I received a postcard with an offer for a "Free BJ's Trial Membership" a few weeks ago. It said, "No Risk BJ's Trial Membership for a Minimum of 60 Days, " indicating that all I had to do was bring my card to the Member Services Desk to activate membership. I used to have a membership but had not had one for some time, so I decided to try them again because of this offer. When I went up to the customer service desk, the clerk immediately went into a canned speech about how the free trial is only good for ONE person and is ONLY for 60 days (although the card says a "minimum of 60 days, " which I don't really understand anyway). She was clearly trying to dissuade me from this offer.
After trying to convince me to sign up for the one year membership which cost $45 (that I politely declined), she looked up my name in her computer and claimed I was not eligible for the free trial since I had been a member there once before. Nothing in the mailing indicated that you could never have had a membership there before. It had been about a year since I was last a member.
When I asked why BJ's would send the offer to me then, she readily pulled out the mailing (just happened to have one under her desk?) and pointed out that BJ's had "no idea" who they were sending it to, since they were all addressed to "Friend and Neighbor." Given how quickly she had an explanation for this, I apparently was not the first to ask that question. I had thought I received it as a way for them to woo me back since I hadn't been there in quite some time. She disputed this, saying it was only for people who had never heard of BJ's before!
She then pointed to the very fine and tiny print which stated this offer was for new members only. My understanding of a new member is one who is not a current member. In other words, you can't get 60 days for free if you already have a membership. Well, this clerk and now a second clerk started ganging up on me, trying to make ME feel as though I were trying to con them into a free membership! The second clerk, especially, was rude and tried to embarrass me for trying to get my free membership. Another customer was standing there, and she pointed to her and said, "Well, why should you get a free trial when this customer has had to pay?" Which made no sense at all. I guess I should have said, "Um, maybe because I have the friggin' free trial membership card and she doesn't?"
BJ's has gone downhill in my opinion and I will not be going back. This is a bait and switch as far as I'm concerned. You show up at their invitation and then they try to push you into paying for a membership. No thank you.
Good bye, BJ's. Hello, Costco!
The complaint has been investigated and resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.