If you are Costco member, please feel free to share your experience with membership and having to show I.D. Would love to hear another perspective. Here is my story:
I don’t get angry often, but if there is one thing that will get me really charged up is poor customer service. My expectation of how consumers should be treated is based on the simple fact that when we spend our hard-earned money in a store or place of business, we deserve a certain type of treatment. I don’t expect any more for myself than anyone else. No red carpets, bowing or kissing-up is necessary, just plain courtesy, respect and some modicum of gratitude in the form of convenience. Hey, I don’t care if I’m greeted with a smile or I’m thanked on the way out, just let me shop, check out when I’m ready, and when I have an issue or question, respond to my concerns.
I became a Costco member in 1995, when it was still named Price Club. My husband and I do most of our household shopping at Costco, going almost every week. If you are a Costco member you know that it is very easy to walk out with a $200 receipt for groceries. Costco knows exactly how much we spend because when they wanted me to upgrade to business membership, the cashier told me how much we had spent the year before. But, yesterday my shopping experience became very unpleasant when the cashier asked me for I.D. to pay for my groceries. In the sixteen years that I have been shopping at Costco and spending more than $3,000 annually, suddenly I was treated like a shady character trying to get away with a cartful of stuff. At first I thought I had misunderstood the cashier, so when I asked her to repeat it she explained that she need to see an I.D. with a photo on it because my membership card does not have a photo on the back. My card has not had a photo in the past 900 times I have checked out.
There was a moment when I considered just showing her my I.D. and letting the whole thing pass. But, it just felt so wrong. I could not let this go so I asked to speak to a manager. The cashier had nothing to do with this, it was the policy of making a long-time customer show I.D. that was the issue. The manager did not understand because she immediately came to the cashier’s defense. Now, I had to explain to her that the cashier is out of this, I am contesting the policy that requires that I show I.D. after spending money at your store for more than sixteen years.
Besides poor customer service, the other thing that really gets me upset is consumer deception. Things like misleading signage and false or confusing advertising are practices that I will call out and contest. So, yesterday’s blatant lie by the employees at Costco left me speechless. Their response to this policy was that it was to protect me. They went on about if my purse were stolen, someone would use my card. Are you kidding me?! If someone steals my purse, they are going to take my cash and credit cards – not my Costco card! And, it’s a membership card that is not tied to any cash or bank account so what exactly is being protected? The least they could do is tell me the truth: the reason I’m being inconvenienced is to protect their interests, not mine. I don’t believe that card use by non-members is so high that it justifies upsetting a loyal customer.
Anyway, I know that anger is not something to hold on to. I prefer to look at this as a learning experience. I have the power as the consumer. I can have my photo taken and eliminate the doubt as to why I am being carded – is it because I’m Hispanic that I’m being targeted for I.D. checks? Or, I can continue to use my card to see when and how often I am asked to show I.D., or I could cancel my membership. I’ve learned that my expectations of Costco, and other retailers for that matter, have been too high. I expect that my loyalty means that they know me and value me, but it doesn’t. If I’m just another transaction for them, for me they’re just another store of many just like them.
Thank you to my readers for putting up with my ranting today. It has helped me to purge this negative experience. I am grateful for the awareness and I hope it makes positive change for others.