Costco Check out

Costco Check out by Michael Lehet (CC BY-ND)

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It's official: Costco is cracking down on membership sharing. That means if you normally lend your card to your brother, or use your friend's card to buy your groceries, you better come up with a plan B.

Costco superfans on Reddit's r/Costco community were the first to sound the alarm (and we were one of the first to cover the topic #humblebrag) when they started noticing signs placed at the self checkout area that ominously reminded shoppers that "membership cards are not transferable."

Now the crackdown has come to pass, according to CNN, confirming what shoppers have known for a while. "We don’t feel it’s right that nonmembers receive the same benefits and pricing as our members,” Costco said in a statement to CNN. 

However you feel about Costco membership sharing morally, lots of Redditors have posted horror stories about overzealous employees making them feel like criminals, and that's not OK. 

"Accused of card sharing and trying to steal in the same trip" is the title of a thread by u/rascalromagnoli12. "I feel like I need to give fair warning to others," said the self-proclaimed overtired mom. "My most recent trip there was so stressful and I was accused at every corner ... when it was time to pay, they saw it was my husband’s picture and not mine. The checkout person then called the manager. The manager handed me a letter saying how card sharing is not tolerated. I apologized, told them I actually pay for the card, and that I will get a card of myself next time."

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Another Redditor, u/beyondcivil, recounts their own experience. "I was grilled at self checkout yesterday. They wanted to see front and back of my card then asked me to verbally say my name to confirm it matched. It was such an awkward experience and I felt like the employee was digging to find anything wrong while other customers walked right on by."

Redditor u/Mission-Childhood-92 said they "had to show card to get in... Show person near register and be interrogated and then scan it at the register. It felt like I had done something wrong when I hadn't."

A number of people said they had problems making two transactions, even if it was their Costco card and they were paying for both transactions. "We were shopping for a party so I had two carts and it was going to be one large purchase minus two shirts that I wanted on a different card - BOTH in my name," said u/KilliganKallie. "They insisted I go get her a card and she said but I'm 16 and we live in the same house. Cashier was super rude and I did have to get the manager to complete my transaction. It was completely ridiculous."

The extreme policy enforcement has some Costco members rethinking whether they even want to be members anymore. "The only thing that has been keeping me at Costco is the gas prices," said u/deku920.  "I'm saying that as someone who's grandmother worked for corporate for a few decades, have been a Costco family my whole life ... Absolutely will [not be] renewing my membership unless this harassing the customer ... changes before my membership expires."

Making customers feel like they're being harassed is not a great way to retain members. One Redditor, u/britlor, had a pretty great idea how they can lay off members a bit and actually make money. "If Costco is this stressed out about card sharing, why don't they do what Sam's does and have an option to add more members to your household for a small fee?" 

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