One of the world's largest membership warehouse clubs, Costco, is reportedly on the verge of implementing a new policy that bans non-club members from dining at its eateries. However, according to a customer service representative, this is a policy that is already in place.
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FOX Business placed calls to Costco customer service Tuesday inquiring about the policy. A customer service representative said that such a policy is already in place but is "hard to enforce" because several of their food courts are located outside.
However, a Costco corporate spokesperson declined to confirm that this policy already exists or will soon be implemented.
Several published reports Tuesday suggest that starting in March, the membership-only store, otherwise known as an oasis for shoppers looking to buy in bulk, will make sure anyone purchasing from the food courts have a paid membership.
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A Costco membership starts at $60 annually for Gold Star Member and goes up in price from there. Consumers can also opt for the Gold Star Executive membership, which offers an annual 2 percent reward on eligible Costco and Costco travel purchases as well as extra benefits on select Costco services, for $120 annually.
The news erupted across social media last week after the Instagram account @CostcoDeal posted a sign reportedly inside one of the retailer's locations that reads: "Effective March 16, 2020, an active Costco membership card will be required to purchase items from our food court. You can join today. Please see our membership counter for details."
ABC's San Diego affiliate, 10News (KGTV), confirmed that a local Costco at 650 Gateway Center Dr. in the city's Mountain View neighborhood sported the very same sign pictured above. The signs were placed below menus and at a table where memberships are sold, the outlet reported.
Some Instagram users claim the move "makes sense." For others who frequently devour the $2 pizza slices or $1.50 hot dogs, it came as an unwelcome surprise.
"My teenage kids run by and grab a quick lunch or dinner when they are working or going to school," one Twitter user wrote. "I also know people on a fixed income who appreciate being able to grab a cheap meal for their families without it costing a fortune."
This report has been updated to reflect comments from Costco corporate communications.