I have seen three blogs in the past couple of weeks with a post about getting gas from Costco without having a membership. I won’t mention the blogs as I don’t want to pick on anyone, but it bothered me enough that I have to put in my two cents on the subject.
Did you ever hear of the Honor System? Here is a basic explanation in case you don’t know what I’m talking about. You know how they have those boxes in front of restaurants where you put in fifty cents, then the door can be opened and you can buy a newspaper? Well, when you put in two quarters for one paper, you only get out one paper. The guy who has that box there depends on you to be honest and only take out one paper. If you want a second paper, you need to close the door and put in two more quarters.
Now there’s this banter going around personal finance blogs about how you don’t really need to have a Costco membership in order to buy gas there. Well, I don’t know about the Costco these bloggers are shopping at, but here’s what it looks like at mine. This first photo shows the gas station at Costco, and this is the entrance. There are three signs posted which each state members only.
Next, at the front of the store we see this sign, which also states the price is for members.
Does anything here say, “Go ahead and buy gas even if you aren’t a member, if you can figure out how to cheat our system?”
Do you know what happens when people cheat and steal? Prices go up, and who pays for it? The people who are honest.
Now on this same day, gasoline was available at other stations for $3.33 to $3.39. Let’s say for some reason the only gas station you could buy from was $3.39. You’d save eight cents a gallon by cheating at Costco. I doubt you’d be buying more than 16 gallons at one time, that’s a savings of $1.28. For one measly dollar and twenty eight cents, you’re going to cheat the system and steal from Costco.
Last but not least, at our Costco stations, there is an attendant walking around. How embarrassed are you going to be when he happens to catch you stealing from Costco. Is it really worth the risk for $1.28 or less?
Off the soapbox.