store we frequent and any time we’ve wanted to bring back food we didn’t like their return policy gave us no hassle.

You must abide by their return policy rules which are comparable to almost all grocery stores in Canada.

Returns with Original Receipt: Merchandise may be returned for exchange or refund within 14 days of purchase with original tags and packaging.

Exchange only after 14 days. Zehrs also has a “Try It You’ll Love It Guarantee”.

The things you learn when you read the faq’s of websites.

This is the fine print most consumers glance over or don’t read at all but offer valuable information to consumers. It’s your money.

The Try It You’ll Love It Guarantee™: If you are not completely satisfied with the quality of any President’s Choice® food or no name® food products, Teddy’s Choice® or Exact® products, simply return it along with receipt or original package for and exchange or refund.

The Return Policy Scenario:  How To Return Food

Always read the front or back of your receipt which is where most grocery stores put a blurb about returns and exchanges.

If you are not sure, look online or make a quick phone call to customer service of the grocery store where you purchased the item.

Don’t roll your eyes it takes no time at all.

Falling with-in policy time-line bring the product in a bag with the receipt back to the grocery store and head straight to the customer service counter.

Customer service: Hi, How can I help you?

Customer: Hello, I’d like to return food that we bought which my family did not like.

This is when you open your shopping bag and pull out the product to show customer service.

Customer Service: No problem sir, Do you have your receipt?

In this instance, we would also provide our Costco membership card.

He/She may ask you about your reasons for the return. Just tell it like it is.

Customer: You can tell them more about why you didn’t like a product or just shut your mouth.

Typically, only answer when they ask questions unless of course, you want to ask your own.

Customer Service: Do you have the credit card you used to make this purchase?

Yes, or No- Sometimes they will just give you back the cash if no or an in-store credit depending on the grocery store terms and conditions return policy.

You may also have to sign your name to a return receipt that they produce for their own records.

If for example, they deny you their return policy don’t be afraid to escalate and ask if there is a manger on site.

Talking to a manager sometimes clears up any confusion especially if the staff member is new and just learning.

Customer: Thank-You very much.

Customer Service:  No problem sir, enjoy your shop.

That’s it! It doesn’t have to be complicated at all. Besides, customer service probably does many returns on a daily basis that it’s just procedure.

As a consumer, you have to remember that grocery stores want your business so they will do anything to keep you coming back, with-in reason.

The smaller grocery stores and mom and pop shop variety stores likely won’t be so generous with returns as such but it never hurts to ask, right?

I’m off to make an All-Beef Costco hotdog now those are hotdogs!! Delicious!

Discussion: What are some food products you’ve returned to a grocery store?

Did you have any problems? For example- they declined, you didn’t have a receipt, etc. 

Share your comments in the comment section below.


May Grocery Game Challenge

Join the 2018 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) but before you do you must read The Grocery Game Challenge Rules and Print the 2018 Schedule which includes new prizes!

Free Money Saving Tools 2018

Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!

This is the budget that brought us to debt freedom back in 2013 and now I’m offering to all of you for FREE.

We still use this budget every month as it helps us to see our overall financial picture.

2014 Free Money Saving ToolsDon’t pay someone for these services, I’ve done the work for you along with some help from other amazing bloggers.

You can download the FREE Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel It’s FREE! We use it to budget and in large part a reason we could pay our mortgage off in 5 years, check it out!

Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists created to get us on track working towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.

Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE.

CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet. So many free resources at your fingertips.

Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide 2018

the ultimate grocery shopping guide cbbEverything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is packed into this amazing FREE grocery shopping guide that has taken 6 years to create.

The Ultimate Grocery Shopping guide is ongoing with new informative money-saving posts added every month.

Even if you don’t live in Canada there are some amazing budget-saving tips that will help put you on the path to more savings at the supermarket.

Share this guide with your friends and tell them about Canadian Budget Binder especially if they are struggling with their grocery budget.

The time is NOW to get started saving money on groceries so please enjoy the many money-saving posts in The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.

2018 Grocery Shop Results

Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2018: $3600 or $300/month (The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.

Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings or that you would like to track on your own)

  • Total Grocery Budget for this Month: $300
  • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $300
  • Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
  • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
  • PC Optimum Points to Spend: 3,200,000
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0

Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)

  • Checkout51- $1.50

Our Grocery Shop This Week


  • 3 pack Dempsters Whole Wheat Bread $5.99
  • 3 pack seedless cucumbers $2.79
  • Monster bag of Spinach $3.59
  • Strawberries 2lb $4.29
  • 2 x Whipping Cream $4.15 each
  • 2 x Butter $3.99 each
  • 2l Hellman’s Mayo $5.49
  • Tasters Choice Instant Coffee $10.99
  • Double Brie $7.69
  • 2x 10% cream $1.95
  • Avocados $8.99 (large size)
  • 3 pk Pillers Salami $10.99
  • Manzanilla Olives $5.99
  • 2 pack Sour Cream $2.89

Total Our-of-Pocket $89.87

Note: All totals below already have tax factored into them.

  • Total to spend this month: $262.16
  • Stockpile budget 2018: $25.00/month
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $0
  • Christmas Reserve Fund : $35/month $175 Saved
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $1
  • Total in-store discounts this week: $0
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $116.54
  • Total spent this week: $89.87
  • Total spent so far this month: $268.87
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: over
  • Total left to spend for the month: -$6.71
  • Total Spent To Date 2018: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $323.04+Feb $169.42+March $228.70 + April $337.84+ May $ + June $+July $+August $+September $+ October $+ November $ + December $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

We went over this week but we haven’t touched our Stockpile budget which leaves us the extra $25 in case it is needed.  This week was a quick stop to Costco to load up on some sales.

With travelling to the inlaws house so much we are trying not to buy more food than we need in our house for now.

Oh, we made homemade keto wraps last night and they area amazing and so simple.


2018 Coupons and Coupon Apps

Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons! These are your latest Checkout 51 offers which you can use to help save money.

Related: Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons?

If you notice I’m missing a valuable link please message me and I’ll add it below.

Sign up for the Nielsen Canada Home Scan Program and you can earn rewards points fast to redeem for awesome products or gift cards. I did this in the UK and loved it!!

Where can I find Canadian Coupons 2018?

Grocery Game Challenge 2018 FAQ’s

  • Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible.
  • The rules have been updated to reflect changes for the 2018 challenge year.
  • Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
  • What is a prize payout?- I’ve changed the prize to yearly so I’ll be tracking everyone’s shop and draw accordingly for larger prize payouts.
  • When does the Grocery Game close each month? Ideally, you would want to have all your shops in by the end of the month for review in order to make improvements for the next.
  • Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: No, our Grocery Budget does not include such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap, etc.
  • As of 2014 we no longer included such items in our grocery budget so we could see our actual food numbers at the end of the year in order to plan accordingly.
  • Do you stockpile food? We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough. Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
  • Canadian Coupons: Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
  • Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available.
  • If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
  • What is the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our iPhone so if you want to have all your flyers in one spot download Flipp from the Apple Store or get it on Google Play.
  • What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon. Some of these coupons have an expiry date and others no expiry date so be sure to check.
  • What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
  • How Do I Know what stores accept coupons?:  If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
  • How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.

If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2018 get ready to look at your grocery budget by learning;

  • Where you are spending money
  • How much money you are spending
  • How much money you are saving every month

If you want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide

You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!

Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2018!


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