Costco, the membership-only retail chain, has recently ramped up its enforcement of membership policy. The company has noticed an increase in the frequency of unauthorized card-sharing incidents, particularly at self-checkout lanes. In response, Costco employees are now more frequently asking shoppers to present their membership IDs with their photos before making a purchase.
The company stated that it doesn’t feel right for non-members to receive the same benefits and pricing as members. Costco’s ability to keep prices low is largely due to the membership fees, which help offset operational expenses. Therefore, the membership fee structure is crucial to the company.
The stricter enforcement has elicited mixed reactions among Costco customers. Some customers, who were accustomed to lending their membership cards to friends or family, find the new measures inconvenient and intrusive. Others, however, support the stricter enforcement, arguing that those who violate the membership rules could potentially cause Costco to raise its prices.
Costco’s basic “gold star” membership costs $60 per year and is good for up to two people per household. The “executive” membership, which offers additional perks, is double the price. Business memberships come with the option to add $60 for each additional user. Membership fees account for the majority of Costco’s profit, enabling the company to keep product prices lower than similar grocery stores and retailers.
The company has long required customers to show their membership cards at traditional checkout lanes. This requirement is now being extended to the self-service lanes as well.
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