Ten Reasons Why You Should Not Buy a Sam’s Club Membership

Sam’s Club, a division of Wal-Mart, is a chain of stores where you can buy almost everything under sun, all in a building approximately the size of the sun. It is similar to Wal-Mart, but with a few catches. At Sam’s Club, nearly everything comes in bulk sizes. This means that if you want to buy laundry detergent, you won’t find a 64-ounce container; you will be buying a 128-ounce (or larger) sized package. This principle is applied to just about every product in the store. Mayonnaise comes in 4-pack containers, bread is packaged two loaves at a time, pencils come in 100 count boxes, and so on. It sounds like a dream come true for shoppers, but there are some downsides. So I present the ten reasons why you shouldn’t buy a Sam’s Club membership.

#10) The cost of the membership. For an individual to even enter Sam’s Club, you must purchase a yearly membership. For individuals, this is $40. For $40 you get to have two cards (one for you, one for another member of your immediate household). You get access to any Sam’s Club, and have the opportunity to get up to 1% cash back with SAM’S CLUB Discover Card. This may not sound like a lot of money, but do you really need to pay money just to enter a large grocery/department store?

#9) Bulk isn’t always better value. Just because you can buy 128 eggs in one carton, it doesn’t mean that you should. And do you really need five Master Locks? How about a 250 pack of blank dvd-r discs? Who really needs 12 Sharpie markers? You will wind up paying $10 for the 12 Sharpies, which is cheaper than they’d cost to buy individually at Wal-Mart, but each Sharpie will last you nearly a year. Why buy 12 at once when one will do fine? Unfortunately, almost everything in the store comes in bulk quantities.

#8) Waste. We’ve bought bulk packages of mozzarella cheese, popsicles, and lemons, only to end up throwing away much of it because it expired before we could use it all. This problem is all too common a complaint among Sam’s Club shoppers. Unless you are buying for a business or specific occasion (party, reception…), you will likely wind up wasting some of what you buy. This just makes the items cost even more.

#7) Much of the inventory can be found at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is free to enter the door and the items are mostly the same as those found inside a Sam’s Club. Only difference is that at Wal-Mart you can’t purchase it in bulk. Only major items (like refrigerators, sofas…) are exclusive to Sam’s Club.

#6) No bags. This is annoying. Warehouse stores, like Sam’s Club, don’t have paper or plastic as an option (other than how to pay). There are no bags to carry your groceries. You can either bring your own or else you need to find boxes from the store. There is a large location, by the checkouts, where boxes are gathered, but if you go during peak hours (weekends), good luck finding any boxes that didn’t originally contain soap products; and even those are in poor condition.

#5) The lines. Since most people usually have a massive shopping cart full of groceries and other goods, the check out lines are outrageous. Even if all registers are open, you can wind up waiting a very long time to check out. If you just ran into the store for bread, milk, and potato chips, you will be upset.

#4) The crowds. This is similar to the lines (#5, above) but applies to the entire shopping experience. If you go on a weekday, it isn’t bad. If you go on a weekend, especially during the day when free samples are distributed everywhere, it can be a jungle. Add in the size of the shopping cart (larger than at most stores) and it can be frustrating just to navigate the aisles. Best advice is to go early or during the week if possible.

#3) Having to get your picture taken. It goes on your membership card. If you hate your driver’s license photo, this is worse. Plus you have to show it each time you enter so the greater gets to see it, too.

#2) Payment options. Not all warehouses will let you pay via check or with certain credit cards. They seem to be relaxing these restrictions but it is better to look into it before bringing only your checkbook when you go shopping. This can be quite annoying; especially if you like to pay for everything with a specific credit card.

And the number one reason why you should not buy a Sam’s Club Membership…

#1) Costco is better. This may be a personal preference but I have found the selection, quality, and overall experience of shopping at Costco to be better than that at Sam’s Club. The chocolate chip muffins in Costco’s bakery are worth the membership price alone. Costco has a wider selection of goods that can’t be found in other stores, like Wal-Mart, so you won’t feel ‘cheated’ by shopping here either. If you are determined to buy a warehouse membership, Costco is the way to go.

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