Change the Straws, Change America

If you’ve followed me for a while you might know that I have an issue with Costco straws.  They are unwrapped-contagion-waiting-to-happen-straws. It doesn’t make sense to me because they provide Kirkland wipes at the door to disinfect your cart……and all the Costco employees are covered in hair nets and face nets and white gloves. The straws negate ALL of that effort.

Just so I’m clear here…’s just a suggestion for them.  It’s a free world and they can do what they want obviously. I don’t want any million straw marches……or government straw regulations……or secret straw petri-dish testing by Dateline. And why would they spend more money just to appease one customer? But Dear Costco, you sell wrapped straws in your store!

I could just bring my own straw (BYOS)……but for now I just go without a straw……but that doesn’t help the millions of people who aren’t as “germ-aware” as I am.  Plus, you should see me trying to meander my cart around the store holding an open container…..that’s a hazard in itself.

Canadian Costco stores have wrapped straws……and flu activity is decreasing in Canada.  Flu activity is increasing in the U.S……so I’ve deducted that there might be a direct statistical correlation to flu activity and Costco straws!

Anyway, I’ve started leaving “suggestions” at multiple Costcos.  I asked the cashier if she would mention it to other employees.  She agreed that the straws were gross and told me I should contact corporate.

“Yeah I’ve done that….I’ve even tweeted them a few times.”

The other Costco store probably has a wall of my comments……I’m the “crazy straw lady”. I give my phone number every time. I’m surprised no one has ever wanted to make contact…..

Tonight, as I walked past all those innocent people drinking out of their contagion-straws in the Costco food court, I imagined the CDC shutting Costco down and had a panic attack.  I think I need to start getting a little more creative with my notes…..I’ll start by taking lessons from Emily (via PassiveAggressiveNotes):

hart breaker poop letter via

Maybe a drawing will make all the difference.

Dear Costco, I’m not doing anything for you ever again.

Hart broke.

P.S. running away.

P.P.S. Poop.


Change the straws…..change America.

(yeah I totally stole that from Tracy Morgan in his Super Bowl commercial…..)

….or make the lid a sippy cup.

That will be my new hashtag: #changethestrawschangeamerica




  1. says

    I’ve never seen the straws at costco, but I feel the same way about the ones at chuck e cheese’s. They are in a dispenser that is closed but still. No wrapper. And the utensils at chipotle. I won’t stop eating there but I always cringe at the plastic utensils just sitting out in the open.

  2. Andrea says

    Yes! This is music to my ears! I once embarrassed my kids when I yelled at a manager at a restaurant because they just left the lid off the straw dispenser when it was broken so people to pick out their own unwrapped straws. Gross.

  3. Judy says

    OH ASHLEY! we are kindred spirits!!! Our Costco and Sam’s are separated only by a few short miles and I don’t have a super reason but I have a membership to both!! I loathe the food court at Costco and the silverware are unwrapped also!!! i think they are cheap — they also drive me crazy because of all the blocked isles with shopping carts and boxes stacked to the ceiling … (seriously people! I pay to shop here … why are you so against making things more convenient!!) I was just about to brag on Sam’s and then they put in a TON of self checkouts!! UGH – I will join you and continue the quest for wrapped utensils and straws at COSTCO!! so gross!!!!

  4. says

    Did you watch The New Normal this week? You need to organize a flash mob at Costco. At a given time, you and a bunch of others blast some music, do a fancy dance to a song that has something to do with germs or straws or sucking and you all whip out your covered straws, dance the wrapper off, put them in your drink, and all walk out of Costco at the same time, drinks in hand.

    Now, that would get some attention! Busta move woman!

  5. Julie Reis says

    You should call the local health department. I work for a lhd in Ohio, and we are required to investigate all complaints. I’m not sure about the regs where you live, but here, anything set out for consumer self-service has to be pritected from contamination (so an unwrapped straw would have go come from a dispenser). It’s worth a shot! And I agree – that is so gross and an outbreak waiting to happen. Good luck!

  6. Amanda says

    I hate this kind of stuff too. Glad there’s no Costco in my city – just Sam’s and they have wrapped straws. I refuse to take straws or utinsels from places that don’t have them individually wrapped and are self-serve like that. I’ve also been known not to get ice if the dispenser is one an employee has to manually fill – only from self-filling machines.

  7. Linda says

    The straws were wrapped a couple of weeks ago at our Costco and I got all excited! Then I went back last week and they were back to the disgusting unwrapped kind. You can imagine my disappointment. I guess they were just out of straws that day and had to open a package off the shelf. Bummer :(

  8. Shannon says

    I have had some pretty intense complains with Costco and have filled out those cards, emailed corporate, etc., and nobody, NOBODY has ever contacted me back. I love Costco, but their response to legitimate complaints is super lame.

  9. Nancy Babb says

    Probably easier and less stressful to just carry your own wrapped straws…. “Choose Joy”… Stay in the Joy zone, whatever it takes…straws aren’t worth losing it

    • Nancy Babb says

      Probably should finish that thought…. Nothing makes me crazier than to go through a drive through, order something that requires a spoon and there not be one in the bag…. CRAZY!!!!…. or, to leave w/o a straw…. so now I keep a supply of all things (salt, straws, spoons, forks….etc) in my car! I will not allow them to steal my joy!

  10. Kat says

    I always thought it was a weird thing to complain about, since I was sure my Costcos have wrapped straws…lol I live in Canada so that explains it!!

  11. Maree says

    Seriously you are all a bunch of hypochondriacs! No wonder there is an allergy epidemic in the world, way too precious and protective :) Who cares about the straws the door handles to the toilets are probably much worse! Think of fact then when you grab a straw you are building your immune system up!

  12. Julie Edwards McCartney says

    Worked, for, a time..RN..infection Control!..Part of my job..Swabbing..the Facility..(Healthcare)..The, Most.. “germs”. The Ice!!..from the Ice Machine!! Worst!..than Bathrooms..the Ice Machine..was never emptied!..cleaned..nor was the tubing(same as most Homes!)..I, agree! least “paper on Straws”.. Costco!..I, will, discuss with our local..Costco!!..( Ashley!..I, do not Drink ..anything, Public..with( Ice) recall,..Microbiology Class..Nsg School,..thawed frozen .. “TV..Dinner, before cooking”..I, left ” in the Dust” “TV Dinners”..Nuff Said!

  13. Julie Edwards McCartney says

    Also, Chlorox, my Mouth..not “so good”..TOXIC!!.We, all, have an “immune systems”..however..!! varies!!!…re your Health Status!! do..with your current/past Health Status!..I, while working.. Health Care, exposed to MX”germs”.. Seldom ill!..Immune systems varies ,..example..HIV,..Pts..have an extremely low immune System, Chemo Pts,..some are born..” early..25 wks,..for example..very poor immune system” sometimes , lasting for several yrs! We, all, need to keep an open Mind..I,am not irritate!!! “Love, Learn,Laugh!” “Choose Joy!” for my Life..

  14. Amy says

    and you PAY to have the privilege to shop there and get an unwrapped straw. whenever you post about this i think it would have made the perfect seinfeld episode :O)

  15. Ellie says

    Ashley it’s really sad that big corporations don’t care what they do to the little guy as long as they get their $$$$! Silverware? @ Costco? We (sorry! Canada again) have plastic cutlery here plus the papered straws. Canada`s health and food rules are much more stringent than the U.S. I`m not saying this too be rude but it`s true. Good idea to get in touch with your health department about this.
    I bought some of the Kirkland brand baking parchment which is inferior to the previous brand. Baking at 375 degrees and the parchment was charred black and turned into ash around the edges…a little longer and I think I would have had an oven fire! I contacted Costco via the internet and never heard back from them either. Like I said, $$$$…
    Keep at them…you know, the `squeaky wheel gets the grease“ :)

  16. Audrey says

    I read of a mother who sprayed all the toys with Lysol because her baby had a cold. What did she do with the baby?

    • Sherry says

      Usually cleaned with bleach at a daycare so the children dont keep reinfecting themselves and eachother

  17. Jenni says

    I thought of you today as I was pulling my unwrpped straw from the straw dispenser and my spoon from the unwrapped spoon bin. I must have laughed a little because my dh asked what was up so I had to tell him all about this post which made us both smile! :-)

  18. Catherine says

    Remember, Costco sells cold meds and has a pharmacy…. they may be building the bottom line…wink. As far as germs go, I work in a preschool and, well, germs are winning the battle and preschooloers are their ally! I get the concern, really, but I figure I am improving my immune system.

    Oh, but you should get “emily” to write costco! HAHA! love her note!

  19. Sherry says

    One of my biggest pest peaves at costco ( unwrapped straws and silverware) – the other is the dirty pen thing they have you sign the little black box with at the pharmacy, that every sick, flu infected person has used when they are picking up their medication, geez, can we just provide clorox wipes for people to use to wrap around the pen when we have to use it.

  20. Mel says

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many germ-a-phobes gathered together in one place outside a Monk convention. LOL! I totally say that in a lovingly teasing way. I understand why you all feel the way you do, but wrapped vs unwrapped straws is one battle I do not care to waste my time fighting. I use whatever straws are offered to me when I buy drinks out (unless they OBVIOUSLY came off the floor… or worse) & I rarely ever get sick. Probably because I’ve been exposed to so many random straw germs in my life I’m immune to them all. If it were that much of a problem for me I think I’d simply opt not to buy the drink & carry a water bottle w/ me instead. My guess is Costco uses unwrapped straws to cut down on trash, both in the can & on the floor.