Members only: Costco does Twitter right.

“Costco is for members only.”

That’s what I think of every time I walk in. I remind myself that this is an elite club that only those with $60 and some photo ID can join. Once inside, you can check your manners at the door and push and shove your way through the crowds to get your vats, drums, and cases of non-perishables. You can forget about the fact that you’re blessed to be in a position to actually purchase food in these types of quantities and just be disappointed with everything that comes before you, save for that small hot-plate-warmed morsel of sausage you did six loops around the freezer section to get.

But enough about my dreary views on the typical Costco shopper. I, for one, love Costco. I smile my way through it all because I love the coffee beans, the meats, the fresh fruit – I am truly a Costco superfan. I even looked forward to the eFlyer — who knew what the next email would bring? “Hey, how about a single person sauna? Not today, thanks, but maybe some day,” I’d say to myself.

But it came to the point where “Who knows what the next email will bring” became “Sweet jeebus, not another ad for blinds.” I like blinds as much as the next guy, I really do. But I’m not shopping for blinds every two weeks. So I tweeted the following (pardon the missing “is”):

And then I hit “unsubscribe” on my latest Costco email.

You know, I realize I’m a consumer. And as a Costco “member”, my eyeballs are worth something to Costco. I’m not naiive enough to think that Costco reviews all their warehouse products and says, “Let’s post only the very best in the next email“. I’m conscious of the fact that they sell the space in their email newsletters and that it must be a pretty solid revenue generator for them.  So, I felt I should be vocal about my “blinding rage” and let Costco know via Twitter that I had voted with my track pad and my eyeballs were no longer going to see their emails. I thought maybe they’d ignore me, or maybe they’d even tweet me.

What I wasn’t expecting was a phone call.

A very friendly gentleman from Costco actually called me to follow up. We talked for a bit about what I meant by my tweet, and specifically what I meant by “spam”.  He confirmed that I was getting the right emails and then plainly told me that the Hunter Douglas uses Costco as a major advertising and retail outlet and therefore the window-covering focused emails would continue, apparently monthly, for the foreseeable future. He was totally transparent, totally pleasant, and I have to say, he really made me feel like a member. Costco may be pushing a lot of blinds, but they don’t have their blinders on.

After we hung up I had a few thoughts:

Thought 1: Costco cares what I tweet. They care enough to look me up in the member database and call me directly – and despite my snotty Tweet, they were as pleasant as always. That’s amazing, and makes me like Costco all that much more. And, moreover, I think Hunter Douglas should be proud of their choice in retail partner.

Thought 2: Companies like Calphalon, who totally ignore my Tweets won’t be getting my business again, no matter how much I love my Calphalon steak knives, or how much I need five more of them.

Thought 3: If you’re not on Twitter as a large, public brand, you should be.

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