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Old 05-01-2012, 11:41 AM   #31
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I would assume they have some other payment options available for a $249,000 ring.
They take checks too.
Somehow I don't see them accepting a check for $249,000 (plus tax, of course).
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:02 PM   #32
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Somehow I don't see them accepting a check for $249,000 (plus tax, of course).
What would it be, a suitcase full of cash? I doubt it would be an impulse buy using a clowns and kittens check from the credit union, but rather a bank check. I guess you could use your black Amex card, but even with a sweetheart deal from Amex the CC fee to Costco would probably be pricey, over $2k even if they only charge Costco 1%
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:33 PM   #33
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I guess when people say they only take AMEX they are talking pure credit card transactions, because my visa and mastercard debit cards work just fine...always have.
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:38 PM   #34
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Watching the show and seeing how they kind of boss around the suppliers was quite eye-opening. The Toy section is the one I'm thinking of specifically, but I would guess it's the same in all departments.

My wife has purchased quite a few Carter's brand pajamas for our little kiddos in the past year or two, and she's noticed that the ones bought from Costco are much more likely to have holes or construction problems. She has sworn off jammy purchases from Costco now. I wonder then if Carters's agreed to provide special 'cheaper' jammies to Costco and that is why the quality seems a bit off?
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:36 PM   #35
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Somehow I don't see them accepting a check for $249,000 (plus tax, of course).
Isn't it kind of illegal to take checks generally but not for a specific transaction amount? Today, checks can be checked immediately for clearance.

I wrote a personal check for my last car purchase, which was just under $30,000 without a single question asked.
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:55 PM   #36
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My wife has purchased quite a few Carter's brand pajamas for our little kiddos in the past year or two, and she's noticed that the ones bought from Costco are much more likely to have holes or construction problems. She has sworn off jammy purchases from Costco now. I wonder then if Carters's agreed to provide special 'cheaper' jammies to Costco and that is why the quality seems a bit off?
In the show weren't they pushing for better quality on the backpack not lower?
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:16 PM   #37
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Somehow I don't see them accepting a check for $249,000 (plus tax, of course).
I'm sure people walk into Bentley dealerships and write checks for $249,000... I am not sure why Costco would be different.
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:24 PM   #38
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What's the advantage to Costco to only accept AMEX? I thought AMEX was usually the most expensive of the card issuers for a retailer to accept, so if they could transfer some of their purchases to VISA or MC, they could save a little money in processing fees. Yes, I'm sure that AMEX is giving them a sweetheart deal in order to be the exclusive credit card accepted, but I can almost guarantee that VISA and/or MC would be happy to match that deal if they could get a piece of the Costco business as well.
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:51 PM   #39
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What's the advantage to Costco to only accept AMEX? I thought AMEX was usually the most expensive of the card issuers for a retailer to accept, so if they could transfer some of their purchases to VISA or MC, they could save a little money in processing fees. Yes, I'm sure that AMEX is giving them a sweetheart deal in order to be the exclusive credit card accepted, but I can almost guarantee that VISA and/or MC would be happy to match that deal if they could get a piece of the Costco business as well.
Just a guess, but maybe AmEx doesn't make profit off of Costco transactions at all, and the benefit to AmEx is that it gets people to sign up for cards that they will then use at other establishments where AmEx does make a profit. Visa and Mastercard wouldn't have as much to gain from such a deal, because most people already have those cards.
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:54 PM   #40
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Also maybe its an exclusive in their agreement for the costco/amex card.

Don't they have to pay a VISA fee when I use my VISA debit? or does me putting in a PIN number negate a fee?
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:08 PM   #41
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Also maybe its an exclusive in their agreement for the costco/amex card.

Don't they have to pay a VISA fee when I use my VISA debit? or does me putting in a PIN number negate a fee?
My understanding is that PIN-based debit card transaction fees are a lot less than credit card transaction fees.
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:58 PM   #42
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That's Sam's Club. The one thing I miss from when I switched from Sam's Club to Costco.
No, I'm talking about Costco. My mom had/has a business membership.
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:15 PM   #43
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No, I'm talking about Costco. My mom had/has a business membership.
That's interesting. Sam's Club has that here (early entrance for Business members), but Costco doesn't.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:57 AM   #44
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My understanding is that PIN-based debit card transaction fees are a lot less than credit card transaction fees.
That's correct. The debit fee is much, much less, and they take much less risk of not getting the money.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:22 AM   #45
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When I upgraded my membership to Executive I asked them if that got me in an hour early and was told that they used to do that but now they just open the store up an hour early to everybody (basically just extending their hours of operation by 1 hour).
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:41 AM   #46
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I found a few things interesting.

I always assumed they put the heavy squeeze on their vendors. But it was interesting to see them squeeze on higher quality as well as just the price.

I was happy to hear that their employees are reasonably well paid. I also think that's one of the reasons they have such short hours.

Interesting to hear about the square packaging. I realized that it would save on shelf space, but never thought about the savings on shipping costs.

I wonder about the 1 in 10 figures regarding people refusing to buy something due to quantity. I've balked at a number of things due to size, and specifically the Advil they talked about. Just no way I'd use it all before it expired.

Loved the comment about how it costs them a fortune to make the place look cheap.
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:25 AM   #47
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Also maybe its an exclusive in their agreement for the costco/amex card.

Don't they have to pay a VISA fee when I use my VISA debit? or does me putting in a PIN number negate a fee?
Typically, PIN based transactions will be a set amount per transaction. This is why many business used to (still do?) charge you 25 cents or 49 cents or whatever the surcharge was for you to use a debit card with a PIN. The fee for running the transaction as a credit card (no PIN) is a percentage based upon the sale total.

For small sales, it is cheaper for the business to process credit cards, but at some point it becomes cheaper for the business to process debit transactions using a PIN. I'd imagine the vast majority of sales at Costco exceed the tipping point where it is costlier to pay a % for a credit card than the fixed fee for the debit transaction.

This is also why I always tip for service with cash. I had friends in college that worked as waiters and the restaurant would take the credit card fee percentage out of any tips left on a credit card.
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:27 AM   #48
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I made the mistake of buying the Advil but I don't worry about using the expired Advil. I use it so seldom.
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:20 PM   #49
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I don't think I'd go through that 6 pack of toothpaste in my life! lol
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:57 PM   #50
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The fee for running the transaction as a credit card (no PIN) is a percentage based upon the sale total.
I think it's typically a flat fee plus a percentage. So merchants lose money on small transactions whether they take debit or credit.
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:33 PM   #51
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I think it's typically a flat fee plus a percentage. So merchants lose money on small transactions whether they take debit or credit.
It's a small fee. From a NYT article:
The new fee schedule includes three parts: a maximum interchange fee of 21 cents; a 1 cent addition that is allowed if the bank issuing the debit card develops a fraud-prevention program; and a variable charge of 5 basis points, or five one-hundredths of a percentage point, of the value of the transaction to recover a portion of fraud losses.

For the average debit card transaction of about $38, that variable fee would be roughly 2 cents, which would produce an upper limit, on average, of 24 cents a transaction.
What this thread got me thinking about though was using a credit card as a debit card that some people have mentioned for using at Costco. My only knowledge of using a PIN with my credit card would be if I used it at an ATM for a cash advance. Getting cash advances I thought meant fees to me, a single charge plus a percentage. I've never used a credit card in this manner at Costco, so I don't know what it would look like on my statement.

Costco does do a booming business in cash though. It's one place you'll still see prominent pneumatic tubes going from the registers up towards the ceiling and ending up in a back room. Once cash on hand gets high they send the excess to the back room via the tubes.
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:42 PM   #52
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:21 PM   #53
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That was really interesting...I could easily have watched another hour. The toy stuff really intrigued me. I never would have imagined all that went on behind the scenes.

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Originally Posted by cherry ghost

That was a stuffed Bear that they sell for $29.99 but retails for $100.
We have that bear and it's awesome. We couldn't pass it up at $30.

I hate not living in a city with a Costco. We used to be 10 minutes from one...now we're an hour. It's been two months since I've been there and I'm going through withdrawal so we might go this weekend.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:01 PM   #54
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That was really interesting...I could easily have watched another hour. The toy stuff really intrigued me. I never would have imagined all that went on behind the scenes.



We have that bear and it's awesome. We couldn't pass it up at $30.

I hate not living in a city with a Costco. We used to be 10 minutes from one...now we're an hour. It's been two months since I've been there and I'm going through withdrawal so we might go this weekend.
You talking about the one here in Wilmington?? I live 10 minutes away and I love it.

We eat lunch there a couple of times a week on average. Sometimes the samples are enough, or else the hot dogs, or both.

I find it strange to have both a Sam's and a Costco in a relatively small city, but I love it. Sam's was here first - I think Costco wanted to rain on their parade.
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:42 AM   #55
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I also found it interesting when they said that they basically break even on the sales and where they make the majority of their money is straight off the membership fees.
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:53 AM   #56
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Supposedly it's true for Sam's, as well.
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:38 PM   #57
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I think it's typically a flat fee plus a percentage. So merchants lose money on small transactions whether they take debit or credit.
Correct, they get charged for every transaction regardless of credit or debit, but since debit is a fixed fee and credit has a percentage component, at some sales total it becomes cheaper to the business to use debit vs credit. I know when my dad had a small business before retiring, the tipping point was somewhere around $20 or $25. If the sale was less than that he would try to run debit cards as a credit card. Over that amount he would request they be run as debit cards. My point was that the vast majority of Costco's sales are all going to exceed that tipping point, so it is cheaper for them as a business to only take debit cards.
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:09 PM   #58
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Just a guess, but maybe AmEx doesn't make profit off of Costco transactions at all, and the benefit to AmEx is that it gets people to sign up for cards that they will then use at other establishments where AmEx does make a profit. Visa and Mastercard wouldn't have as much to gain from such a deal, because most people already have those cards.
They accepted Discover Card (rather than AmEx) a few years back. I was surprised when I heard they switched; I would've thought Discover would've given them a better deal than AmEx. I guess not <g>
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:08 PM   #59
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You talking about the one here in Wilmington?? I live 10 minutes away and I love it.
Yep. And we'll be there tomorrow after we hit the children's museum in the morning.
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:11 PM   #60
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I think some of you may be talking about the _new_ charges.. I've only seen a headline (or maybe it was even the scrolling headlines on CNN) so far, but supposedly the banks dramatically lowered debit fees in the past day or two...?
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