Personally, I have never got the infatuation my American brethren have with the wholesaler Costco. Buying in bulk is seldom necessary for me, and while once Costco was a source of some of the more hard-to-get items from home, more and more these items are available via other means, like The Interwebs and places like High Street Market and The Foreign Market, in Itaewon.
That being said Costco looks like it is about to come face to face with the almighty power of the Seoul City Government over its refusal to close every second Sunday of the month, and it seems Seoul City is going out of its way to be a bunch of dicks about it
By way of a backgrounder - various local governments decided to mandate that big box stores such as HomePlus and EMart close their doors twice a month - essentially to give a leg up to failing "traditional" markets and Mom & Pop stores who, are suffering due to the always open (in a number of instances 24 hours) big retailers.
I don't necessarily disagree with the ordinance, but then mandating when people should be doing business is also a bit of a slippery slope. The retailers (though not Costco) took the local Gu governments to court and won - albeit on a technicality, its not necessarily unconstitutional for a local body to say when a shop can be open, but the way it was implemented was a bit dodgy by all accounts and as of writing EMart et al have a reprieve.
Costco flaunted the ordinance when t was enforced and is now claiming they have the right to stay open all but Chuseok, Christmas and New Year's Day. (and they are also claiming that because - ultimately - they are a "wholesaler the ordinance doesn't apply anyway).
In reply Seoul City has, rather indignantly said that since they didn't join the lawsuit with EMart and HomePlus and what not they don't have much of a leg to stand on. Which shows a fairly poor understanding of the way the law (and judicial rulings) work, and shows the flawed logic all to commonly bandied about in Korea....sigh.
Nevertheless, there's no need to be a dick about it, and it looks like Seoul City now has it in for Costco:
Inspection on Costco: City officials carry a sample box in front of the Costco wholesale store in Yangjae-dong, southern Seoul, Wednesday, after conducting an inspection to check if the store complies with operational regulations. The action came after the American wholesaler continued to defy a disputed municipal ordinance that forces discount stores to close every other Sunday to protect mom-and-pop stores from going out of business. The officials found that Costco’s three stores in the city have violated a total of 41 rules concerning sanitation, price tags, waste disposal, product design, parking and traffic control, emergency lights, firefighting equipment and other safety measures. The municipality has vowed to strengthen its crackdown on Costco and other ‘rule-breaking stores.’
Concerning that Costco was found to be not complying with "some rules concerning sanitation" , but one can't help but think that nspectors were mandated to go out of their way to find infractions. Kudos on the Cass beer cooler too!
But really Seoul City? Don't be a dick.