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Costco...Why such strict rules?

Old 12-30-03, 07:10 PM
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Costco...Why such strict rules?

Seeing the DVD sales Costco ran last week, I was thinking about getting a membership. I went there to take a quick browse to compare to BJs, if it was better I would go there instead and let BJs expire. It would be a waste for me just for a few DVDs a year, and I'll be going to Sams when they come here so I don't need 3 memberships.

BJs never checks for cards when entering, just at the register. And I walked into a couple of Sams Clubs while on the road and was never hassled. You can't buy without a card anyway, so what's the big deal.

The guy at Costco's entrance wanted to see a card. I told him I was interested in joining and just wanted a quick look around. (10 mins at most) He said No, you can't enter without a membership and I must get a one day pass. The Service Desk was crowded, I didn't want to waste 30 mins on line. I repeated myself and stressed that I wasn't going to buy anything, just a quick tour. He snapped "NO", then something about how I ignored him when I walked in. We exchanged a few words and he backed off. But I was angry so I left before I did something I would regret. And walking in would just make it worse.

I guess this is how they attract new members. Are all Costco's like this? In a Costco Bargain thread someone commented about a nice lady there (a member) buying the Quadrilogy for him, so I assume he entered without a card.
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Old 12-30-03, 07:24 PM
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The last time I went to Costco, the only time anyone asked for a card was at the check out.

I havn't been in about three years though, so something might have changed since then.


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Old 12-30-03, 08:58 PM
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Repeat after me: "I am here to buy alcohol."

They have to let you in without a card if you're buying alcoholic beverage. Or so I hear. Can I get some backup on that?

Also, if it's true, the people checking cards would be aware of this fact, in a perfect world.
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Old 12-30-03, 09:24 PM
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I went to check out Coscos tonight. I already knew that they would want to see the card so I went directly to the service desk. They gave me a card that I could give to cashier when I left, if I wanted to purchase anything and It would setup membership at that time.

I already have a Sams card, so I wanted to get a feel for pricing and items. Everything seemed about the same. It's hard to lay out the cash for second membership. I walked out with card in pocket. No deals that would make up for the $45, at least not without quite a few visits, from what I could see.
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Old 12-30-03, 09:26 PM
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Originally posted by stevevt
Repeat after me: "I am here to buy alcohol."

They have to let you in without a card if you're buying alcoholic beverage. Or so I hear. Can I get some backup on that?

Also, if it's true, the people checking cards would be aware of this fact, in a perfect world.
At this Costco the liquor is separate from the main warehouse. When you going in, you make a sharp left and go in the liquor store entrance. Or continue straight thru to the warehouse. It's stupid having to make 2 separate purchases.


Originally posted by Bigsierra
I already have a Sams card, so I wanted to get a feel for pricing and items. Everything seemed about the same.
Thanks, that's what I suspected. These places are almost the same. The Service Desk was packed so it would have been a waste. A Sams Club is opening closer to me anyway. Thanks for the info.

Last edited by eddiekirk; 12-30-03 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 12-30-03, 09:37 PM
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Originally posted by stevevt
Repeat after me: "I am here to buy alcohol."
Yes! Let this angry man in to buy his alcohol!

Our Costco checks your card 3 times. Once on the way in... once during checkout... and then they check your card and your packages against your receipt on the way out. So three lines in total... but I keep my cool and don't feel the urge to HULK SMASH ANYONE! RWARRRRRR!!!
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Old 12-31-03, 01:13 AM
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We just activated our gift membership for Costco this afternoon. The people at the front did not ask for a card, nor did anyone else.
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Old 12-31-03, 02:01 AM
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Our costco checks at the door and when you make a purchase...so two times total...evreyone in our store seems pretty cool...and I don't see them hassling anybody about just taking a tour...but everyone's costco is different I'm sure....
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Old 12-31-03, 02:03 AM
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Originally posted by discostu1337
We just activated our gift membership for Costco this afternoon. The people at the front did not ask for a card, nor did anyone else.
That's strange. At the four or so Costco places I've been to, they always asked for my card at the cashier's to punch in some info (or so I thought). This explained why they didn't always ask for my card at the entrance. Guess I'll have to rethink that one....
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Old 12-31-03, 02:26 AM
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They do punch in some numbers or scan your card at the cashier's don't they? I thought they did...that's how costco tracks you and knows what you buy and how much you've spent at any given moment...plus, you have to be a member to complete a transaction in the computer...Hmmm...I need to pay attention next time and see...now I can't recall....
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Old 12-31-03, 08:42 AM
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Yeah, I went to Costco several years ago and they only took a card at checkout. More recently, I decided to check it out and was surprised that they demanded a card up front. Like you, I had to go through the same hoops just to look around the store. I guess Costco's elite members don't want to be bothered by riff raff...it's just like a country club.

Anyway, I have a membership now (got it for free) and ended up really liking the store. We go about every other week to stock up and have saved a lot of money.
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Old 12-31-03, 09:28 AM
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Costco is a private club, just like any other private club. You have to be a member to get in, and a day pass is easy to get if you want to check it out. I don't see anything wrong with being turned away at the door if your not a member.

The Costco here checks your card on the way in, and of course at check out. They just check receipt on the way out, not the card.
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Old 12-31-03, 09:34 AM
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You would think they would want non-members strolling around as it may convince them to join.
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Old 12-31-03, 11:25 AM
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Originally posted by renaldow
Costco is a private club, just like any other private club. You have to be a member to get in, and a day pass is easy to get if you want to check it out. I don't see anything wrong with being turned away at the door if your not a member.

The Service area had a big line, I wasn't going waste 30 mins getting the pass for a quick walkthrough. Being turned away is one thing, but the guy was rude about it. BJs has noone at the entrance and it's a "private club", you walk around, if you like it..join. I don't see the problem asking for a quick tour. I'll stick with BJs and Sams.


Originally posted by cdollaz
You would think they would want non-members strolling around as it may convince them to join.
Exactly..what's the big deal. I want to spend my money there and they make it a hassle.


Originally posted by Groucho
I had to go through the same hoops just to look around the store. I guess Costco's elite members don't want to be bothered by riff raff...it's just like a country club.
Are the afraid the riff raff will come in there like Zed and his gang did in Police Academy 2? (the supermarket scene)
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Old 12-31-03, 11:49 AM
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I have a Costco membership and I usually just walk straight in... if the door police glances @ me... I point to a party/person in front of me that just showed their card [just too lazy to pull out mine sometimes]. Just play the role! Pretend that you do have membership. Or just tell the door police that your party in already in there or that you've been in and just went out to your car. No hassles @ the 2 Costco that I go to.

ps.. their Auto Insurance through AMEX has great prices. I've have Progressive... switched to Geico... now AMEX. Better coverage and lower premiums. 3 of my co-workers got quotes that were lower than their current policy and ended up switching.
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Old 12-31-03, 11:53 AM
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Originally posted by stevevt
Repeat after me: "I am here to buy alcohol."

They have to let you in without a card if you're buying alcoholic beverage. Or so I hear. Can I get some backup on that?

Also, if it's true, the people checking cards would be aware of this fact, in a perfect world.
Yes, that is right. There is some obscure federal law that prohibits a store from charging a membership to sell you alcohol, this is why you can buy alcohol from Sams or Costco (or other membership clubs) without a membership and without any surcharges, I buy alcohol at a membership club about once every other month or so (and I don't have a membership). I've also heard that you can buy prescription drugs at these stores without a membership, though I have never tried this.

However, the doorman probably would be unaware of this, I've found that 90% of checkers have never heard of it and even some of the managers need a reality check, so I doubt the doorman would. Besides, even if he had, he would probably make him check in with the front desk to get a one day pass.

Here's how you can get into a membership club without a membership. Time your entry to the store so that you walk in right behind somebody else. When they flash their card, the checker will look at you, point to the guy in front of you (he will be looking into the store trying to see where he wants to go and won't see what you do, thus can't say "I don't know this guy"). The checker will assume that you two are together (you can take in guests).

Last edited by Heat; 12-31-03 at 11:58 AM.
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Old 12-31-03, 05:04 PM
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The Costco by me in Jersey does the same thing. You can't get past the entrance without a card. They are really rude about it as well.
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Old 12-31-03, 05:07 PM
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Originally posted by renaldow
Costco is a private club, just like any other private club. You have to be a member to get in, and a day pass is easy to get if you want to check it out. I don't see anything wrong with being turned away at the door if your not a member.

The Costco here checks your card on the way in, and of course at check out. They just check receipt on the way out, not the card.
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Old 01-01-04, 05:20 PM
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The more stealthier way to gain entry is to simply walk up to the entrance, tell the door person that you want to sign up for a Costco Membership, and they'll direct you to the service desk. Go to the service desk, get in line, wait for the door person to look at other incoming members, and just slip out into the rest of the store through the cash register lines. That's it. Not a big deal, if you ask me.

I don't have a Sam's membership card, and I use this tactic if I want to just browse around.
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Old 01-01-04, 08:46 PM
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Originally posted by Patman
The more stealthier way to gain entry is to simply walk up to the entrance, tell the door person that you want to sign up for a Costco Membership, and they'll direct you to the service desk. Go to the service desk, get in line, wait for the door person to look at other incoming members, and just slip out into the rest of the store through the cash register lines. That's it. Not a big deal, if you ask me.

I don't have a Sam's membership card, and I use this tactic if I want to just browse around.
Does Sam's club routinely check for membership cards at the register? If not, I just might try this to "see the competition". As far as Costco goes, however, it seems like many to most stores ask for the card at the cashier....
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Old 01-02-04, 12:28 AM
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Originally posted by victant
Does Sam's club routinely check for membership cards at the register? ...
Yes, you have to show your card at the register. If you are only buying alcohol, you'll have to ask for a manager who'll come and punch in something, then the sale can proceed.
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Old 01-02-04, 06:17 PM
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My take was that the original poster just wanted to browse Costco, not buy something from Costco, thus, my suggestion above.
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Old 01-03-04, 02:58 AM
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Originally posted by Patman
My take was that the original poster just wanted to browse Costco, not buy something from Costco, thus, my suggestion above.
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Old 01-03-04, 03:36 AM
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I entered my local Costco in Simi Valley, CA, and the man asked me if I had a card. I said "Yes", and I continued walking in and proceeded with my shopping.
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Old 01-04-04, 01:09 AM
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The reason I won't actually pay for a card at Sam's is that I once had a lifetime membership, then they decided to cancel all lifetime memberships and make everybody pay for memberships (thoguh I still go in every couple of months or so to buy wine).

In the past there used to be free one-day passes in the Wal-Mart ads, I would go shopping with those but would always just completely ignore the card checker at the door (there was nothing on the pass that said I needed to show the pass at the door, and there were no signs saying I had to show it). Sir. Sir! SIR! SIRRRR!!!!! Screw 'em, it's not like the lady in a wheelchair checking IDs was going to tackle me or anything. I haven't done that (or put my receipt in my mouth before being checked at the door) in years, though, like I said in an earlier post I normally just tag along with somebody else when I go in (I also have an expired Sam's card from my brother-in-law, I also flash that on occasion to get in, though I think the colors have changed).
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