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Costco Cracks Down on Non-Members, Influencer’s Mother Allegedly Banned

Costco Wholesale, the popular retail giant known for its bulk offerings and exclusive membership system, has been making headlines recently as it intensifies efforts to enforce its long-standing membership policy. In a viral TikTok video, personal finance influencer Angelo Castillo, founder of Profit Plug, revealed that his mother had been banned from a Costco location, sparking debates among TikTok users and shoppers alike.

The TikTok Revelation

Angelo Castillo’s TikTok video detailing his mother’s Costco ban garnered an impressive three million views. According to Castillo, his father held a Gold Star membership, the entry-level tier costing $60 annually, which entitled two authorized users per card. When Castillo went to college, his father designated him as an authorized user instead of his mother.

The Ban and Costco’s Response

Angelo Castillo’s mother had been shopping at Costco for years without issue. However, approximately two months ago, during a routine visit to the wholesale store, she faced an unexpected ordeal. At the self-checkout, employees noticed that the card did not belong to her and promptly asked for her identification. Subsequently, she was informed that she could never return to that specific location again.

In response to the incident, a spokesperson for Costco Wholesale asserted that their membership fees help keep prices low and operational expenses in check. The policy of requesting membership cards during checkout remains unchanged, but with the expansion of self-service checkout, they noticed an increase in non-members using unauthorized membership cards. As a result, Costco is now asking for photo identification along with the membership card, reinforcing their commitment to providing exclusive benefits to paying members.

Divided Opinions

The TikTok video ignited a fierce debate among viewers. Some argued that Costco should allow easier authorization for additional users, even if it comes at an extra cost. On the other side, some believed that the wholesaler should extend memberships to cover an entire household, accommodating families like Castillo’s who share expenses.

Costco’s Membership Policies

On its frequently-asked-questions webpage, Costco clarifies that each membership includes a free Household Card. Gold Star and Executive memberships, like Castillo’s father’s, allow a maximum of two users. Despite attempts to find loopholes, Costco’s official policy still strictly prohibits non-members from making purchases at their locations.

The Costco Shop Card Hack

Earlier in the year, TikTok users shared a hack that allegedly allowed non-members to make purchases at Costco without a traditional membership. The hack involved acquiring a Costco Shop Card, a members-only item that operates similarly to a gift card. The card purportedly grants entry and checkout privileges, irrespective of membership status.

Castillo’s Stance and Costco’s Silence

Angelo Castillo expressed understanding toward Costco’s enforcement of their policy, acknowledging that his mother had been previously warned about the issue. He emphasized that his family holds no animosity towards the wholesaler and appreciates the value of the membership. Despite the video’s viral success, Costco has not reached out to Castillo, as he expected.

A Call for Clarity

While Angelo Castillo doesn’t fault Costco for enforcing its rules, he suggests that the retailer could do more to make its membership terms clearer for customers. Many families like Castillo’s benefit from sharing a single membership, and transparent guidelines would help prevent confusion and avoid future bans.

Costco’s ongoing commitment to its membership system aims to uphold the exclusivity and value it provides to its members. As the debate continues online, the wholesale giant remains steadfast in its stance, ensuring that the privileges of membership are reserved for those who contribute to the annual fees.

In conclusion, the incident involving Angelo Castillo’s mother serves as a reminder that adherence to membership policies is essential when shopping at Costco Wholesale, and the retailer’s determination to protect its members’ interests is unwavering.

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