I don't frequent Costco regularly; I probably go there once every two months or so. Even when I do shop there, I usually pick up only a few small items (0-5). As such, I am not a member - I can't save enough a year to cover the membership cost. However, my friend has bought me a cash card to use.
Being a nonmember cash card user has its hassles. I have to go to the front desk to obtain a "pass" and the staff would ask whether you would like membership or not. During checkout, the cashier would always need to wave over a supervisor and have him/her enter some code or whatnot. All this is fine; I don't mind waiting for them to complete the proper procedures.
The problem I have with Costco is the staff's attitudes towards nonmembers with cash cards. On occassions, the front desk workers/cashier/supervisor would roll their eyes or ask in an expaserated tone "You don't have membership? " or "You don't want membership? ". Their attitude, tone, body language, and facial expressions become disrespectful and rude.
Today (1:00 pm, April 15, 2011) at the 2370 Ottawa St., Port Coquitlam, B.C. Costco warehouse, I have received the most horrible treatment I have ever been subjected to at any establishment. The front desk worker was a woman named Elaine. I declined the membership offer, showed her the cash card, and asked if I can get an entry pass (which is a partially filled out membership form). Right off, her demeanor changed. As she was filling out the form for me (I had provided her with my name, address, etc...), she said "Don't think you can rely on a cash card every time to get in." I was completely stunned and stood in baffled silence as she continued along those lines. This was the first time I've seen her. My last visit to Costco was months ago. Yet she seemed to be insinuating that I perpetually try and sneak in.
I may not be a member, but I am still a customer. This woman treated me as if I was a beggar pleading for entry or a crime committing thief. I was confused, angry, and upset. I am not one for confrontation, so I just took my pass and walked off. I turned around after a few steps and saw that she had waved another coworker over and began talking about me. She was making gestures towards me and the coworker shot a few disapproving glances my way whilst shaking his head. I was again shocked at their audacity and blatant behaviour. I left without buying anything.
From the Canadian Costco website, it writes nonmembers may use cash cards. There are also no restrictions on the usage number or on the amounts of goods purchased with it. So why do they treat nonmembers so crassly? If they are unhappy with nonmembers' business, why do they not change their policies regarding cash cards? Why not cater exclusively to members? If they allow anyone to use their cash cards, they shouldn't allow prevalent discrimination against nonmembers. Overall, this has been a most disturbing and upsetting event for me.