Coffee heat rising

{gronk!} Dawdling away the day…

ohhhh B-A-A-D HUMAN! 

I’ve dorked away the ENTIRE MORNING playing time-waster computer games. Things that needed to get done?

We ain’t got no steenking things to get done! Eh?

No. The dishes are not washed. The blog post is not written. The run on the credit union and then on the d**ned Costco remains to be done.

Yes…the credit-union run, to be followed by the Costco run, two things I do no, not NOT wanna do.

For the second time in human memory, Costco refused to take my debit card.

Costco wants you to use its MasterCard, of course. And I’ve tried.

Tried and found their MasterCard service just as wanting as the service from past MasterCard accounts I’ve (not) enjoyed. All that was proven was that Mastercard’s service sucks.

Whereas American Express’s service proves itself excellent, top-flight, beyond amazing…EVERY TIME one deals with MasterCard, one has an issue.

To force you to use their MasterCard, Costco quit accepting American Express. You can pay in cash, presumably you can pay with a check, or you can pay with MasterCard. You cannot pay with AMEX.

I do not carry a checkbook around with me. I do not carry cash. The reason, as you may have perceived if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, has to do with Wild-West character of the parking lots and strip malls around here. One thing no sane woman would do is walk across a shopping center with a purse hanging from her shoulder. Especially not a purse containing anything resembling a negotiable instrument. I’ve had guys try to steal my purse as I walked into grocery stores (not once, but twice! Slow learner…). A neighbor was shot by a guy who thought she was resisting when he ripped her purse off her shoulder as she tried to shield her daughter. You would be effing CRAZY to carry checks, cash, or anything that contains ID that can be used to steal from you.

This happened some months ago: I presented my AMEX card and Costco’s machine rejected it. No one else’s machine rejects it. Just Costco’s. All the time I spent roving around in there loading up the cart was wasted. All the stuff I’d piled up to buy was rolled off to be stacked back on the shelves.

So the last time I went to Costco — last week — I whipped out my debit card and was  once again was told it wasn’t valid.

This is the second time Costco has pulled that stunt. Last time, I drove straight from the store to the credit union, where staff assured me nothing was wrong with the debit card.

I’ve about lost patience. Today is gonna be my last try. Today I will return to the CU and ask them what’s wrong with the debit card. If they say “nothing,” I will try to persuade them to put that in writing.

Then I’ll move on to the Costco up the road, and when they pull their usual stunt I’ll show them the evidence from the credit union.

Give me any more BS, and that, right then and there, will be THE last time I ever go into Costco. Well. Except maybe for their tire shop. 😉


8 thoughts on “{gronk!} Dawdling away the day…”

  1. The only credit cards Costco warehouse takes are Visa, not Mastercard, AMEX or Discover. takes Mastercard, Discover, and Visa, but not AMEX.

    One approach that might work for you is to buy Costco Shop Cards at using your debit card. You’d know right away whether it was accepted without driving to the warehouse. You can buy physical cards they mail to you, or email cards you print. I bought physical Shop Cards for many years so my kids who were driving age, but not Costco members, could get gas at the Costco gas station, or go buy something in the warehouse without my wife or I being present.

    • That’s interesting to know! If one could buy a Shop Card with a check, that would solve the problem. I do have a debit card, of course…but if they’ll take it to buy a Shop Card, why wouldn’t they take it to buy purchases at the cash register?

      Recently I’ve kind of given up on buying Costco gas. Since they closed their centrally located store, it’s a LONG drive to any of the remaining stores. The gas stations around the corner charge only a few cents more…decided it was better to pay an extra buck or three for a fill-up than to risk my life battling homicidal traffic all across the city.

      And really, when it comes to grocery, household, and pharmacy items, why trudge halfway to Timbuktu to save a buck or two? It may be worth the extra cost to shop local!

      • @Spiffi: Yes, I’ve been thinking the same thing. It seems to me I used to pay with checks there all the time….because having purchases scribbled in a check register made it easier to keep track of what I was spending. I’m gonna try it.

        That may leave the question of what about buying gas there…. So far I haven’t had any problem with that, BUT truth to tell, I’m not buying anything like as much gas as I used to, mostly out of flinch reflex at the prices. Also, there are two QTs right here in the ‘Hood: a five-minute drive to a gas pump is sure a lot better than a 30-minute traipse.

  2. Costco started with Discover (which I kept). Then I believe they went with American Express which was ok but not everywhere took it. Their credit card fees were higher than VISA or Master Card.
    Discover had the same acceptance problem back then.
    Once, we went out to a restaurant and found they didn’t accept either American Express or Discover. Luckily, I had a Master Card from my bank which worked.
    If Costco went with Master Card anytime, I don’t remember. I didn’t like them after someone used my card to buy airline tickets in, I believe Dutch Guilders. When I called MC to dispute the charge, they wanted to charge me a lost card fee to get a card with a new number. I said I didn’t lose my card I have it right here. This was a card I rarely used. I used it for occasional business expenses. For that reason, I always wondered how it was hacked.
    I have had no problem with my Citi Visa which replaced AMEX, which I did not keep.

    • Yes! The acceptability issue still exists — though it’s nothing like it used to be. Most places will take AMEX these days, I think the prior reluctance was because AMEX was charging a pretty stiff fee to vendors. But now it’s a rare merchant that doesn’t take American Express.

      I’ve had strange problems with Master Card in the past, too. That’s WHY, frankly, I don’t much want to use it at Costco. MC’s customer service sucks, and when you’re talking about a piece of plastic that can drain your checking account, the potential for a REALLY big problem surely does exist.

      Haven’t had a Visa card for a long time, and don’t remember why not. I think I felt I wanted all the charges to come in on a single statement, so I deep-sixed both Visa and MasterCard (the latter because of its sucky customer service) and decided to stick with American Express.

      Really, there’s nothing to stop me from just paying with checks at Costco. It just adds a little hassle…like we don’t have enough of that in our lives, eh?

  3. MasterCard does not issue credit cards nor does it manage consumer customer service (neither does VISA for that matter). Both are payment networks. The named bank on the card (eg Citi, Chase, Capital One, BOA, etc) is the one who issues the card and handles the customer service. This is different than AMEX and Discover which serve as both the payment network and the issuing bank.

    Costco accepts VISA credit cards not MasterCard. A MasterCard debit card should work as long as you are using it with a PIN (chip-and-PIN) rather than like a credit card (chip-and-signature), but I generally recommend against using a debit card because there are significantly fewer consumer protections with them than there are with a credit card.

    • Ah!!! Now THAT is interesting to know! I never knew a thing about those fine points!

      I have the same sense about debit cards…to the extent that I don’t use them if I can possibly avoid it.

      American Express is my go-to credit card, because (in stark contrast to Mastercard) their customer service is primo. Can’t be beat! Their CSR’s are knowledgeable and helpful, every time. And every now and again, the emit advice (can you imagine?) that is extremely helpful.

      And frankly, the “nix on AMEX” policy that Costco has taken up amounts to a real good reason, in my book, to quit shopping there altogether. Unless you prefer to pay for everything in cash, that is.

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