Here's Why Angry Shoppers Are Boycotting Costco
Some vocal members of Costco are taking issue with the wholesale club's recent policy requiring all shoppers to wear masks amid the coronavirus outbreak. It's not clear how widespread this movement is, but the protest appears to be evolving into something of a boycott for some who feel that the safety measure infringes upon their civil liberties. Costco is a private company, however, and is legally justified in setting its own policies, especially those designed to protect the health of its own staff.
Costco is among many national retailers who have taken aggressive steps designed to protect the safety of shoppers and workers alike during the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting on Monday of this week, shoppers at Costco will be required to wear protective masks. The new policy came in a statement published on a webpage dedicated to COVID-19 updates. It notes that "all Costco members and guests must wear a mask or face covering that covers the mouth and nose at all times while at Costco."
Though the wearing of a mask is less designed to protect the individual and more to abate the spread and protect those around the mask-wearer, some are still very much aggrieved. So much so, that the hashtag #boycottcostco has emerged.
Here are just a handful of tweets:
You have hit a new low… you are an American corporation with an obligation to support our American values, dictating face mask for your workers is one thing but forcing this on your loyal members who paid for a membership is a complete abuse of power. #boycottcostco
— Eric Torres (@therealeric87) May 6, 2020
Costco what are you doing? States are re-opening and that's when you start a requirement for a face mask, don't get it. Will be cancelling membership. #boycottcostco
— Shellly Batt (@aauservices) May 6, 2020
Costco CEO Craig Jelinek seemed to predict the backlash in a public message posted on the company's website, writing, "We know some members may find this inconvenient or objectionable, but under the circumstances, we believe the added safety is worth any inconvenience."
To be fair, there appear to be many individuals on social media that are reasonably defending Costco's decision to responsibly protect the health staff and shoppers alike. To wit:
First objection for today. Costco's policy asking people to wear masks in store does not erode your rights and freedoms. Anyone who is really pro-freedom knows private property rights are paramount and, as a private entity, Costco can enact any lawful policy it wants.
— Neil Saunders (@NeilRetail) May 8, 2020
Costco has what I think is a reasonable ask for customers to wear masks. I'm genuinely curious why people posting to #boycottcostco don't want to wear masks?
— Rowan 9️⃣9️⃣9️⃣9️⃣9️⃣ (@rowantrollope) May 8, 2020
Why nuts? It's a great idea. Those opposed to masks won't go to Costco, making it safer for everyone else. Let's take it further: those opposing masks should boycott all shops
— Axel Merk (@AxelMerk) May 8, 2020
Dozens of grocery store clerks have died as a result of the coronavirus as the close proximity required to serve a large number of shoppers appears to have a very negative affect in the viral overload that seems consistent with those who fall ill from the deadly contagion.
Walmart received similar pushback from shoppers aggrieved by their new one-way shopping policy, though that led to people just ignoring the policy and not protesting.