How I Shop at Costco without Paying for a Membership

how to shop at Costco without a membership
There’s a false impression that in order to shop at Costco warehouses, you have to pay a membership fee. While this is the normal route for people to shop at their stores, there’s a “Costco hack” that will allow you to shop at any of their warehouses without having to purchase a membership. This hack is much more effective for people who don’t shop at Costco on a regular basis, since it does take a little bit of extra work. But absolutely anybody can do it if they are looking for a way to save $55. I know because I currently do this hack.

Let me first state that I believe Costco is a great company that treats its employees well. For this reason, I feel that any


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48 Responses to How I Shop at Costco without Paying for a Membership

  1. ilovedessert says:

    Since my wife works at Costco and has for many years,…I want you to think about this…as of 2013 80% of their profit came from it fair or right to basicly be a cheat????

    Is it worth all the effort to have to look thru Craig’s List or bother friends to get giftcards to save $55??? I would think after awhile you’r friends will get tired of you mooching off of them.

    Frankly your time is worth the $55 and if everyone did what you do, there wouldn’t be a Costco, b/c they would lose 80% of their profit…if you don’t know the menaing of the word Cutzpah, I suggest you look it up!

  2. jeffrey says:

    If you read the article, I expressed that this is a hack for those who don’t shop at Costco often and encouraged all to purchase a membership in most cases. This is for those who would not purchase a membership. I was a member for many years and I will be again if I start to go more often. Until then, this is an option.

  3. stacy says:

    How does this work when you give them a gift card? If you have a $25 cash card and the stuff you want to buy is $100, what happens you go to checkout?

  4. jeffrey says:

    When you go up to pay, you hand them the gift card. They can’t scan it like a regular Costco card and they usually have to have a manager come to over-ride the regular system. If you’re buying more than is on the gift card (say $100 worth of items with a $25 gift card as in your example), they would deduct the full $25 off the gift card and then you would need to pay the remaining amount with cash or debit card (I always use cash). It’s pretty painless and not something that’s a big ordeal.

  5. Honest Shopper says:

    Really! It really irritates me when people like you skirt around policies and think they can justify it. Just because you don’t use it doesn’t give you the right to shop without paying for the membership. I hear people say, it is only me and my husband, we couldn’t shop at Costco. Well, it is just me and my husband and we do the majority of our shopping there. Not only food but other stuff like clothing, HABA, TV’s and a lot more. When people like you skirt around Membership you are hurting the people who DO pay for the membership, by causing Costco to increase their prices. I bet you don’t even have a AAA card, but if your car breaks down you are on the phone calling friends asking if you can barrow their card!

  6. jeffrey says:

    It’s not skirting around the policies. Costco policies directly allow it. They allow it so that members can buy gift cards for non members. Again, it would be easy for them to not allow this by making a rule that people who use gift cards must be a member, but they expressly don’t require this for a reason. For people like me who the cost of a membership doesn’t make sense.

  7. Honest Shopper says:

    Then why even shop there? Seriously, even if Costco doesn’t spell it out it in their policy it is not in the spirit that the gift cards are to be used. Again, it is people like you that abuse policies by skirting around them make it harder for people like me who pay my fair share. Maybe you would think differently if they charged non members 5% to use a gift card, like some places do. OK, I have wasted too much time on you but it is apparent that you have a lot of time on your hands to come up with these ideas of yours. How about you figure out a skirt around for Medicare, or better yet social security. It is my money why can’t I have it now?

  8. jeffrey says:

    Again, I was a member for years and years (actually since when they were Price Club if you can remember that far back). It’s only in the last couple of years when it no longer made financial sense for me to get a membership because it was too far away and I no longer shopped there on a regular basis. As I stated in the article, anyone who shops there regularly, it makes more sense to get a membership.

    What if I asked friends and family for Costco gift cards for my birthday and Christmas? I could easily get them this way as well. And Costco does make money. They don’t lose money when I shop there. They aren’t selling things at a loss. The choice in my situation is that they earn nothing from me or a little something. I choose to let them earn a little something from me.

  9. Me says:

    The problem with buying cash cards from a 3rd party site is you have no idea if the person selling it to you, has bought it legally. And as a third party to this, if the company decides to pursue the person who used someone else’s card, then your gift card could easily be frozen, and you could be out the $ you paid for it.

    Just saying.

  10. sb says:

    Your last paragraph seems contradictory:

    Going “to Costco more than a few times a year” = “worthwhile to purchase a membership”

    Yet you “only go once every few months”, which translates to more than a few times a year, and find it better to not pay for a membership.

    Maybe “few” in your book is 6 or more. Which is crazy.

  11. jeffrey says:

    I go roughly once every three/four months which is about 3-4 times a year. I don’t see anything contradictory there with the statements I made.

  12. sb says:

    So if you’re going 4 times then a year then according to your logic it’s “worthwhile to purchase a membership”.

  13. jeffrey says:

    heh — you’re getting lost in semantics of what a few means and missing the point. As I clearly stated, if you are getting $55+ worth of savings, then you should buy the membership. This is true if you go only once or it takes you 8 times. I said that if you go more than a few times, then it usually makes sense to buy one.

  14. jvk says:

    I agree with the others. This practice is wrong. You referred to it as a “hack”. If you went to the service desk at Costco and asked them if you could do this, you know the answer would be no. If you want to go to Costco, buy the membership. It’s that simple. Don’t try to cheat the company of what is entitled to them. The fact that they make money from you is not the point. You’ve just encouraged all your readers to cheat the system. You may not think its a big deal, but if Costco starts losing all this money in memberships due to your suggestion, it does turn out to be a big deal after all.

  15. jeffrey says:

    If I went to the service desk and I asked if I could buy them, they would say “no” because the rules are that only members can buy the gift cards. If I went up with a friend and he said he wanted to buy four $25 gift cards for his friend, they would say sure and sell the gift cards to him. I know because I’ve done it before.

  16. david says:

    I don’t see any problem with this since it doesn’t break any rules. In fact, I think it’s pretty clever. I wouldn’t use it myself since I go to Costco too often and doing that would be a pain, but I can see why it could be a good alternative for those who only go once or twice a year. It’s an option for those who want to do it and you don’t have to do it if you don’t want.

    It seems that Costco has thought this through. They make it difficult enough that most people aren’t going to bother doing it, but it’s a good way to save for those who are willing to go through the hoops.

    I am skeptical that Costco actually loses any money doing this. It’s a small subset that will go to the effort to do this, and if more people do, they will change the rules to stop it.

  17. ilovedessert says:

    Good day,

    In so many ways your taking advantage of those of us who are members and you seem proud of it….

    In your article you mention that you:

    “This way for a $200 investment, I can go to Costco eight times whereas if I put $200 on a single card…..”

    You also stated in you response to a posting:

    “I go roughly once every three/four months which is about 3-4 times a year…………”
    So you’re willing to tie up your $200 or part of it for at least 2 years….why tie your $ up for so long? But not get $55 a year for membership?

    You also stated:

    “If you read the article,………….”

    I did read it a number of times and I can’t believe how penny wise and dollar foolish you are, as well as cheap. What you’re doing is in effect is cheating. As I stated above in 2013, 80% of the profits come from membership… that will require Costco to either raise the rate of membership for those of us who are too honest to use your “hack”….or raise the price of the goods sold…because you want to screw the system.

    You also stated:
    “………..either have to purchase them from somebody who I know who has a membership, or purchase them on a secondary market like eBay or Craigslist. Secondary market Costco gift cards actually cost more than their face value, but still can be worth purchasing because they will be less than the membership fee if you only go a few times a year. I personally have a friend buy them for me…….”

    1. Isn’t your time worth $55 than to waste your time trying to buy Costco cards on Craig’s list or eBay. In addition, you’re imposing on a friend’s membership b/c you have as my Mom would say…”the nerve of a bad tooth”…

    2. Don’t you think Costco will have to change it’s policies in reference to gift cards, if more people think like you??? Thus your article will likely make the rules for change for everyone….such as keeping track of how often you come into Costco to shop with only a gift card and not a membership, they may limit the amount times you can shop….

    Just to show you the good deals that one can get at Costco…as I already stated my wife works for Costco for many years…she mentioned that a customer bought enough Nutra System gift cards to buy a months worth of food from them….at Costco each $100 card costs $79…so you’ll save $42 a month by buying Nutra systems gift cards at Costco and then ordering the food from Nutra System….That’s already $42 of the $55 membership.

    In addition if you have the executive membership for $110, you’ll get a check for a % of your purchases, that will help defray the cost of the $110.

    I have been a member of Costco for 17 years, and I only shop 3 to 4 times a year generally for 2 people….my 1st purchase of the year more than covers the $55 membership. All of this without having to screw the system and in effect ripping of Costco.

    You truly do meet the definition of Chutzpah….the best way to explain the meaning of Chutzpah is to give you a lose translation of an old Jewish proverb….a person who kills his parents and then pleads for mercy because he’s an orphan.

    When people steal from the cable companies, the rates go up as they need to pay salaries to track down cable theft…’re in effect doing the same thing…since Costco will likely have to either take punitive action of people like you who are frequent abusers of the system or by raising the cost to the rest of us…..

  18. jeffrey says:

    To answer your questions:

    So you’re willing to tie up your $200 or part of it for at least 2 years…why tie your $ up for so long? But not get $55 a year for membership?

    Simple, the numbers. That $200 sitting in a bank for 2 years would only net me about $5 in interest.

    Isn’t your time worth $55 than to waste your time trying to buy Costco cards on Craigslist or eBay?

    I didn’t buy them on those venues. As I stated, I bought them with a friend. It wasn’t a waste of my time at all. I went to Costco with a friend because he asked me to help him buy supplies for a party he was having. I would have been there anyway.

    Don’t you think Costco will have to change it’s policies in reference to gift cards, if more people think like you???

    No. Costco doesn’t lose a penny by me doing this (they actually make a little money). If I didn’t have the gift cards, I wouldn’t buy a membership because, like I explained, it doesn’t make financial sense for me. I don’t make my money back. If these gift cards weren’t available, I simply wouldn’t shop at Costco. You obviously do make your money back, so the membership is worthwhile to you and you should buy one.

    You are making the assumption that everyone will start doing this. That simply is not the case in my opinion. I could have done it years ago, but didn’t until I got to the point where my membership was no longer paying for itself. People who are getting value out of the membership will pay for it. People who aren’t, won’t.

  19. Kat says:

    Oh the outrage of all those holier-than-thou people!!!! Let me ask you, do you make sure that you declare every single last penny on your tax declaration? And if there were a legal loophole to save taxes, you would not use it because your conscience wouldn’t allow it?? This Costco thing is nothing else – it is a LEGAL and therefore PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE loophole! You don’t think Costco has enough clever lawyers etc. working for them that could easily change regulations if they wanted to? You’re acting as if Costco is this poor little corner store and people are abusing it. COME ON!! You’re only talking about one of the biggest retailers in the US!!! Why did you all even read this article if you are so outraged at the idea of “shopping there without a membership”?? How did you even find this article??

    I, for one, thank you, Jeffrey, and will get a friend to get me some giftcards. If, in the long run, I find myself shopping there a lot, I will get a membership. But for now, this is a great way for me to try it out.

  20. cheryl says:

    here’s my suggestion: go to the service desk and get a free pass.good for one shopping trip.

  21. Jessie says:

    Jeffrey, this is a super idea. I’ve wanted to shop at Costco but I can’t afford to buy in bulk so a membership wouldn’t be worth it.

    What’s wrong with this? Costco sells gift cards. You are buying the gift cards from someone who bought them at full price from Costco. The company is losing nothing on the deal, and as you said, they still make a profit when you shop there.

    The people who are so upset with you probably are angry because they didn’t think of it first, and now they feel stupid for buying their memberships. :-)

  22. marie says:

    People are such sensitive babies…I am glad to have this knowledge.There is nothing wrong with using gift cards i probably would just not call it a hack since it is not.

  23. holly says:

    It’s kinda funny how hurt people get by you finding a way to save $ on the membership fee. I think they’re just mad they didn’t think of it. I sometimes go to Costco with my mom and she buys me groceries for my own little family to help me out. I went once alone with her card and the cashier said “that’s not you” when she looked at the card. I felt like saying, “Yeah, and ?” but I kept my mouth shut cause I needed those groceries. IDK if she thought I stole it, but who would honestly shop at Costco on a stolen card ? lolol.

  24. Costco member says:

    Holly you are obviously very ignorant. The cashier asked you because the cards aren’t transferable. Let me ask you this: would you go to the gym with your mom’s gym pass too? Costco actually does lose money on people like you Jeffrey. The only thing costco does make money on is there memberships because they make almost nothing on their products. That’s why it’s called a warehouse because it’s warehouse pricing for MEMBERS ONLY. Ps just so you know you can’t return anything when you don’t have a membership. That is all

  25. jb says:

    So you purchase 200 dollars worth of gift cards? The membership only costs 55 for the basic one. How did your math pan out? You shop there twice and you could have a membership. It’s a waste of money to keep buying gift cards considering the membership isn’t just for costco. It’s for other services like car insurance, home insurance, you get discounts at dealerships if you buy a new car and getting a membership is also supporting the employees. If everyone did this do you think they can afford to pay their employees 23 bucks an hour? I think not.

  26. seriously says:

    To write something like this about any company is a slap in that companies face . Think about if you owned a business and somehow whenever certain people shopped they got 20% off . Now let’s put it to the perspective that your items only have a 14% markup you just lost 6% net . Fair ? No in a matter of time you would have to close your doors . Because if you were to raise your markup your prices would no longer be competitive .

  27. Cindy says:

    Costco has awesome warranties and ore ebb fits to their membership. Walk ins do not have their purchases monitored or warrantied. Buy the membership your time is worth money and most will accept cash only no debit cards for balance.

  28. Cindy says:

    No membership you should not shop there at all, how would you like everyone coming where you work and cheating your company because they only need it once or twice, really. You should put your energy into something positive like the benefits of costco instead of more cheating everywhere. Good man Jeffrey.

  29. Jane says:

    I’m currently an employee of Costco and I deal with people like you on a regular basis. I really can’t help myself after I read your obnoxious post. Justifying that you were a Costco member “back in the day” so that you don’t have to pay for a membership is pathetic and absurd. Like what was stated above, Costco does make money from memberships, and yes, you are cheating the system. However, if you were really smart, you would know that if you had an executive membership, not only do you say 2% on all purchases, the rebate check Costco sends you with your earnings is always, always, ALWAYS guaranteed for you to the get the amount for the upgrade that you paid for back. That means if you pay $110 at the start, you’ve already paid the full possible upgrade fee of $55 which means you are always guaranteed $55 back!! SO, if you shop on a regular basis you will make that money back or more! And if you don’t we’ve got you covered at anytime of the year….yes any time with a full refund.

    ON TOP OF THAT the executive membership also comes with discounts such as auto and home insurance, windshield repair, brake repair, buying a car, ordering checks, mortgage refinancing…saving even more money. Do you not do any of these things yourself? So tell me your math again exactly????

    This great company is based upon “satisfaction guaranteed” so if you are ever unhappy we refund the membership IN FULL. So if you really did your math right, you could see that this is obviously how you could get your membership cheaper rather than wasting time trying to find people to mooch off of to buy memberships. Gift cards were meant to draw people in and see what we have to offer, not continually cheat.

    And let me tell you something, we are all WELL AWARE of people like you. All employees provide great service, so don’t be surprised when we turn our noses at you when we’ve seen you for the fifth time shopping with a gift card, while everyone else follows the rules and gets a membership.

    For God sakes, you want to talk about saving people money? We allow people with food stamps to shop, they even BUY A MEMBERSHIP. Don’t be cheap cheater!

    And let’s be real, in all reality, you’re taking money away from the employees who work very hard all day who deserve to be paid well for dealing with cheap assholes like you.

    You know what…you’re right, the Costco membership doesn’t make sense for you. It doesn’t make sense to have a cheater in the building taking advantage of our products or services. And it certainly doesn’t make sense for you to take advantage of the wonderful employees and their services, including myself. We don’t need your business, and the paying members certainly don’t want you in there for being the reason why prices go up. This is a Fortune 500 company, we can survive without you.

  30. aren says:

    If you cannot afford or do not wish to purchase a membership then shop somewhereelse It is a membership club and your Jachack is theft. You are a cheat and a swindler. It does nothing except take away from those who actually do pay their membership fees. Your morals are corrupt.

  31. aren says:

    What a bunch of thieves. There is a reason you need to show your membership card when entering the building. IT IS A MEMBER’S ONLY SHOPPING CLUB! ! If you don’t like it then don’t shop there.

  32. Jacqui says:

    Jefferey, I really take offense to this. I have worked for Costco for 10 yrs, yes anyone can shop with a cash card, but the items they purchase do not increase our profit as our mark up on items is very low. Costco is able to pay, and provide benefits for its employees through its sale of memberships. That is how Costco makes a profit. What you have proposed here is similar to how people treated our return policy on eletronics. People would be returning items just to upgrade the item to a newer model, which led Costco to change its once awesome return policy to only a 90 day window on electronics. When people abuse the system it creates change, and not always for the better. The idea of letting non-members shop with a gift card is to allow them to see what Costco has to offer them, and learn how we can get the items they want a low cost to them. Costco is an amazing company, one that I have loved being a part of for 10 years, so when I hear about someone trying to take advantage of this company, it makes my skin crawl. A couple of other things I may add are: You need a membership card to swipe to get gas now, and through our profits of a PAID membership we are also able to give back to the communities we are in by supplying school supplys and donations to those in need. So next time you are buying gift cards, I want you to think of those in the community you are denying donations to.
    Jacqui West

  33. Jennifer says:

    Jeff, you are cheating the system…period! I am a long time stockholder of Costco Wholesale, additionally, I have several family members that work for this great company your advice and counsel costs us ALL money. The 55 dollars that you are trying to circumvent will go up to 65 dollars. Your advice, if followed by most will cause prices to go up, the cost of benefits to go up and the value of the stock to decrease…how genius are you! You just said you spend $100 every time you go there… pay your $55 like everyone else! The ammount of time you are investing to avoid 1 dollar a week In membership fees is laughable!

  34. Browser says:

    What’s the big hard-on with shopping at Costco?

    There are a dozen articles, web pages, posts, groups, etc. describing different ways to skirt the system and “get one over” on Costco by shopping without a membership .

    Why so much effort?
    Is it the satisfaction of being a douchebag?

    I don’t understand why people go through all the trouble when there a hundred places to shop that aren’t a membership club.

    If you don’t want to be a member then don’t shop there.

    I don’t get it.

  35. Bill says:

    I recently received a Costco gift card and have never even been into Costco. So i would like to see what the store is like before paying my hard earned 55 dollars so i am extremely happy that they allow this. And don’t really care what anyone has to say about it. Thanks jeff for the information that i was looking for. And you don’t really have to justify your responses to anyone

  36. Melissa says:

    here is what COSTCO says about this–they don’t seem to have a problem with non-member use of Cash Cards, so why do you???

    You must be a Costco member to purchase or reload Costco Cash Cards. MEMBERS AND NON-MEMBERS MAY USE THE CASH CARDS TO SHOP AT ANY COSTOC location in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and online at or on Costco Cash balances may be used toward membership or merchandise.

    The Costco Cash card features include:
    A convenient payment option in our warehouses, gas stations, and
    No expiration date
    Are rechargeable at any Costco warehouse location
    Can be purchased in denominations from $25 to $1,000
    A supply card or gas card for businesses
    A means to provide students with money for food, gas, or school and dormitory necessities, while being able to limit their spending
    Balance can be accessed on, the warehouse “red kiosk” or by calling the toll-free number on the back of the card

  37. Danny says:

    You are all wrong…!
    Especially the Costco lovers…..It’s not a hack, it’s not cheating, it’s not stealing.

    Costco OFFERS this service. If they were losing money over this they would IMMEDIATELY stop offering the cash card.

    Costco offers the card for one main reason PROFIT
    1) original person buys card — profit for Costco
    2) Cash card used at Costco whse — profit for Costco and not competitor.
    3) generates foot traffic in their store for future purchases and perhaps convincing a few to become members.

    It’s not abusing Costco, it’s brilliant marketing by Costco by getting as much people into their stores or website as possible.

  38. Gollygee says:

    Golly Gee! I smell a conspiracy in the comments posted. Ignore the jerks. Their just trying to get under your skin. Thanks for the advice! Don’t let the organized Costco comment gang get under your skin. Jerks picking on you like that when you’re just trying to save people money!

    Costco makes their money on more than their annual fees. Sometimes their prices are higher. I just got my renewal fee and after reading this I’m saying Forget That right back. You’re losing my business.

  39. Gollygee says:

    Shudapp and buy some dollerama stock. Boo hooooo

  40. karen says:

    Personally, I love your hack. If they didn’t have a membership fee, maybe they would have more people shopping there and would INCREASE their profits. You shouldn’t have to pay to save money.

  41. Linda says:

    I am amazed at how many people are not seeing the whole picture. Costco just like any store is making bank off of gift cards. They receive money up front and rarely do people use up everything that is on the card right away. That money is there for the store to use. They save on not having to pay any interest and also are making money in interest. Millions of dollars are spent on gift cards and hundreds of thousands of dollars are sitting in gift cards still unused. Costco made the rules and allows for a nonmember to use gift cards purchased by a member. They made this rule for a reason to make bank off of these gift cards.

  42. linda says:

    As a member, I went to the service desk to ask if there was a way my daughter could shop at Costco when she went to college in a different state. They said I can purchase gift cards and send them to her. They didn’t mention that there would be a holdup at checkout for a manager to override the system. She would hate that if it unreasonably slowed the checkout for the people behind her. Anyone witnessed a problem with that aspect? Are managers standing around the checkouts or do they have to be called out of offices etc. ?

  43. Cathy says:

    I just called Costco regarding a one day pass and was told they do not do that. I was a member a few years back. I became a member after getting a one day pass. I found a major item I wanted, so purchased a membership. The one day pass did not allow me to buy anything, only to look. Now I live 1 1/2 hours from a Costco, so do not have a membership because the time and gas just to get there means I won’t go very often, so it’s not worthwhile. The reason I called them was because I wanted to go view a demonstration happening at Costco. They say I can’t go in – no pass. Who knows, if I wanted to purchase something after viewing the demo, I just may have purchased a membership as I did the first time I went to Costco.

    They must have changed the policy on the one day pass. I don’t understand that. Most people who have never been in a Costco would want to assess whether or not Costco would be something that they would use before buying a membership.

    It’s interesting that you can purchase from Costco online. They charge a 5% non-member surcharge. But you can’t go into the warehouse to see all that it has to offer. There will be things in the warehouse that are not online.

  44. lobo says:

    Firstly if costco allows people to shop with cash card, then they must have done the necessary calculation and perceived some benefit in that. Its a BUSINESS and not a charitable organisation. If one were to go by sentiments then think of all the mom n pop stores that have been affected by costco.

  45. YayForGiftCards says:

    Omg, learn to chill out for a bit!

    For those who think they are Costco financial experts simply because they work as a cashier at one of their stores, please don’t be so ignorant to think the majority of the store’s profits are derived from selling memberships. Although there are some good deals, Costco also sells products at the same price or higher than their competitors but in bulk.

    Perhaps the memberships pay for the ridiculously high wages for their employees, which explains why so many of you are upset. But please recognize that the front line employees have roles that are paid at a minimum wage elsewhere.

    Costco clearly states that they welcome non-members to use gift cards purchased by members. So if Costco employees don’t like nor obey this policy, then simply don’t work there!

  46. Gordon says:

    Most of the people who comment are people who actually have the membership. It’s obvious that some of them feel “unfair” that others are not paying $55 for the membership.

    Some are saying that if you don’t have the membership and you don’t shop here often enough then you shouldn’t ever shop here. Well, if those people are definitely not buying membership, Costco isn’t going to make money there. The fact that you are telling them to not even bother spending money at Costco is a terrible idea. Costco will lose even the tiniest margins of those who spend their money there.

    The cash card states that non-members can also use it. Costco tells customers to come even if you don’t have a membership. Of course, this might be because it seems like the right thing to do to be able to give a Costco gift card to anyone, while not discriminating whether or not they have paid $55. Also, it’s a possibility that after giving a Costco cash card, people who have never been there will feel inclined after visiting.

    People are saying cheaters and thieves. To one extreme end, why aren’t you calling Costco thieves? They’re marking up prices too, we aren’t paying for the lowest price they are willing to accept. They allowed this policy for non-members to access the store using the cash card. Deep down inside, if you could save $55 a year would you do this as well? If it’s too much of a hassle to get eight $25 cards, get one $1000 card and you won’t have to go through so many cards and the checkout will be less annoying. You are calling these people cheaters and thieves because you feel it’s unfair for you since you’re paying and others aren’t. You are doing a good deed for Costco, though.

    Just doing some simple googling and reading reputable sources, Costco does have an overall very low mark up and low profit margins on their products (NOT zero), and their memberships are a large revenue generator. However, again, that is not to say that they don’t make money on the items sold. If people don’t even consider going into Costco without a membership, they are making even less money.

    Why should someone go to Costco and purchase a membership given that they can JUST break even with the savings they receive? I should simply go to another store that is a little more expensive than Costco as long as overall it’s not more than $55 (over a year).

    Bottom line, I agree that people shouldn’t take advantage of the cash card in large quantities, not that I see that ever coming considering there are millions of people who already purchase memberships. If there are people who spend very little then this would be a good idea, and if you really want Costco to do well then you should encourage this because at least they are squeezing the minimal profits out of these people’s purchases – better than telling them to go away and get zero profits.

    Also, Costco is still making money out of us some way. It’s simply a transfer of wealth: some people pay for memberships and don’t use it to their maximum potential while some are getting the most savings out of the products. I’d say that most of the people who are on here are conscious about their savings so obviously, they would present their arguments and justify they money spent (or not spent). Ultimately, someone is paying for the savings we are getting, whether we are “cheating” to get into Costco or you are purchasing goods at a great deal. If Costco is losing money through this little “cheat” I’m sure they would change their policies immediately. It was nice to see the arguments and spend a little time here expressing my thoughts, but this is all utterly useless – Costco will act quicker than us.

    I am not a Costco member and I do not shop at Costco.

  47. Cody says:

    Wow, I can’t get over all the butt hurt people commenting negatively about this “hack” Costco is still making money on selling merchandise whether you pay for a membership or not. Bitch at the til denied my business cause my daddy wasn’t there when I used his card. Well, I’m not paying $55 for a membership for a $30 purchase. I’ll just flash my dad’s card and eat samples. F&*k Costco!

  48. Sharon says:

    I understand both sides of the argument because if everyone in the world decided to up and start using this “hack”, Costco would definitely be in big trouble. However, for people like me who only shop at Costco maybe once per year if I’m lucky, I would rather not have to purchase an entire year’s membership.

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