Costco Faces Backlash Over Customer Crackdown

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Retail giant Costco Wholesale asserts that their ability to maintain low prices relies on the revenue generated from membership fees. However, the practice of sharing membership cards is being brought to a halt. Similar to Netflix’s efforts to address password sharing, Costco, headquartered in Washington, is now verifying that the cardholder’s name matches the individual using the self-checkout lane.

Membership at Costco begins at $60 per year for a maximum of two adults per household. With benefits such as discounted gasoline and flexible return policies, most families can quickly recoup the cost of the membership fee. For a slightly higher fee, there is also an Executive membership option that offers a 2% rebate on purchases. Costco provides excellent deals on travel, food, and a wide range of products.

Numerous bloggers have highlighted the advantages and clever methods of enjoying the benefits of Costco without actually paying for a membership, and Travel + Leisure has effectively summarized these strategies.

Additionally, according to The Krazy Coupon Lady, certain services such as Costco Optical and Costco Pharmacy can be accessed without a membership. In some states, it may even be possible to purchase certain alcoholic beverages without a membership card. The Costco food court is open to everyone, offering a quick and affordable lunch option. Another alternative is using Instacart to obtain groceries. It is also worth mentioning the option of price matching Costco’s prices at other retailers, a skill that is often overlooked despite the easy access to price verification and requesting a price match.

According to CNBC, Costco’s net sales have experienced a year-over-year increase of approximately 2%, reaching $52.6 billion for the quarter ending in May 2023. Costco faces the challenge of striking a balance between their product-membership model, providing ample employee benefits, meeting shareholder expectations, and delivering exceptional customer service. This equilibrium can be challenging for many companies to achieve and maintain.

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