Costco Customer Leaves With Someone’s Fist Dangling From Orifice

We’re not even going to parse what the imagery in this post’s title means. But it’s a line in this customer service tale from Brian.

    “Through the stacks of returned items (including a cake, clearly marked as “KEEP REFRIGERATED”, sitting on some sort of shelving unit…unrefrigerated) trods the dreaded supervisorsaurus, known far and wide for crushing the hopes of dim-witted patrons looking for true customer service…”

That’s another choice and salient detail from Brian’s story of getting served at Costco over his membership card.

We don’t mean served in the PBS rerun, “Are You Being Served?” way.

We mean it all gangster like.

Brian writes:

    “I had the unfortunate experience yesterday of having a customer service issue resolved in exactly the manner I wanted…and still feeling like I left with someone’s fist dangling from an orifice not of my choosing. I thought I’d see if any other Consumeristas had run into this buzzsaw.

    I’ve been a member of the “West Plano” Costco in Plano, TX for about a year. Generally, I think of Costco as an admirable corporate citizen and a more humane option than the murderous borg that is Sam’s Club…at least as much as a mega-warehouse club can be. However, recently, I discovered a not-so-customer-friendly policy of theirs.

    A little background: In mid-January I added a secondary card to my business account at a cost of $35/year. Not six weeks later, I get my annual membership renewal invoice (due April 2006) in the mail. The renewal notice includes my $45 base membership fee…and $35 for the additional card. Huh? It was never explained to me that I should expect this. If it had been, I would’ve just waited 60 days to add the new card rather than paying two annual fees for less than 15 months of service.

    So I called the customer service number on the notice. A very courteous phone rep listened to my dilemma (after exactly zero time on hold, mind you) and offered a prompt apology and proposed a solution. He stated that he couldn’t do anything for me, but that, due to Costco’s “100% Satisfaction Guarantee”, if I took the issue to my local club they would resolve the matter immediately. He even went the extra mile to say, “If for any reason the local club doesn’t handle it properly, here’s my name and extension. Call me back and I’ll fix it.”

    So off I go to the local Costco warehouse. I’m greeted by yet another friendly face who listens to my frustration. She, however, can’t take any action. I need to speak with a manager. She quickly tracks down the lady I need to talk to.

    Where’s the bad part you ask? Trust me, it’s coming.

    Through the stacks of returned items (including a cake, clearly marked as “KEEP REFRIGERATED”, sitting on some sort of shelving unit…unrefrigerated) trods the dreaded supervisorsaurus, known far and wide for crushing the hopes of dim-witted patrons looking for true customer service. So, once again, I explain my situation to “Dana”…careful to point out that had the charges been disclosed up front, this wouldn’t even be an issue.

    She pointed out that Costco does not pro-rate membership fees. Fortunately, the phone rep provided this tidbit, so I was prepared. Her offer was to extend my membership by two months. Meaning I’d pay the 12-month fee for 4 months instead of 2? Nuh-uh.

    “Ok”, she says, “I can refund the money but I have to inactivate the cards to do that.” Meaning I have to haul my business partner back down there to fill out membership paperwork again to reactivate his card? Not acceptable.

    “What do you want me to do?” she snarls. I want either the initial fee for the additional card to be refunded or the renewal fee waived…I don’t care which.

    “But we don’t pro-rate fees… besides, the additional card has only been used once since January.” Does this mean that if the membership played a bigger role in padding Costco’s bottom line, she’d be mroe willing to help me?

    After about 5 more minutes of this circular logic of death, she asked if I was planning to renew my membership that day. To which I said, yes, if we can get this issue resolved. Otherwise, the answer is no.

    Finally, she tells me my renewal fee will be $45. She’s waiving the fee on the additional card. As she runs my credit card, she growls,”This is a one-time only thing.” As if I was going to voluntarily go through this meat grinder again in 12 months!

    She hands me my credit card receipt. I sign it, hand it back to her, and say (with what I think came out as sincerity) “thank you for your help.” To which I get nothing in the way of response…not a word…not even a direct look in the eyes.

    I guess in customer service the journey sometimes stays with you longer than the destination.”


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  1. AppTechie says:

    That’s sad. I shop at the same Costco and I now will go out of my way to always go to the “East Plano” store on 75. So much for lunch trips to Costco, I will just hit the good on on the way home….


  2. Wimerj says:

    I never really understood the concept of paying to buy things, but I figured I would go with the flow and see what the fuss was all about, After all, how many times have I sat on the hopper and dreamed of having 50 rolls of toilet paper at my fingertips. So I joined the Lancaster PA COSTCO. At the food counter where they serve hot food there was a sign. The sign read “If you don’t get a receipt, your food is free”

    I ordered some food and when I walked away I realized I did not get a receipt. I went back to the counter and told the clerk I had not received a receipt and would like the money back for my food. The clerk informed me that her register was out of receipt tape and would be happy to hand write me a receipt. Not satisfied with that answer I went to the customer service desk. I informed the manager of the situation. His response was “Did you ask for a receipt?” After a lengthy discussion it was clear to me that COSTCO policy is that the customer is always wrong. To add insult to injury I was held up at the door because I had no receipt for the food I was carrying.

    What they did honor was the money back guarantee on the membership and I had to surrender my membership card. Although I was infomed that I would be barred from getting another membership for a year. A few months later I drove a friend to COSTCO. She was a member. It was raining so I dropped her at the door and parked the car. When I went to join her already in the store I was stopped at the entrance and was denied access, I was routed to the membership desk where I had to sneak off when no one was looking to the bathrooms then into the store. Goodness knows you don’t want a non-member to browse the store, Thank God they never figured out my master plan to crack their entry security and buy something.