business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  The Street has a piece suggesting that Costco's unique connection to its members - people who pay an annual fee to belong and put up with an edited assortment and a bare-bones approach to service - gives it a "surprising" advantage over competitors such as Walmart, kroger and other traditional retailers.

Costco, the story says, has not seen any measurable increase in retail theft.

That's what happens when your shoppers perceive themselves as having skin in the game.  It also helps that Costco only lets members in, and checks members' carts on the way out - a structure that would be unworkable in traditional stores.

That said - I think that maybe retailers should endeavor to make the unworkable workable.  Maybe everybody should have to show a receipt on the way out of the store, and if you're found to be stealing, they call the cops.  Lines have to be drawn, and enforcement has to be even-handed, consistent, and persistent.