In 2016, membership fees accounted for 72% of their operating income. It's definitely not just "marketing" -- it's central to their business model. If they started jacking up the margins on merchandise, people would notice and their memberships would start to drop off.
It's not considered an exclusive thing anymore, though, since membership only costs, what, $55?
So with that in mind and without a Costco membership I loaded up on a case of beer and some wine only in the main store and took it to the checkout. They subsequently refused to check me out in the main store and sent me to the liquor store with the outside entrance.
I wonder what would have happened if I had tried to purchase beer or wine in the same fashion on Sunday (liquor stores must be closed on Sunday per Texas law, but selling beer/wine in grocery stores like Costco on Sundays is legal). I think they would have been legally required to sell me beer/wine in the main store if so, and even though they probably would have refused as before I believe if challenged/complained this practice of refusing to sell beer/wine to non-members inside the store would not be ruled legal by TABC (the state commission in Texas that governs alcohol sales).
It would be an interesting niche law to explore if you were interested in challenging Texas laws regarding sale of alcohol I guess.
I've actually worked at a Sam's Club and done checking briefly. I feel that this is the stated reason, but you're talking checking hundreds of receipts over a 4 + hour shift, often massive ones due to multiple flatbeds of groceries or goods; the idea its being used to check up on the cashiers is absurd to me. Many times, high-dollar items like meats you'd want to check are already in freezer bags, obscured from view.
I think its mostly to prevent high value items from leaving, or at least to alert management they are. I mean, anyone who his rung up a vending machine route guy and his 100 boxes of candy who kind of scoff at the retiree checkers doing that fine of an job.
Salt grain status: taken.
Loss Prevention will have cameras and sometimes plain clothes folks wandering around the store, and if they suspect you're up to something they can zoom in and follow you. Adding a step prior to exiting where your receipt is checked adds one more chance to confirm bad behavior, and gives LP time to zoom in on your cart and your face.
The Costco's I've been to, when I had a membership, they don't spend enough time on the receipt to possibly catch errors. They just glance at your purchases and the receipt, then tick off the receipt. Even at that level of checking, a line up can form during a busy time.
I suspect they are just marking the receipt so you can't go back with that receipt in your pocket and then steal the same item(s).
There is a time stamp, of course, but a pen mark is faster to grok.
They might be able to spot double scans at a glance (since exact repeats on a receipt are visually distinct) and check that the customer has two of that item, that's about it.
I think checking at the door is not good enough to prevent theft, especially at busy times. It's just too easy to hide stuff or blame it on the cashier forgetting to scan it. There are more cashiers than checkers, so it seems the bottleneck would be the checkers if they tried to make it thorough enough to be effective.
So yeah, my guess is that the OP is correct, and that interpretation has always been my assumption.
I’ve certainly seen cashiers see that you’re buying two of something and just skin one of them twice really fast and then put both of them in the bag.
If you flip a coin twice and it comes up heads both times, it might be a coincidence. If you flip a coin 100 times and it comes up heads all 100 times, there is probably something up with the coin.
It doesn't matter how these people are trained, or what they are told. They will still prevent theft, even if they think it's not their job. It's even better if they genuinely think they are helping customers (which they in fact do!) because that makes the attitude of everyone involved better.
It doesn't matter that they don't catch many theft attempts. That's the whole point, that if they are effective at prevention, there will be no attempts in the first place.
The person at the door stopped me and asked for my receipt. I wasn’t even sure if I had gotten it so I told them and they insisted they see it.
After checking my pockets quickly I said I didn’t have it and they insisted I try and find the cashier and get one.
They really wanted to make sure I hadn’t stolen a plastic drawer.
I’m 99% sure this was made up, but the lady claimed that because of its size I needed to produce a receipt (a 20$ plastic drawer you might keep in your pantry...)
Every time I think back I get annoyed with myself for not just walking out on them.
That seems like the simplest possible check they could make regarding the checkout process.
At Costco you’d either have to go past the person checking your membership card (back through the entrance) or go through the cashier section without being caught and then get past the receipt tracker.
Insider attacks, essentially.
The fact that isn't obvious, is not surprising but it is elementary, regardless of professions to the contrary.