Not Everyone At Costco Understands Secret Membership Avoidance Strategy

A few years ago, we ran a post about the secret and kind of awesome way to do some shopping at Costco without purchasing a membership. Just give a member you know some cash and have them pick up a gift card (Costco Cash Card) for you. Great system if your nearest Costco is far away, or you just don’t go often enough to justify joining. In theory, anyway. Justin took the advice in our post, but was turned away at the door by an employee who wasn’t aware that a cash card entitled him to enter the store.

I read your article on how to shop at Costco without a membership awhile back and decided to give it a try since I’m a broke college student in [redacted] and the nearest Costco is about a 30 minute drive from my home, so having a full membership really isn’t practical for me considering I make a trip there once or twice a year.

Anyways, I drove with my girlfriend to pick up a few things tonight. I showed the “Cash Card” to the employee at the front and she stopped me and asked to see my membership card. I politely told her that I did not have an actual membership and that I had a “Cash Card,” that a friend gave me instead. She immediately got aggressive and told me I would not be allowed to enter the store and that I needed a full membership.

I tried to explain that the Costco website says that “Members and non-members may use the cash cards to shop at any Costco location in the United States,” and that I should be allowed in. I even offered to bring up the page to show it to her, but she was having none of that. Once more, she tried to tell me that I had to either leave or buy a membership right there.

I asked to talk to someone else and she referred me to the membership counter. The lady there gave me a temporary pass and let me right in without any hassle and the rest of my trip went fine. I do not know why the woman at the door did not try to mention the temporary pass. She was extremely blunt about the “only” two options of leaving or buying a membership.

I’m submitting this as a warning to people who want to try the “Cash Card,” method of entrance to Costco. The door employee was obviously not up to date on company policy and she was extremely rude and aggressive despite the fact that I began the dispute politely. I don’t know if it was an isolated incident, but I’m going to forward this on to the Costco Executive Customer Service and hopefully they’ll update their employees with company policy.

Justin didn’t send us an update with what he heard back from Costco, so maybe there’s been a memo since then. Take precautions, though. If you’re traveling a long distance to bring your card full of hard-earned cash to spend at Costco, maybe call ahead.


Edit Your Comment

  1. PhiTauBill says:

    So, you’re telling us that the front door person at Costco might not have been aware of the unadvertised “cash card” policy? I’m shocked, shocked I tell you.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      Yeah, I woud bet most of the employees do not know that. I’m guessing the instructions to the membership checker on Day 1 is “Look for membership cards”.

      • MathMan aka Random Talker says:

        Or training for the door check position could be as simple as, “People can be allowed to enter our store by three means: One, they have a membership card; two, are accompanying someone with a membership card; three, they have a COSTCO cash card. If someone still tries to enter the store without these two items, please refer them to the membership / customer service desk. If the individual does not comply and enters the store anyways, DO NOT PHYSICALLY RESTRAIN THEM BY ANY MEANS. Alert security / your manager and we will take it from there and call the police if necessary to report trespassing.”

        Disclaimer: I do not work for COSTCO but it seems pretty cut-and-dry and shouldn’t take too long to explain or understand. I blame who “trained” her at the local store of doing a poor job.

        • jefeloco says:

          Another point to teach the card checker,

          Four: they are visiting the pharmacy or eye doctor (if store has one). They can’t require a membership for the pharmacy and most in store eye guys and gals are independently operated.

    • CanadianDominic says:

      If the job function of the person at the door is to ensure that people entering abide by the rules set out by COSTCO for entry to the store, then don’t you think that, since its the focus of his/her job that they should, you know, know it?

      Do you expect cashiers to not know how to work the register as well?

      • PhiTauBill says:

        Interestingly enough, from my non-scientific observation of how the Costco checkout system works, I’m pretty sure if the front door person had let him in with only the cash card, he would have still been held up at the checkout counter for not having a membership card for them to scan. So, the advice to folks using this strategy should actually not be to “call ahead” which actually assumes Costco should have any right to say “No” to something that is clearly “OK” according to its own terms. Rather, it should be “bring the policy with you and head straight to the membership services desk to get yourself a temporary membership card” each time.

      • IphtashuFitz says:

        It wouldn’t surprise me if there’s regularly a conversation something like this:

        Senior guy: “Hey, new guy, go stand at the front entrance and only let people in who show a membership card. Send everybody else to the membership counter.”

        New guy: “Ok…”

        • falnfenix says:

          this is precisely what happens at Sam’s. undoubtedly it occurs at Costco and BJ’s, as well.

      • GaijenSoft says:

        Do you know how long their policy must be? How many rules must be followed? It would take well over a month of dedicated training just on policy and rules, and that’s a month of paid training where they aren’t on the floor doing their job.

        Same way smaller companies don’t have overly broad policies that cover pretty much everything. They develop their policy over time as the issues come up.

        Obviously you never worked in a retail or customer service environment.

        • Republicrat says:

          That woman’s one job was to police the entrance to the store. There are not that many details she needed to memorize to properly do her job. She doesn’t need to take a course in contract law and read hundreds of pages of legal verbiage.

          The problem is that she was poorly trained. Plain and simple.

          She needs to be reported to corporate. Not to be punished but to be trained better so that the company doesn’t alienate its customers.

        • CanadianDominic says:

          It sounds pretty easily summarized.

          Members can enter. Non members should be referred to the membership counter for a temporary access pass or enrolment.

          What else is there to the rules that cant be handled by the membership desk?

          I put myself through University working at the returns counter of a major retailer. Most polices are common sense.

      • Lucky225 says:

        I like your line of thinking, unfortunately Wal-Mart cashier’s seems to think the words COMPARE SIGNATURE on a register mean COMPARE IDENTIFICATION, when it clearly says SIGNATURES, as in the SIGNATURE on the screen capture/receipt to the SIGNATURE on the back of my card, so I’m not at all surprised, but wholeheartedly agree. Especially since greeters at wal-mart seem to think they’re in Costco asking me for a receipt on the way out, when I never joined any Wal-Mart membership agreeing to produce one.

        • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

          Now here’s a point to ponder. Do those Costco cash cards explicitly state you also abide to the receipt check on the way out? If not, I can just hear the rumblings heading out the door.

    • georgi55 says:

      unadvertised? It IS advertised everywhere! On website! On the cash card! On the cash card board in the store! On the cash card display in the store!


      • Emperor Norton I says:

        It was also published a few months ago in the Costco Connection Magazine that you pick up on your way out of the place.

  2. spartan says:

    I don’t know if it is a state or federal law, but here in California, they HAVE to let you purchase prescription drugs and alcoholic beverages whether you are a member or not.

    (Assuming you have a valid prescription and are legal age of course)

  3. sufreak says:

    This seems to be a single non-issue event. The person at the front door didn’t know about the cash card policy. Maybe she was new. Maybe they’ve been alerted to people doing this to skirt the membership requirements.

    It took a single extra step, probably 5 minutes at most, to get through the situation. No one was harmed, maimed or defamed. I don’t see why this is a big deal.

  4. clippy2.0 says:

    Pro tip to those entering costco, to your right or left is a member service area. to entirely avoid the membership checker, go there. Just avoid conversation or eye contact if you’re that type of person, and just hop right in queue. Really, the needed detail for a story like this is confirmation of whether or not you need a temp pass even to use a gift card, since this story is clearly just about some college kid arguing with a retiree for no reason at all

    • crispyduck13 says:

      “…since this story is clearly just about some college kid arguing with a retiree for no reason at all”

      No. This story is about a person employed by a store who doesn’t know the stated rules of said store. That’s it.

      • clippy2.0 says:

        Pretty much the same thing I said. The real information needed is citation of a store policy change that requires a temp pass to use the gift card. I never have my costco id, so I always head right over to the membership desk to get a temp one. Not a big deal, but also a bit of a waste of time; however since I know I need it to buy anything I have to grab it. I would love to know if you actually need one just to use a gift card.

        Said college student arguing with said membership ID checker is only entertaining to watch, and carries no useful information

    • IphtashuFitz says:

      My wife joined Costco long before we ever started dating so I’ve been there hundreds of times. I have never seen a retiree standing at the entrance. It’s almost always been an employee in their 20’s-50’s.

  5. GMFish says:

    I would have had a lot of fun with her after getting in. I would have asked her where certain products were. What their hours were. Etc. And every time I would have flipped her the bird using my middle finger to adjust my glasses.

  6. Blueskylaw says:

    “Not Everyone At Costco Understands Secret Membership Avoidance Strategy”

    You also have to show front end security your Secret Decoder Ring.

  7. crispyduck13 says:

    I’m not surprised, the door people are the absolute worst there. Couple years ago my grandmother had one of my wedding photos blown up and framed at our local Costco. I wanted to pick it up so she wouldn’t have to drive back out there but I wasn’t a member. The lady at the photo counter helping us said I could pick it up no problem, I didn’t need a membership card to do so.

    2 weeks later I go back and get the 3rd degree from the dumbass guarding the entrance. She seriously tried to physically block me from going in, after I repeatedly told her I was there to pick up a pre-paid photo order. You give an idiot a little bit of power and all of a sudden they are 3 feet taller and 6 times assholier.

    • samonela says:

      I have had nothing but pleasant experiences with the door people? And I have always been a “peripheral” member (i.e. never had a membership myself, but my parents did when I was younger and now my wife does but I don’t). I have always just dropped a “my wife is already inside” to the person at the door (or mom/dad/sibling…whatever) and they have always just given me a smile and waved me on in.

      And that’s not just my local Costco…but also at the one 30 minutes away, the one 4 hours away (in Fresno, CA) and the one I went to this past December in Kauai, HI.

      Their behavior and attitude are hardly what I’d call, “the worst”. Perhaps it is the way you are treating them? I don’t know…

  8. donjumpsuit says:

    Not to gang up on the OP, but it takes me about 30 minutes to get to work every day.

    • Doubting thomas says:

      How would that be ganging up on the OP because you chose a long commute?

    • ChilisServer says:

      Also, what if the OP doesn’t have reliable transportation to a location 30 minutes away and must go there when he has the opportunity rather than what he feels like doing? Or what if his budget doesn’t allow for gas for such a long trip? Or what if his schedule doesn’t allow for the time for such a trip? Shut the fuck up.

  9. kaptainkk says:

    Just tell them you are going to the pharmacy. No card to show at all!

    • jp says:

      I think same with the eye doctor. But you need the membership to get the lens prescription filled there.

    • katarzyna says:

      Or that you’re buying alcohol. Not sure that works everywhere, but it does here.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Or the liquor store (at least in Mass.)

    • az123 says:

      This actually depends on which state you are in…. there are some states where they can actually refuse you going to the pharmacy if you are not a member. This also does not work even if your state law prevents them from it, it took a lawsuit against them here to get them to actually make sure they were allowing people to get into the pharmacy per state law, though I think that was more poorly trained front door workers than the company refusing to let people in

    • az123 says:

      Though now that I think about it, you can normally go through the member service door and go to the food court area…. they let you purchase a hot dog or pizza without being a member, and once you are in there nothing stops you from getting into the main store.

      • mearow says:

        This. I’m a member but usually go thru the exit, past member services, to the food court/restroom area. I don’t have to dig out my card–I’m usually headed to the restroom anyway.

    • DENelson83 says:

      Just don’t shop at Costco.

  10. az123 says:

    I do hate to get technical but the Costco policy does say you can use the card to make purchases, it really does not say they will allow you in the store :) And given how stupid they can be sometimes perhaps they are taking this to a literal level…. perhaps you need a member to go with you to get into the store to use your cash card!

    I am a member and occasionally will take a non-member friend with me to do their shopping, there have been many occasions (maybe 1 of 10 times I go in with a friend) where I get some level of hassle from the cashier about my friend paying for their purchase on my membership, mind you they are paying cash or debit card when they do this, and I actually had once where they refused to allow a cash payment by my friend, who handed me the cash and I actually had to get the store manager over for the cashier to accept a member handing them cash in order to pay for a purchase. The good thing is given the managers reaction I am sure that cashier got a good talking to and is not pulling that crap again.

    I guess I get them attempting to avoid excessive abuse, you are suppose to be a member, but they really need better training about being reasonable in the pursuit of this, they are not exactly encouraging new people from signing up to be members by completely refusing to let them in without forking over the membership fee.

    • longfeltwant says:

      Hmmm? As quoted in the article, the official policy reads

      “Members and non-members may use the cash cards to shop at any Costco location”

      Operative verb: “to shop”

      But yeah, even a membership store like Costco knows not to enforce their rules in a draconian way.

    • Extended-Warranty says:

      Pulling that crap again? I hope you get that crap pulled on you every time for abusing the membership. Get off your high horse.

      • Republicrat says:

        How is it abusing membership? There is no policy that says you can’t bring non-members with you. I’ve seen the Costco guys come to my workplace to sell the membership and they even encourage the behavior as an incentive to sell the membership.


      • AustinTXProgrammer says:

        The real crap is when people claim they weren’t satisfied and get their membership fee refunded… year after year after year.

        Costco and Sams do rely on the memberships for revenue. But at the same time they aren’t loosing money when others come in and it is a marketing tool. That a few determined Costco employees seem determined to sabotage.

  11. tpb711 says:

    I know I signed an agreement and all that, but the greeters at Costco drive me crazy. I’m trying to get in the store to spend my money while wrangling a baby into the suburban-sized carts and someone is trying to make me stop to pull out my wallet.

    Rather than trying to argue about your right to enter, just ignore the greeter. If someone approaches you further into the store, show the person with your card that you are authorized to be in the store.

    Oh, but don’t do this when your wife is with you. She’ll hate it.

  12. longfeltwant says:

    –> Petulant bitch seeks out and gets a job where she has a tiny fiefdom in which to assuage her legitimate feelings of self-worthlessness by strictly enforcing rules that only exist in her imagination.

    This is not surprising, and you can find these people all over the place.

  13. Chmeeee says:

    Go in through the exit side and walk past the cash registers – boom, no member check. Also, that gives you an ideal opportunity to pick up a delicious $1 hot dog.

    • Emperor Norton I says:

      Hot dogs are $1.50 in every Costco.
      But they’re not very good if it’s the Kirkland hot dogs.
      The only Chicago area Costco with good hot dogs is Clybourn Ave., because it’s 300 feet from the Vienna Beef factory.

      • WhenPigsFly says:

        I love Costco and the hotdogs are a steal for $1.50. I also have an expired Sams Club card that I use to enter and browse. But most of the time I buy one of their hotdogs combos for $1.50. Their the Nathan’s brand hotdogs which IMO is way better than the Kirklands from Costco. Plus the pizza from Sams is better too.

  14. HenryES says:

    Although Costco’s customer service is overall great, I’ve run into individuals who were unaware of various store policies. I may be wrong, but I don’t think the people at the doors are the cream of the crop as far as employees anyway.

  15. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    If the store has a pharmacy they cannot keep you from entering and buying prescriptions without a membership. That’s federal law. Next time just tell them you’re going to the pharmacy (assuming the store has one), and if they try to deny entrance that’s a much more serious issue than just trying to use a cash card and it will probably get much more notice from management.

    • winnabago says:

      Also liquor in some states! Tell them you’re buying all the pabst you can find!

    • balderdashed says:

      Citation on this federal law, please? There are laws in some states that require a store that sells liquor to be open to the public, and there may be comparable state laws on prescription drug sales as well. But while this federal requirement is alluded to on various web sites, I’ve yet to find a specific reference. Generally, the federal government is involved in regulating the sale of pharmaceuticals through the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Frankly, such a law seems doubtful, given that pharmacies can generally refuse to fill perfectly legal prescriptions for just about any reason — some pharmacies, for example, won’t fill a prescription for birth control pills because of a pharmacist’s personal moral views, a practice they can get away with except in states that have passed laws to the contrary. But I’d love to be proved wrong, here.

  16. SloppyJoe says:

    You can tell them you’re going to the pharmacy or eye center. You aren’t required to have a membership for that. However, you can’t make regular merchandise purchases without a membership or cash card.

  17. thrashanddestroy says:

    Eh, you got an idiot at the door. Our warehouse has a couple too.

    One thing to keep in mind is that its not always someone who’s job to work the door is actually working the door. A lot of times, the actual “member service” — fancy Costco speak for door greeter — employee is on a break or lunch, so they use a cart guy or random assistant to cover for the time being. Its more likely that one of those employees wouldn’t know a Cash Card can get you in same as a membership card.

    That said, we have a woman that works the door at our warehouse that is just a total, unforgiving, rude bitch. It amazes me that she’s kept her job for so long with the way she talks to members, along with how miserable her disposition is. Not the type of person I’d want members seeing as soon as they walk in the door.

  18. Nissan288 says:

    As a former Costco employee, the door folks aren’t the ones most versed in membership rules. Their goal is to just look for membership cards and count with the number of people coming in.

  19. Donathius says:

    I worked for Costco back when I was in college and do you want to know how much training we got for the front door?

    “Make sure everyone coming in has a membership card or is with a member.”

    That’s all you need for 99% of people coming in. I was never informed of things like the pharmacy rule (don’t need to be a member to use the pharmacy), or the liquor law in California that required us to let people buy alcohol without a membership. The first time I encountered either of those situations I called a supervisor over since I didn’t want to get in trouble. If I let someone in that then got all the way to the check stand without a membership card I’d be the one getting yelled at since it totally stalled one of the checkout lines that get pretty damned long in the first place.

    Oh, and exit door training (at least at the warehouse where I worked) was only slightly more involved.

    “Check the receipts, watch for doubles and make sure that people actually have two of the item to avoid overcharges. If it’s really busy just get people through as quick as you can.”

    • Carlee says:

      I guess that’s the difference – that when you encountered a situation you weren’t told about beforehand, you asked a supervisor. From the OP’s story, it looks like the employee was insisting the only options were to pay for a membership or leave. Meaning the employee is *certain* (in her mind) about the store’s policies.

      I once tried to buy stuff with just a Cash Card at a self-checkout lane but the employee insisted we swipe the membership card first. Not sure if it was because it was self-checkout or something, but it seemed odd to me since I had read that you can shop at Costco w/o a membership card as long as you have the Cash Card.

      For the most part, I like Costco – but I hate how they are always trying to get us to upgrade to an executive(?) membership. They scan the card and I say “no thanks, we don’t want to upgrade” since I know what they’re going to say next, and their attitude is always “oh, you don’t want to save money?” I keep trying to be polite and say “thanks, we’re not interested” and such but they are so persistent. One guy asked if I didn’t want to take the time to upgrade or if I didn’t want to upgrade period. Dude, no, just leave me alone! I know I can get rewards back and stuff, but I don’t want to. Isn’t this America, don’t I get a choice?!

  20. Latentius says:

    Strange…I don’t frequent Costco, but I never had any trouble getting into one when I did.

    Back in college, I needed a prescription medication, but I was still on my parents’ health plan, which had just changed and was causing all sorts of headaches. As such, I had to pay for it entirely on my own (for the time being), and needed to find the cheapest place possible, which ended up being Costco.

    Back to the matter at hand, though, I never needed a membership. I just walked up to the greeter, said I needed to use the pharmacy, and that was that. No card checks, no hassle.

  21. SharkD says:

    Let me save the Consumerist a few thousand bytes and rewrite your letter for you:

    I read your article on how to shop at Costco without a membership awhile back and decided to give it a try. The nearest Costco is too far away to justify a membership, as it’s only convenient to go a couple of times per year.

    On my most recent visit, I showed the “Cash Card” to the employee at the front and she stopped me and asked to see my membership card. I politely told her that I was not a member but that Costco’s website states that non-members may use “Cash Cards” to shop inside the stores. She still refused me entry and denied me the opportunity to pull up the relevant policy on the Costco website.

    I walked 10 feet to my right and spoke to a representative at the membership counter. The lady there gave me a temporary pass, which let me enter and shop without any further issues.

    In short, if you’re not a member, but using a “Cash Card,” if the greeter is unaware of Costco’s ‘unpublished policy,’ walk over and ask for a temporary pass at the membership counter.

    Extraneous anecdotes, unnecessary commentary and hyperbolic editorialization only hurt your case.

  22. backinpgh says:

    Well in the employee’s defense, when I worked at Sam’s Club they would often have non-greeters cover the door for whatever reason (someone called off, greeter on break, etc.) I was a cashier, so I didn’t actually know any of the procedures of the door person. If that would have happened to me I wouldn’t have known any better either.

  23. dush says:

    Rude and aggressive greeters always makes more profit right?

  24. gparlett says:

    Who even stops to talk to those door people.. seriously, the front door of a Costco is like 30 feet wide and there’s one person at the front, I’ve never had to show a membership card to get inside, you just walk in with purpose and they don’t blink an eye. If your really worried about it, wait until someone else is going in and follow them, the front door person will be busy checking them and you just walk on past… don’t simply queue up because there is a line.

  25. framitz says:

    Really a non-issue due to the employee requiring additional training.
    OP got in the store, much whining about not much.

  26. LisetteKoopman says:

    I used to not show my receipt upon exiting Costco. One of the exit door bitches followed me to my car where I told her to fuck off. She did, only after I explained that Costco Corporate said I don’t have to show my receipt.

  27. Duke of URL says:

    Not even worth mentioning. let alone posting to the whole world. A minimum-wage, untrained employee doesn’t know all the company’s policies other than what she’s been told? O the horrorz…

  28. axolotl says:

    Just walk right in? I’ve never had anyone stop me and ask me to show them my card (which I don’t have). I have simply walked right in a number of times. It’s easy.

  29. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    It won’t do any good for purchasing, but in Texas just say you are buying beer or wine. They cannot require a membership for this and there are signs (in the store where you won’t see from outside) stating this very clearly.

    Once I was going to Sam’s club to pick up Pistachios and beer. I realized I left my card at home and rather than going through the membership desk I decided to just get the beer and told the person at the entrance… Their registers aren’t setup for it though. Apparently a supervisor keeps a membership card that they can scan for this purpose so it didn’t save as much time as I had hoped.

    • axolotl says:

      Or if your state doesn’t have those laws, “I’m here to sign up for a membership.”
      Then just walk right past the membership desk…

  30. Rocket80 says:

    In college my roommate asked to borrow my Costco card to go shopping and I said “You can, but I don’t think that’s going to work.” So of course he gets in, you just flash the card, and when he got the the register with this $200+ groceries on the belt the cashier said “Sir, this isn’t you is it?” and he said “No it’s my buddies card.” “Well sir you aren’t allowed to do that.”

    He says, “Oh, okay.” And starts walking out leaving all his cold/frozen stuff on the belt with an handful of people in line behind him. Of course they chase him down and say “It’s okay sir we will allow it this once.” And he said “I know – works every time”. Apparently he had pulled the same ‘trick’ off multiple times.

    I wish I could have been there.

  31. JMH says:

    Employee at unidentified store is rude, uninformed! Film at 11!

    Non-stories like this are why I can’t keep up with the volume on my Google Reader.

    • Latentius says:

      Agreed. It would be moderately annoying if you were that specific customer, but it’s such a minor grievance, like so many of Consumerist’s stories. I’m not sure of the reason–and this could just be a mistake in my perception–but it seems like there are a lot more of these stories popping up as of late.

      I can understand stories about high-value fraud and other anti-consumer tactics, but I could really deal without the million and a half whiny little “Oh, I had to put up with the slightest bit of aggravation!” articles.

  32. Ilovegnomes says:

    This happened to me too. My mother gave me a gift card (is that the same thing as a cash card?) for Christmas one year. I tried to use it without having a membership. I went to the membership counter and got a day pass but then when I got to the check out, the cashier would not allow me to use the gift certificate without a membership card. We spoke to a manager, no luck.

    Then I tried the whole, “Just go to another store,” strategy. This time it worked and they didn’t have a problem. This made me deduct that some stores participate and some don’t? I agree that you should call ahead and find one that works. I’m just lucky to have 4-5 Costco stores within an hour of me.

    Another option for the OP is to use the cash card on their website. I had no problem using it for that and then you don’t have to drive a long distance if you are not local to the store.

  33. pgr says:

    I belong to all three clubs (Costco, BJ’S & Sam’s) and I know for a fact Costco is the best by far! BJ’s doesn’t even care to see your card to get in the store, only at checkout, but Sam’s insists you flash something that looks like a card to them as well. I can’t understand the reasoning behind this nonsense though as all you have to do is go to the returns desk at Costco and then walk through the registers the wrong way. I do it all the time and I’m a member and just go to the service desk at either place and you’re in the store. It doesn’t make much difference if you don’t have a card you can’t buy anything so why do they hassle their customers this way?

    • mbz32190 says:

      BJ’s doesn’t even care if you are the person using the card if you go through the self-checkout (wink). But…BJ’s doesn’t seem to have as good of deals as Costco, and their gas sucks.

  34. valthun says:

    We have a membership and go fairly often. We also never show our card upon entering. If I ever get confronted about it I just say I am buying liquor or using the pharmacy. Anyone can enter and load up a cart, but they can’t pay unless they show membership or a gift card.

  35. BuddyL says:

    DOYEEE!! Just tell the front door ‘guard’ that you’re there to get a membership – they will let you pass through – then walk towards the membership counter, veering off shortly after getting close to it and do your freekin shopping. I do it all the time, because I ONLY go to Costco to get the $1.50 sausage dog and soda for lunch!

  36. skakh says:

    I must admit I just dont understand the Costco/Sams Club thing. Why pay money to someone for the joy of giving them my money. Senseless! I have found with a bit of work I can usually beat the Costco price anyway. And the joy of not having to fight the Costco adventure is worth any price.

  37. TheBigWhiteWolf says:

    I’m glad BJs doesn’t use their receipt checkers as bouncers.

  38. gman863 says:

    Rule #1: Don’t talk about price club.

    Rule #1: See rule #1.

  39. karlmarx says:

    I guess I am one of those people that pays now $110 for the Executive Membership and I don’t think its fair for someone to take advantage of a loop hole like this when everyone else has to pay for their membership.

    • edrebber says:

      You’re getting a 2% rebate on all purchases.

      • karlmarx says:

        Well I also upgraded my membership because I think Exec Members get treated better when you have to return something under the satisfaction return policy

  40. jeremymiles says:

    At our Costco, you just need to take something out of your wallet that looks vaguely like a membership card and wave it at the checker from a distance. Then you and anyone standing near you walks past them.

  41. edrebber says:

    If the cash card doesn’t have enough money to pay for the purchase they let you use cash or a debit card. You can just keep the depleted cash card and pay with a debit card or cash forever with no membership fee. You swipe the cash card first and then swipe the debit card or hand them cash for the difference.

  42. djshinyo says:

    Hmmmmm, my local club never asks me for my card when I enter the store, just when I buy the shit.

  43. glitterpig says:

    It’s not like it’s a new policy or anything. My mom gave me a Costco cash card over a decade ago and I had no problem getting in and buying stuff. They did try to sell me a membership, but I just said no thanks and it was no big deal.

  44. Bionic Data Drop says:

    Quit trying to circumvent the system and buy a membership like the rest of us. If you’re too broke to buy a membership, try panhandling.

  45. rja6749 says:

    The last time I went to CostCo, it was raining and there was a line out the door waiting to show the greeter their membership card. Since I was there to get a single item (which they didn’t have anyways), I just walked in. The greeter actually chased me through the store, yelling Sir! Sir! louder and louder until I finally stopped. In the meantime, while she was chasing me down, who was greeting the masses waiting to get in? No one…