Given America's undying love of free samples and deals, there are many reasons to visit Costco, but high on the list is the food court, which is cheap, good, and exactly what you need after what feels like a million aisles of stuff. Even better, while the rest of the store is for members only, the food court has long been considered one of the best hacks for non-members, allowing you to buy $1 churros, $1.50 hot dog and soda combos, and $1.99 pizza slices without flashing a membership card.
Those glory days of eating freely at the Costco food court may soon come to an end, per 10News. Instagram Costco connoisseur @costcodeals posted a picture yesterday of a sign stating, "Effective March 16, 2020, an active Costco membership will be required to purchase items from our food court." The post has since been updated: "THIS HAS BEEN CONFIRMED! May still vary per store and roll out date may vary as well..." 10News saw similar signs at a Costco in Mountain View, California.
Drama ensued in the comments of @costcodeals' post, of course, over whether or not Costco's decision to limit the food court is a good one. Some people were excited by the prospect of potentially shorter lines, but to this, one person replied, "Chill, Karen. Learn to share good, cheap food with the community, it won't kill you."
A spokesperson for Costco clarified the food court policy to CBS News 8, who reported that membership has always been required in order to buy from the food court but it wasn't always enforced; starting in March, the store staff will be checking membership status. Costco declined to comment on the policy to VICE.
For people who don't feel like tacking on yet another yearly subscription, enjoy your cheap pizza while it lasts. For everyone else, Costco membership is $60 a year—which, if you really think about it, doesn't effectively add that much to the cost of your slice, and then, of course, there are the samples.
This article originally appeared on VICE US.