Shoppers Are Ditching Costco for BJ's Amid Membership Crackdown

Members are getting fed up with Costco's policy changes.

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Costco warehouses located across the Eastern Seaboard may begin to experience a decrease in foot traffic and shorter lines at checkout as more and more paying customers threaten to boycott the retailer in favor of warehouses like BJ's, whose check-in process and membership-sharing policy are proving to be a lot more lenient and efficient.

RELATED: Shoppers Are Ditching Costco for Sam's Club Over New Membership Rules.

Between the crackdown on membership sharing and the store's new security check-in system, Costco's membership policy has spiraled into a hot topic of discourse for shoppers on social media. Many members have been left dazed and confused over the ever-changing guidelines, while others are seriously considering walking away from the store for good.

For reference, it was made clear that as of June 2023, all Costco customers would be asked to present their membership ID card at self-checkout. The initiative was pitched as an extra security measure after Costco noticed that customers were entering under the guise of their friend's or relative's membership card, which goes against store policy.

But in Jan. 2024, Costco inducted a new security check-in policy. The process—which has been slowly rolling out at warehouses across the U.S.—requires members to physically scan their card at a kiosk to gain entry into the store.

While some take no issue with Costco's growing membership improvements, others are getting increasingly frustrated and discouraged. The rapid changes are even prompting certain members to invest their hard-earned money in other warehouses, including BJ's Wholesale Club.

The membership-only retailer has locations all along the East Coast, as well as some parts of the Midwest. Similar to Costco, BJ's sells everything from furniture to groceries to tires to personal essentials. For $55 per year, BJ's members get access to low prices, same-day delivery, curbside pickup, and the option to enroll in BJ's travel, optical, and other supplemental memberships at a very reduced price.

RELATED: 5 Secrets BJ's Wholesale Club Doesn't Want You to Know.

However, in a new Reddit thread, some users say what they like most about BJ's is that they aren't forced to present their membership cards upon entering the store.

"I've only been shopping [at] bjs for a few months but I've never been asked to show my card, nor have I seen anyone else asked to show their card for entry or buying food," one person wrote.

Many users shared similar experiences, with one BJ's customer admitting that their partner uses their card, too, and it's never been an issue—even at curbside pick-up.

"Never had my card checked and never got one for my partner. We also use the curbside pickup often and they never checked. Even if I order and my partner goes to pick it up," they said.

A BJ's employee also chimed in, confirming that "as long as you have the physical card with you and don't plan on returning anything, you should be fine."

"If the main card holder has guests shopping with them such as friends/relatives, as long as main card holder stays with them throughout the checkout process, we allow them to buy their stuff," they clarified.

BJ's Club Card Membership policy clearly states that each membership comes with a primary card and a household card, the latter of which can be bestowed to a "member of the primary member's household" such as a spouse or anyone over 18.

Additionally, members are allowed to bring two guests with them into the warehouse. They do not have to be BJ's members, however, anything they wish to buy must be purchased by the member.

Emily Weaver
Emily is a NYC-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer — though, she’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about women’s health and sports (she thrives during the Olympics). Read more
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