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Costco Wholesaler UK - Discrimination

FLY88FLY88 Member Posts: 3 Listener
Hello all, 

Today I enquired about getting a membership with Costco Wholesalers. I explained to them that as a disabled person with chronic illnesses and unable to work, receiving PIP, how can one apply for a Costco Membership.

The answer is 'you can't'. I explained in horror that it's plain discrimination. To which they waffled about having to stick to certain criteria to allow certain businesses to join as they do not sell to the public. They sell to wholesalers and certain trade employees e.g. Banking, government workers etc.

I am furious about this and wondered what is the best way around this. Am I being misinformed? Any advice will be much appreciated.

FLY

Replies

  • GeoarkGeoark Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,375 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @FLY88 and welcome to the community.

    As a wholesaler they sell to small to medium businesses and other groups and are not open to the general public. This will be reflected in the prices they are able to buy from suppliers and also why they are able to quote both non vat and vat rates.

    As long as they have applied their rules regardless of your disability then it is not discrimination. 

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • NystagmiteNystagmite Member Posts: 608 Pioneering
    I don't see how this would be discrimination. It's not discrimination if they can justify it. So if they're refusing you because of your disability; but allow your non-disabled neighbour who doesn't have a business, you'd have a case.
  • TheKLF99TheKLF99 Member Posts: 17 Connected
    This is not discrimination - Costco is a wholesaler only and they do have really strict criteria on who they give their cards to they are primarily B2B only.  Nothing to do with disability or not.  They are telling you they can't give you a card because your not in business, it's not a case of whether or not you are capable of work they're making that decision on, they are making it on the fact that pure and simply because you are not in trade you can't trade with them.  In theory there is no reason though why you couldn't set up something like an etsy shop selling something, because no matter how disabled anyone is there is still something they can do in some way and then you would have a business and could potentially go and ask Costco for a business card (although I doubt it as they have really strict criteria - I have a Booker and Makro card for my business and have tried for a Costco card and been turned down so many times I gave up!). 

    Besides this have you actually ever been into a Costco or seen the offers, as they are a wholesaler they don't usually sell individual items.  They sell in bulk with the idea that you buy the items and then sell them on.  Booker does have some items in there that aren't bulk but mainly it's items you'd use in business like display stands.  Quite often in Costco they sell by the pallet load, Booker does split the stock down a bit further - as I used to buy sugar from Booker as you'd get it in packs of 6 and big jars of coffee, and pot noodles for lunches when I was working at events but even still having 24 pot noodles all the same flavour is a bit overkill!

    There is a reason they are wholesale only - and this is because there is a big difference in consumer laws when it comes to business transactions.

    If you do really want a costco card one thing you could try is if you go to any type of support day centre, see if they'll go to costco on your behalf and get all the members of the day centre a card.
  • Sam_AlumniSam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,729 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @FLY88 

    As the store is about selling to businesses and not the general public, I don't think this is discrimination against disabled people, as if you were a non-disabled person who didn't work, you wouldn't be entitled to join as a member either.

    If you were a disabled person who met the eligibility for their membership and they didnt let you join, then you may have a case.
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • FLY88FLY88 Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Thank you to all the replies and advice. I feel much better knowing that there isn't discrimination involved! This is all new to me and it's difficult to distinguish what is right from wrong! 

    TheKLF99, I will try the suggestions you have advised! 

    Have a lovely Sunday! 
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  • TheKLF99TheKLF99 Member Posts: 17 Connected
    Victoriad - yeah I know what you mean about going overboard.  I had a friend that I took with me once to Booker - he had slight learning difficulties and after the second time taking him I decided it wasn't really fair actually taking him due to the things he was buying and it was getting him in trouble.

    The first time I went there he bought a box of crisps and a box of sweets (I mean a BIG box - retail size - 48 bags of crisps and 36 kit kats).  After eating one of the bags of crisps and one of the sweets he decided he didn't like them and so flushed them down the toilet ( :open_mouth: ) and he got in trouble with his landlord 'cos they had to come and unblock the toilet - I'm not surprised 47 bags of crisps and 35 kit kats is not something you'd expect someone to flush down the toilet.

    Then on the next trip he bought some dishwasher tablets as he thought they were cheap and it'd keep him going for a while.  When we got outside he said to me how long do you reckon this will keep me going for, and I said it depends on how often you use the dishwasher and he then said I only use it once a week.... this box had 4 mega packs of Finish (110 tablets per box - one box will last two years!).  He ended up giving a load of them away.

    The problem is he had OCD and other learning difficulties and he was on benefits, and instead of using his benefits money to buy food he was coming with me to Booker to buy random stuff that he wasn't using and then starving himself, which is where I decided even though it might seem wrong to make a decision on someone else's mental state as to whether or not you should be taking them to places like that, to not take him any more, as I didn't want him starving himself just so he could buy bulk items from Booker that he wasn't even using and in reality he should have had a carer to go shopping with him to ensure that his impulses do not get out of control.
  • NystagmiteNystagmite Member Posts: 608 Pioneering
    You can order foods (not frozen) from Amazon pantry. I've also bought the bigger packs of toilet roll. As a non-driver, these are a pain to carry home and they work out cheaper.
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  • FLY88FLY88 Member Posts: 3 Listener
    I've not explored 'Amazon Pantry' nor 'Freezer Foods' before. Thank you for the advice and recommendations! 
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  • tommtomm Member Posts: 231 Pioneering
    edited January 2018
    three packets of frozen bacon containing 18 rashers per packet and 3 pkts costs £6

     Quality and not quantity is my choice not a food snob, but bacon is always better from your butcher no white junk in my bacon, and hardly any excess fat no gristle cartilage either and it's reared and killed in the uk


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  • TheKLF99TheKLF99 Member Posts: 17 Connected
    Victoriad those freezer shops are quite often found throughout the UK under different names.  Our nearest is Heron Foods in Kidderminster,  but they are all the same - very cheap food, food they sell is quite often destined for the foreign market but ends up on sale in the UK (I remember  once getting Findus crispy pancakes (cheese ones cos I'm vegetarian) and they were actually the French version.   I much preferred them to the English as they were proper pancakes with no breadcrumbs on them and I thought why on earth do Nestle ruin the UK version by putting breadcrumbs on them!  I also quite often hope they'll get some proper Rosti in too not the hash brown excuse that McCain produce - it's a bit far to go to Ikea just to get it, although even that doesn't really come close to proper Swiss Rosti - I first tried that at the World Scout Jamboree in 2007, we had a staff canteen which was serving boring English food but I was like no I'm at a major international event I want to try proper international food, not something that Sodexho have scrapped out of the oven!) 

    Sometimes as well Farmfoods, Iceland,  B&M and Poundland can be the same.   What it generally is though,  is it's been made in the UK by a UK firm for export,  however something has gone wrong and they've not been able to export the food fast enough,  so by the time it would reach the intended country it might be out of date,  or have such a short shelf/warehouse life retailers wouldn't want to touch if,  so they sell it off cheaply to these shops - it saves them risking sending it abroad and having to pay to have it disposed of and even though they might make a loss on the sale it's still cheaper than paying disposal fees. 
  • TheKLF99TheKLF99 Member Posts: 17 Connected
    Oh and BTW even though the EU abbatoirs have to adhere to the same EU standards as the UK we also have other non-EU standards that our abbatoirs have to adhere to that aren't in EU law (it's funny that we have a lot more tougher standards for a lot of things like BSS, and a lot of our standards were actually adopted by the EU!   I wonder what they're going to do when we fully leave??) ,  having said that though it didn't stop them serving up horse meat and that was in mainstream shops,  or the big chicken factory scandal before Christmas. 
  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello every one who has made comments on this.  Speaking personally at one time I have had met so many people who suffer from a range of mental problems all around the supermarkets and other types.  They all experienced the difficulty and misunderstanding of what stores exactly do.  In my many threads and posts and bits and pieces about the subject of shopping.  I am a patient tolerant gent and seem to be the one in many of the support groups I have been in to explain how and why the complexities of shopping in these stores.  Please note I ran a business at one time have used many of the cash and carry types .  In the end it is all about the profits and buying in bulk.  I had this offshoot idea for the many lonely people who have the chance to have a hot meal once a week.  Serving food that was edible but due to supermarkets policy chucking it away but perfectly OK.  Problem shelved to supermarkets reluctant to participate.  Among other issues.  Any way found out the real reason behind supermarkets policy.  Most supermarkets in fact nearly all have consultants to plan how you the consumer spend and what you eat.  I am acutely aware of what is happening to me mentally when I go to any of the big name stores.  My mind is switched on.  Even though I have anxiety and I am also get scared because of the lost feeling.  Whizzing around aisles picking items that I do not need in to my trolley.  The stores are planned and designed to do that.  I have had friends who have had similar experiences.  So before we all start. 

    Rule No1 Plan a menu a weeks worth of meals.  Make it simple.  Write down what you will need including Household items, toiletries, etc

    Rule no2 Use a list make a stocklist for your cupboard like the stores do.  Write down items you already have.

    Rule No3 Remember you are in control and try to remember a week meals.  I eat 2 meals a day so budget.  You might find also sticking to a list how many times you have enough food for the following week.

    Rule No4 Easier if you have a freezer to stock on frozen fish and vegetables.   Also frozen fruit.  Simple freezer vegetables legumes peas and green beans, broadbeans, broccoli cheaper than fresh.  Frozen fish as well the same and fruit.

    Rule No5 Use you freezer for storing meals as well as frozen food.  I use mine for bread, freeze in tin foil, portioned two slices cheese grated and stocks, soups, sauces all zip bags.  By way use tin foil to portion meat, labelled.  Plastic wrap OK but can be problems with freezer burn.  Need to expel air out.  There are freezer bags but with my hands sometimes hard to get bags open and also can stick to bars and to iced surfaces.

    Rule no6 When shopping avoid those end aisles that have bargains all designed to bulk out you shopping.  BOGOF bargains, do you really need.?

    I hope any of this helps.  I have suggested many times to stores managers that they hold supermarket tours for people who have mental illness and disability.  They do for schools because I see the children all the time going in.  May be they do not want to give us all a tour because we all will find out the truth.  I do shop in the big stores but now turn which is easier and helps me the discount stores.
    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
    Recipes
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  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Victoriad Pleased to meet you.  This post I wrote mainly because I am the same as every one in the community and have experienced problems not only in these stores.  Also making meals.  I have a slow cooker and rarely never use oven.  Just hob and microwave.  I have and do appreciate every ones advice and tips and tricks to get a meal on the table.  I amaze my friends if and when they see me.  Because I eat the unconventional types of foods that are not in their eyes worth buying.  I use the foods and methods to cook from the Italian, Southern Med Cookbook.  This food is described as food of the poor.  Minimum effort and maximum satisfaction.  All minimum prep some do not even have to really cook.  Heat is involved but not a lot.  I have devised recipes for my own disability and mental health.  I admire every one who has a go making a meal for one self.  It helps me mentally.  I also use equipment that helps.  Food processor onions and slicing veg.  Blender soups, sauces.  Great for getting rid of veg and left overs.  Mini chopper chillies, herbs, garlic.  Always helps and useful.  I do this cuisine because also no food waste.  I too have stock cupboard all different shapes pasta, beans, grains, spices dried herbs.  Thank you for some meal ideas and solutions.  I am not a chef or cook but like to eat well.  I agree with buying freezer meals already made.  In fact I am not a show off or a arrogant person.  I had a neighbour who I introduced to my way of cooking.  Spent a fortune at the takeaway.  Ready meals to me I never ever bought any.  Only recently I had a lad in the village show me one.  Looked horrible and the contents.  I used when I was ill especially addiction days of withdrawal in the old days found a spare day usually Weekend making soup for freezer.  I lived on minestrone and other style soups.  Bad days still do.    I hope you OK and lovely to chat and talk.  Take care
    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
    Recipes
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  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Victoriad Thank you By way have you seen the new ways of cooking.  Called Pro cookers I think.  Put ingredients in press a button and hey presto meal cooked.  Argos sold out over the holidays and at nearly £100 too much.  I bought two slow cookers one small for single one pots.   I have a medium size ones for soups and bulk freezer meals.  I am an avid keen viewer of watching all these cooking shows.  Get to know certain techniques.  New one not easy but I try boning chicken thighs and then grill them.  Cheaper than buying it already done for you.  Then shredded in sauce.  I use old fashioned techniques like poaching , meat and fish.  I will agree with you like to do a recipe swap.  My mental health not good and forgetful so I have a folder in a drawer with recipes.  Written out numbered and in A4 paper and plastic.   Helps.  I hope to speak to you soon.  What I will do is open a discussion on the forum.  Great idea recipe swap.  Must be other like you and me out there who wished to share.  Take care 
    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
    Recipes
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  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello @Victoriad Thank you for reply.  Just been into town for a shop today.  I never heard of this Paleo Diet.  Book on this diet.  I already do a lot of this.  Mediterranean food.  Little meat, fish, vegetables, herbs and spices.  Now I know on the right tack.  Been doing this since I left home in the 1990s.  Any way yes do a discussion on recipe ideas.  I am sure the wonderful people at SCOPE will be interested.  Notice on the forum a guy called the shaky chef.  Good ideas.  He believed done a cook book.  Be great to look forward what every one contributes.  Thank you for the information on the new style of slow cookers.  I agree I will stick to my own slow cookers and equipment.  Trying to replace some of it.  Costing too much.  Nothing ever lasts.  Nice to talk to you and take care.
    Community Champion
    SCOPE Volunteer Award Engaging Communities 2019
    Mental Health advice, guidance and information to all members
    Nutrition, Diet, Wellbeing, Addiction.
    Recipes
  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,263 Pioneering
    I cooked a chilli in my slow cooker when I had a friend over for dinned on Boxing Day. She thought it was lovely but was surprised by the way I cooked it. I used to love to cook but do so vary rarely now, just causes too many problems. On bad days I pick, if I eat at all, from a few bits and pieces I keep about. Generally though I never manage more than 2 or 3 cooked meals a week. However, now I am going back to the centre, it guarantees 1 or 2 decent meals a week. Mostly though, food is just too much to bother with.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
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