Costco customer's extreme penny-pinching caught on camera: 'Desperate times'

People were shocked at what the woman was filmed doing in order to save a few bucks.

A woman has gone to extreme lengths to save a few bucks on her groceries at the supermarket as cost-of-living pressures continue to mount across the country.

An elderly woman was filmed filling up two soft drink cups with free chopped brown onion that's available to customers in the food court at Costco North Lakes in Queensland, with people both outraged and impressed by the brazen move.

The video was originally shared anonymously on a North Lakes community Facebook page with the poster saying it was "unbelievable".

Woman at Costco filling cups with raw onion.
A woman was filmed filling up cups of free onion at Costco in North Lakes, Queensland. Source: TikTok/zampe16

"She filled up cups with onion she gets for free," they wrote. It was rehashed on TikTok this week by another Aussie mum.

"Desperate times desperate measures," she captioned the clip. "Becoming an onion thief or genius," she asked.

Woman caught on camera at Costco

In the clip, the woman stood in front of the onion dispenser, winding the handle to release the chopped vegetable. Once full, she picked up two cups and walked away — but she reportedly returned.

"The staff came to see her, she left and then she came back 10 minutes later to do the same," the Facebook post read, according to the Courier Mail. They also claimed she had "plenty of cups in her bag", suggesting she'd filled up more than two.

The woman's penny-pinching ways received mixed reactions on social media. "That is just disgusting, now I know why there’s never any onions,” one said, according to the publication.

"Leave her alone, she’s elderly and maybe can’t afford much. She’s obviously paid for the cups as they don’t give them away," suggested another.

Some on TikTok blamed the woman's behaviour for being the reason why most Costco stores no longer have the onion for free, which is offered as a hotdog topping.

Some however thought it was "genius". "That's actually smart," another agreed. But her desperate measures made it "really sad" to see for some.

RICHMOND, CA - MARCH 06:  A sign is posted on the outside of a Costco store on March 6, 2014 in Richmond, California.  Costco Wholesale reported a 15 percent drop in secnd quarter earnings with profits of $463 million, or $1.05 per share, compared to $547 million, or $1.24 per share, one year ago.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The food court at many Costco stores has free onions available as hotdog toppings. Source: Getty

Growing nationwide trend in supermarket theft

Last month, Yahoo detailed the extreme lengths some are going to in order to cope with rising prices and financial strain with supermarket theft on the rise in Australia.

The cost of living grew again in the June quarter — rising 0.8 per cent and 6 per cent annually — but it was the lowest rise since September 2021, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

In October last year, Tasmania had seen a 30 per cent increase in supermarket shoplifting. Tasmania Police Inspector Nathan Johnston said that rising cost of living and homelessness were contributing factors.

In March, it was reported store theft rose 23.7 per cent in NSW from 2021 to 2022. Meanwhile, Queensland had the highest monthly rate of shop stealing on record in January, Reuters reported.

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