Fans Compared Costco's Membership Checking Policy To The TSA, And We Can't Disagree

Costco members are quick to defend their beloved warehouse chain that offers steep discounts and bulk items on practically everything you could need, not to mention the deliciously inexpensive food court items that await you upon checkout. For many members, Costco's offerings are well worth the price of admission ($60 annually for a gold star membership and $120 for an executive ranking). According to Statista, almost 119 million people worldwide paid for a Costco membership in 2022, a significant rise in members that has continued to grow for several years. But if you aren't a member, you may not be warmly received by the greeters at the door. In fact, people have been taking to social media to share their rather unpleasant Costco experiences.

It is near impossible to shop at Costco without a membership. But even some members have compared shopping at Costco to enduring the security line at an airport, complete with TSA yelling a long list of rules at you while you scramble to empty your bag and take off your shoes. While Costco will certainly encourage you to keep all your clothing on in the checkout line, employees have seriously cracked down on verifying memberships with photos and IDs. One TikToker shared a clip of the checkout line and claimed, "It was so tense for no reason," while a commenter agreed: "They act like we're trying to gain intel on the Pentagon as if we're not all here for paper towels and cheese."

Costco isn't messing around with its membership rules

Another user urged followers not to get a Costco membership after a payment mixup at self-checkout, saying the process was "too stressful" and "worse than any airport I've ever been to." Commenters confirmed that they too were refused service due to payment technicalities (such as paying with a non-member's credit card, despite presenting their own membership) and other strict rules.


It was so tense for no reason ☠️ #costco #costcotiktok #costcomusthaves #costcodeals

♬ original sound – Reggie COUZ

Costco's membership guidelines state that memberships are non-transferable, but until recently, this was enforced mostly on the honor system. Most people could borrow their mom's card to restock on groceries or have a member friend tag along while they shopped for their own Kirkland-brand favorites. A recent statement by Costco stated, "We don't feel it's right that nonmembers receive the same benefits and pricing as our members," and is taking more measures to prevent member sharing, including cross-referencing IDs with membership photos.

Though Costco's hot dog and soda combo will remain $1.50 for the foreseeable future, be prepared to pay more for your membership soon. The company is contemplating a membership price hike for the first time in six years, citing the recent recession as the culprit. This combination of higher prices and strict rules have caused many shoppers to feel uneasy. On Reddit, for example, newer Costco members shared that they were uncomfortably pushed to buy the more expensive membership and encountered staff that were unkind to new members. Clearly, working at Costco is no walk in the park, but shoppers have recently felt less welcome at the retailer as well.