Many people relish in the idea of being able to chow down on a hot dog for $1.50 at their local Costco.
Soon, however, that cherished pastime may become a thing of the past for some.
This month, several people have noticed signs popping up at different Costco store locations warning folks that soon, unless they're card-holding members, they won't be able to enjoy an affordable meal at the food court. Costco Deals, an Instagram account with over 600,000 followers that posts news about the big-box retailer, shared one photo of the notice.
"Effective March 16, 2020, an active Costco membership card will be required to purchase items from our food court. You can join today. Please see our membership counter for details," the sign read.
If employees at Costco food courts thought they'd seen the worst of customers' fury when the chain discontinued its iconic Polish hot dog, they thought wrong.
Some people think the new policy isn't fair to those who depend on the fairly priced food.
Many foresee the change negatively affecting business for the food courts.
One longtime member even called the policy "wrong."
However, some people, who also claimed to be members, supported the new guideline.
"I am a member. I spend money at their store yet when I get done with my shopping , I have to wait in line behind a bunch of people who aren’t members. People who didn’t spend their money in the store. Members should come first," one Costco Deals follower wrote.
When reached via email, a representative from Costco's corporate team said, "Management has no comment at this time." However, TODAY was able to independently confirm that several store locations on the East Coast will start enforcing this new policy in March.
Currently, Costco memberships start at $60 a year, but there are a few ways folks can beat the system. When the chain partnered with grocery delivery service Instacart in 2017, the partnership made it possible for customers to order their favorite Costco finds right to their door without footing the bill for a membership card.
Another loophole for avoiding the annual fee involves getting a Costco cash card (which is basically a gift card) and using it to shop in store. The cards are good for any in-store items, including hot dogs, churros and pizza in the food court. The only catch? You'll need a partner in crime (aka someone who does have a membership) to get the gift card for you in exchange for cash.