Not always game for executive status: Costo has tiered memberships, and the majority of shoppers—over 38 million, or about 57%, of the club’s reported 68.1 million memberships worldwide—pay for a basic membership at $60 annually. But it certainly behooves Costco to encourage its patrons to pay twice as much for the executive-level status, which includes extra perks like an annual 2% reward on qualified Costco purchases. But not everyone’s game for the upgrade. Recently, some Reddit users have been complaining of aggressive sales tactics at Costco, like employees who repeatedly offer deals (not taking ‘no’ for an answer), and one employee who chased down a woman who was trying to enjoy her Costco hot dog. Too much? Or just employees trying to do their job? It’s a fine line. —Chloe Riley
A pizza machine: The idea of enjoying a Costco hot dog while watching a robot pizza-making machine … what could be better? Apparently, when it comes to shopping experiences at the superstore, not much. TikTok now has many videos showing off Costco’s automated machine that makes sure the sauce is evenly spread on the circular dough. The retailer is aware of all the attention the tech is getting, and some stores have the machine performing behind glass for optimal viewing. Reports quote the pizza robot as costing as much as $7,000. It sounds impressive and all, but get one that will toss spinning dough in the air and then we could be on to something. —Bill Wilson
Stars, they’re just like us! They go grocery shopping! They carry their own bags! Celebrities also need groceries, and Eat This, Not That did a roundup of celebrities spotted at grocery stores. Some highlights: Rihanna at an NYC Whole Foods, singer Nick Jonas at Trader Joe’s (evidently he prefers TJ’s mayonnaise in his tuna salad), and Mandy Moore at Costco (evidently Billie Eilish is also a big fan of Costco, specifically its peanut butter). The pièce de résistance may be Hailey Bieber (wife of Justin) having a smoothie named after her at the fancy L.A.-based Erewhon Market. Stars! They get thirsty too! —CR
Clean up the act: The mayor of Trotwood, Ohio, knows how to use Facebook Live, which did not work out for a Dollar General store in the area. After visiting the discount store recently, Mayor Mary McDonald demanded some changes. She then returned a short time later and was appalled at what she saw, so she took her complaint to the masses of Facebook. McDonald said she saw two pit bull dogs in the store, workers out of uniform playing vulgar music, and unorganized merchandise all over the aisles. The store then ended up closing to clean up its act. McDonald said she wants Dollar General corporate to ensure its stores are more presentable. Many dollar discount stores have been fined recently due to substandard working conditions, but at what point does someone lay down the law? Just wait until that mayor gets on TikTok. —BW
Wegmans' Fisher-Price strategy: For two years in a row now, Wegmans has had exclusive selling rights to limited-edition Fisher Price Little People figures featuring toy versions of quarterback Josh Allen, coach Sean McDermott and two Buffalo Bills Mafia fans in Bills apparel. Proceeds benefit the Children’s Hospital of Buffalo Foundation and John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital — both in Buffalo, N.Y. In 2021, the Little People sets quickly sold out and that promoted another round of figurines in 2022, which also sold out and had over 125,000 sets sold. The hospital has now received a check from Fisher Price for $1.3 million, bringing the total donation to nearly $2 million since the start of the partnership. Really nice stuff. —CR
Costco has its robot pizza-making machine, Giant has its customer-facing Marty the robot. Robots are popping up more and more in grocery — do you have any in store? Would you consider using them?
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