SFGATE: "'We don't feel it's right': Costco is the latest company to crack down on membership sharing"


Years ago I got a membership (on sale) from BJs Warehouse. It was nice to purchase in bulk, but I’m just a household of 1. But BJs allows non-members to purchase and add a 5% fee onto the purchase.
So, I do some bulk shopping there, if the math shows it’s worth it ! $50 for a single-person membership is not worth it.

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There is the possibility of using a Costco cash card to get in and shop as a non-member.

I remember wanting to use an Amex card at Sams Club which didn’t take it. As I remember, I went across the street to Walmart and bought a cash card with my Amex and used that cash card at Sams to pay for the item.

I had a Costco card since the 80s. When my children were growing, I completed my monthly shopping at Costco Kennesaw. The Membership has become so expensive at $60 and the cost of food in Costcos has increased by 40+%. Costcos like other membership chains have an annual increase, why? Pure greed, Costcos has more customers, but customers salaries do not increase as the precentage of the cost of food. Costcos prices are not low but higher if customers do the math. They lost the title of low cost.

The other day I went to Costco and as usual, I brought up the Costco card image on my Samsung cellphone. This is an image of the front of the credit card for Executive membership and has no personal identifying information on it. Until recently it allowed me access to the store. At checkout I either use the cellphone to pay or pull the card out of my wallet. My wallet has many cards in it and it difficult to get out of my back pocket.

The associate checking cards at the door is someone I had never seen before and she told me the image was not good enough for entrance. I pulled my card out of the wallet and entered. I know that they are wanting to verify memberships now but there are some inconsistancies.

The checkout associate will take the card and oftentimes looks at the back as they place it on the register and begin scanning items. Alternatively, if using a regular checkout lane, begining with COVID, I would place all my items in the cart with the barcodes facing up and they were scanned without having to put them on the belt. The associates seems to love that, but I always was ready to place them on the belt if they wanted. It did speed up checkout quite a bit. In those cases, I would show the back of the card and they would scan it through the plastic protection barrier they had protecting the people from us.

We have had self checkouts for quite some time. There are always associates there to scan heavy items such as cases of soda, dog food bags and special items such as bagels and sweet rolls which are two-for priced and have no bar codes. There might be someone to scan your card while you were in line; I thought to se if you were up for renewal, but now I think it was the beginning of seeing if you were the member on the card. However, as of late no one is checking your card.

Also, we had our food court moved out doors years ago and were one of the first stores to require a membership card to but food there. There was a time that you could drive to the store, walk to the food court and buy items with no membership. I imagine that the few homeless people begging at the entrances to the parking lots took their donations and enjoyed Costcos food that way.

Since Costco appears to mark up their items by a set percentage and makes their profit off the membership, I understand their desire to limit who can shop there.

So how will I hanle the cellphone problem? I can use the Costco app or according to an associate whom I recoginized at the exit that same daya, I can show the image of the back of a membership card with the barcode on it and perhaps my photo. In my case that is the back of my Costco credit card, but at least in my cellphone digital wallet, that image cannot be accessed until I unlock my cellphone, so it is safely hidden until I need it. Then again, it might just be that the woman was new and over zealous and time will tell.

A few years back a Costco employee told me that whenever a big group of local high school kids show up at the food court at lunch time it made things difficult for the food crew and disrupted the whole operation.

He said HQ was considering ways to control nonmembers from using it.

I went to the Perimeter Costco about 1.5 weeks ago and had no idea they were verifying membership cards for sharing. I passed by the woman at the self check out who wanted to see my card since I had already shown it at the store entrance. She called 2 managers to confront me at my register and I was insulted that they wanted to see my card since I had already put it in the slot to pay. They accosted me and cancelled my purchase that I had unloaded and scanned from my cart. I was outraged and would not listen to anything they had to say. WHY didn’t Costco notify customers of this so I would be aware of what was going on before I went to the self check out? I have been a Costco Executive member for years and I will never shop at that Costco again!


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This would seem to really slow the entrance of people into the store. I guess they have to scan your card and then you have to show a picture ID?
I never felt as a single shopper, that the fee they charge for membership is worth it. I usually go with a friend who has a membership.

Your membership card is your picture ID. Or your Citi card is also.