Shopping Discussion

New Costco Gift Card Policy - Non Members allowed only 2 separate purchases

  • Last Updated:
  • Jan 21st, 2018 7:03 am
Deal Addict
Dec 27, 2013
1656 posts
433 upvotes
Woodbridge
NumberThree wrote:
Jan 12th, 2018 8:24 am
Membership fee at Costco is a tax on idiocy.
I paid ~$135 (tax included) for my executive membership last year. I received a rebate cheque for ~$150. Here are some of the items that I purchase I Costco regularly:

1. Gas (no 2$ cash back for executive membership, but 2% cash back with MC) (can be found cheaper at CT - read down a few replies)
2. Natrel Filtered Milk (I check Flipp and Reebee weekly to see if it is on sale anywhere else to price match. I think I found it cheaper twice, in 3 years)
3. Canned cat food (price fluctuates, and we only get the 48 pack when it goes down to ~$21 (43.75 cents/can, best we price-match is 50 cents/can elsewhere)
4. Frozen fruit (2kg of frozen mangos, $9 on sale. Organic too, not that I need it. 600g bags are $4 for Great Value brand)
5. Lettuce - 6 pack for ~$4.79. I also check the flyers weekly and sometimes they have 3 packs for $2, in which case I price match
6. Cheese - 900g pack of cheddar for under $8 - you're lucky to find 450g on sale for $4.50 anywhere else
7. Cat litter
8. Snacks like popcorn, tortillas

On top of that, got an Acer Swift 3 for $739 that Amazon hasn't had below $799 ever. Various clothes and jackets, socks, shirts, underwear, shoes. Miele vacuum $299 (to be fair, others had the same promotion). Brita filters. Cutting board. Knives.

Oh, and I'm shopping for a family of 2 as well.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that Costco is what you make it to be. My wife and I never go in and walk out with hundreds of dollars worth of stuff. We go to Costco every Thursday and we usually buy about $50-80 worth of staples that we need all the time. Milk, eggs, salads. We get coffee when we need it. We get hand soap when we need it. $60 bottle of Aqua di Gio you're not finding anywhere else. Nuts, jams. Rotisserie chicken for $8. We don't buy things we don't need, and their return policy is second to none. We've bought so many things that we were interested in trying out and then returned because we didn't like. We've also discovered things that we buy regularly that we would never have had the confidence to try had it not been for their return policy. Just bought two recliners last night while returning one that has been giving us nothing but headaches for a couple of years.

Making the blanket statement that Costco members are just "following the herd" or "sheep" demonstrates the same lack of critical thinking that you criticize those same members for. You can't group everyone up in the same net.
Last edited by jvnanu on Jan 14th, 2018 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
Sr. Member
Dec 30, 2006
512 posts
198 upvotes
Toronto
Poutinesauce wrote:
Jan 11th, 2018 5:52 pm
It's both hilarious and sad at the same time that so many people are free shills for a giant retailer, and consider membership to said organization as some sort of status, one that likes to portray itself as humane and compassionate, and yet has driven countless small businesses and suppliers to bankruptcy by bleeding them dry.

There are bigger issues in the world than Costco membership policies. I really don't understand why so many people are getting overjoyed because one retailer, that doesn't care a iota about them, has decided to be even more bigheaded and arrogant than it already is.
Nobody is forcing anybody to sign up for a membership. You don't like it, don't shop there.

Costco makes most of their profit through the membership, thats why they have low prices ( IIRC their average margin per item is less than 10%).

People like OP are abusing the system and should not be allowed to do so. Buy a membership or simply don't shop at Costco.

As an fyi... Costco is by far the best retailer to work for. They treat employees far better than others .

https://i-sight.com/resources/employee- ... es-costco/

http://m.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/reason ... _n_4275774

So. Yes. Too bad for OP. Please don't shop at Costco. Makes life better for paying members.
Deal Addict
Dec 4, 2004
2127 posts
327 upvotes
jvnanu wrote:
Jan 14th, 2018 10:50 am
1. Gas (cannot be found cheaper elsewhere)
My reply is not meant to be confrontational about the merits or lack thereof of a Costco membership. It's meant to be helpful for those looking to get the best deal. Gas is cheaper at Canadian tire when you factor in the use of 10% off gift cards (ideally purchased with a 3-4% rebate credit card), 2cents off/litre coupons and bonus Canadian tire money. The 10% off gift cards are currently available at RCSS stores and their affiliates.

Currently, in my town, Costco is selling gas at 109.4 and Canadian tire is at 113.6. Take the 2 cents off coupon and it is 111.6. With a 3% rebated credit card, and 10% off gift cards, that's an effective discount of 12.4% which makes the price per litre at Canadian tire 97.8.
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User avatar
Oct 22, 2007
8516 posts
1774 upvotes
London
tyrrell wrote:
Jan 14th, 2018 11:19 am
People like OP are abusing the system and should not be allowed to do so. Buy a membership or simply don't shop at Costco.
How can you abuse a system that the retailer has themselves set up and allows? If Costco didn't want non-members using cash cards, they could cut them off or change the terms... like they did over the summer.
Newbie
Sep 1, 2017
34 posts
35 upvotes
myapple wrote:
Jan 12th, 2018 4:20 pm
First of all, who uses terms like "a tax on idiocy"? Sounds kinda douchey.
Right. I feel like such an idiot shopping there too because that $60 membership saves us $400+ per year in pharmacy items (nevermind the good prices on anything else we may also buy there)
Deal Addict
Dec 27, 2013
1656 posts
433 upvotes
Woodbridge
Chookman wrote:
Jan 14th, 2018 12:45 pm
My reply is not meant to be confrontational about the merits or lack thereof of a Costco membership. It's meant to be helpful for those looking to get the best deal. Gas is cheaper at Canadian tire when you factor in the use of 10% off gift cards (ideally purchased with a 3-4% rebate credit card), 2cents off/litre coupons and bonus Canadian tire money. The 10% off gift cards are currently available at RCSS stores and their affiliates.

Currently, in my town, Costco is selling gas at 109.4 and Canadian tire is at 113.6. Take the 2 cents off coupon and it is 111.6. With a 3% rebated credit card, and 10% off gift cards, that's an effective discount of 12.4% which makes the price per litre at Canadian tire 97.8.
I didn't think of that. Thank you for the info. I've edited my original post. This of course changes with the price of gas at Canadian Tire vs. Costco. For me, I filled up at 111.7 last night and Canadian Tire was 119.7. If I use the 2 cent coupon I get that down to 117.7.

$90 at Costco gets me 80.57 litres and I get $1.80 back on my MC
$90 for a $100 CT Gift Card gets me 84.96 litres. I'd only get back $0.45 or $0.90 on my MC but I'm getting over $4 of gas for free and I'm getting CT money back.

Might not be worth it for me since I'm rarely around a CT Gas station but often at a Costco; however, if the difference between Costco and CT is even smaller and you're close to a CT gas station then absolutely this could add up.
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2011
20907 posts
7742 upvotes
Ottawa
You're not saving much on regular 87.
If you're filling up with premium 91, it was $1.25/L today, whereas the next comparable station was selling at $1.38/L.
Member
Jun 26, 2007
400 posts
171 upvotes
I personally dislike the idea of paying to shop somewhere, it's a psychological trick that entices you to buy more to "make it worth it" and the store could pull in a similar profit without resorting to such slimey business practices. I'm pretty surprised it's still legal, but while it is I just vote with my wallet and never shop at Costco.

If you don't like Costco, I recommend you do the same and in fact, go in and buy two tiny items so they have to give you the cash for the gift card. It effectively short-circuits the scam and it's the best deal in gift cards. What company offers you cash for store credit?
Sr. Member
Dec 15, 2013
884 posts
202 upvotes
North of Toronto
Flunk wrote:
Jan 19th, 2018 8:10 pm
I personally dislike the idea of paying to shop somewhere, it's a psychological trick that entices you to buy more to "make it worth it" and the store could pull in a similar profit without resorting to such slimey business practices. I'm pretty surprised it's still legal, but while it is I just vote with my wallet and never shop at Costco.

If you don't like Costco, I recommend you do the same and in fact, go in and buy two tiny items so they have to give you the cash for the gift card. It effectively short-circuits the scam and it's the best deal in gift cards. What company offers you cash for store credit?
Maybe it's not Costco's fault that you can't control your spending. Costco is not manipulating you by making you pay for a membership. It's actually pretty bad if you can't shop somewhere because you think its some mass conspiracy when it really isn't.

Infact, Costco has proven that the membership card system works very very well. It controls their profits which is needed for any corporation and its stock holders. We don't live in fantasy land where profits don't matter. They do matter, anywhere you shop. The fact that they can do that while maintaining a markup of 14% or less on regular items and 15% or less on Kirkland items is pretty awesome. This is all public knowledge btw. I've watched a few documentaries and have known people who work for that company. They are not perfect by any stretch of the means but they are often leaps and bounds ahead of the competition.

I vote with my wallet too, I shop at Costco and many other places. There is no one stop shop that has everything at the lowest price.
Last edited by GhostBusters on Jan 20th, 2018 9:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Addict
Feb 7, 2017
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Flunk wrote:
Jan 19th, 2018 8:10 pm
I personally dislike the idea of paying to shop somewhere, it's a psychological trick that entices you to buy more to "make it worth it" and the store could pull in a similar profit without resorting to such slimey business practices. I'm pretty surprised it's still legal, but while it is I just vote with my wallet and never shop at Costco.

If you don't like Costco, I recommend you do the same and in fact, go in and buy two tiny items so they have to give you the cash for the gift card. It effectively short-circuits the scam and it's the best deal in gift cards. What company offers you cash for store credit?
For the longest time we resisted Costco as well because of the Membership Fee.

Then we got a Costco Gift Card, and HAD to go into the store to redeem.

We are a household of 2 empty nesters... so much of the bulk / big packaging doesn’t work for us...

But we have found value in other ways / areas of the store: Books, Magazines, Clothes, Shoes, Computer Ink Refills, Eyeglasses, Vitamins, Toothbrushes, Plants, Gardening Supplies, Patio Items, Car Tires, Gasoline, Propane etc

Once we decided to join (Regular Annual Membership = $ 60). We found in our first trip to the store that we literally made up for our $ 60 outlay in Membership that day... in fact it came down to just one item (never mind everything else we had in our cart that we found worthwhile)... we bought an item for our outdoor patio that was way cheaper than it was at any other store or online we found in Canada. We were literally paying less than half price.

I am not one to go into Costco and buy everything in sight either... we shop with a budget and a plan. RFD has definitely helped us to understand how Costco markets their goods, as well as what their signage means to understand when something is worth buying or not (not everything at Costco is automatically the lowest price you are going to find it at).

Then of course there is Costco’s AMAZING Return / Refund Policy for Members... cannot be beat.

If you have not, I suggest you read my post about my findings at Costco as a newbie... if you do so with an open mind, you may just look at Costco from a whole other stance

See Reply # 4 in this topic

costco-membership-offers-best-value-2150408/
Deal Addict
Dec 27, 2013
1656 posts
433 upvotes
Woodbridge
Flunk wrote:
Jan 19th, 2018 8:10 pm
I personally dislike the idea of paying to shop somewhere, it's a psychological trick that entices you to buy more to "make it worth it" and the store could pull in a similar profit without resorting to such slimey business practices. I'm pretty surprised it's still legal, but while it is I just vote with my wallet and never shop at Costco.

If you don't like Costco, I recommend you do the same and in fact, go in and buy two tiny items so they have to give you the cash for the gift card. It effectively short-circuits the scam and it's the best deal in gift cards. What company offers you cash for store credit?
Psychological "tricks" are all over retail. Every decision is made to try and maximize sales. The way sale items are presented. The location of specific items in a store. The height at which certain items are placed on a shelf. It's all psychology. The fact that you're aware of some and not of others doesn't change that. In fact, going into Costco knowing that you think they're trying to trick you might actually make you more careful in your shopping. You have to pay to shop anywhere. I don't remember the last time I walked into a store and walked out with items and not having had to pay. If you're not charging a cover, you're raising your margins. I personally find it silly to give up on big potential savings on principle but to each their own.
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User avatar
Dec 3, 2004
4735 posts
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Vancouver
I think it's ridiculous that a membership store requires you to have a membership to shop there. Absurd! You should go straight to Justin Trudeau and file a complaint, skip all the middle-men.
Deal Addict
Oct 27, 2009
3677 posts
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Ontario
It's only going to hurt the independent eye doctors and pharmacists running their businesses inside the stores as their colleges have a rule about public access.
Otherwise, the gift card gap has finally been dealt the hand.
Summer 2018-retro candy and treats time
Deal Addict
Nov 11, 2004
1221 posts
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Woodbridge
I wish they would do something about those people that would split a purchase in two or three, knowing well that the subsequent purchases are for non-members. I'm not against it, I just think if they make separate purchases, they should go back in line after the first purchase.

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