You may remember a while back when I posted about Costco doing a test run of accepting food stamps in their Queens and Brooklyn locations. Well, that went well enough for them to decide to roll it out nationally.
Originally, before testing the market, Costco had thought that there would not be a great deal of Costco shopper that were food stamp recipients because of the membership fees. But as CEO Jim Sinegal has said: “People who were in good shape financially all of the sudden are needing some assistance.” And plenty of customers have contacted Costco to say they are using food stamps. Once the software was in place to accept food stamps in New York, it became relatively easy to roll out the program nationally, according to Sinegal. At present, Costco accepts food stamps in nine stores, mostly on the East Coast and in El Centro, Calif.
So, despite their earlier hesitation, they will be begin accepting food stamps at all 410 US locations with more than half of those being able to accept them by Thanksgiving. Costco is working with state food stamp systems to roll out the program, beginning in hard-hit areas like Michigan and the central valley of California. Costco also must identify which items in their stores can be purchased using food stamps; milk and vegetables in, Coach bags and Baccarat crystal not so much.
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