Warehouse club store shopper browsing aisle w.width

5 Struggles Every Sam’s Club Shopper Will Understand

Warehouse club store shopper browsing aisle with shopping cart

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If you’re a Sam’s Club shopper, there are undoubtedly things about the warehouse store that you appreciate. You may also have a bone or two to pick — issues you would change if you could. Here are five struggles you may be able to relate to.

1. Parking

After more than two dozen moves to different cities, states, and countries, I can confidently say that the parking situation at every Sam’s Club I have ever visited has been a hot mess. Unless you have the patience of a saint, I suspect the same is true for you. I’ve boiled the problem down to these three issues:

  • Everyone and their mother appear to head for warehouse stores at the same time, and no matter how large the parking lot is, it’s nearly always full.
  • It takes people forever to unload their carts, get into their vehicles, and pull out of a parking spot. I suspect it’s because Sam’s Club is unlike a traditional grocery or department store. There are no bags to quickly grab from your cart and toss into your trunk. Unloading a cart takes more time, and parkers must exercise patience.
  • (This may just be me, but) people seem to be in slow motion. Whether they’re walking through the parking lot or looking for their cars, folks coming out of Sam’s move particularly slow. Is it something in all the samples they tried, or are they simply exhausted from walking up and down aisles, standing in line to pay, then standing in another line to show their receipt?

2. Crowds

I hear tales of people running into Sam’s Club, surprised to see that there’s barely anyone shopping. I’ve never had an upgraded membership, so I’ve never been able to take advantage of early shopping. The only thing I can figure out is that the people who brag about “practically having the store to themselves” either purchased upgraded memberships or live in a much less populated area than I do.

I’m okay with having people around, as long as they’re not all crowded into one area of the store. Unfortunately, the last time I shopped at Sam’s Club, everyone seemed to congregate near the bakery. I’ll admit it smells great back there, but come on, people! How long does it take to look at crescent rolls (even if they are stuffed with chocolate)?

If you don’t leave Sam’s determined to avoid people for the rest of the day, you’re a far better person than I am.

3. Overbuying

As much time as I spend working on our household budget, you’d think I would buy only what we need. However, I typically walk out of the store with too much stuff. Some of what I buy in bulk makes sense. For example, paper towels, toilet paper, and a huge bag of dark chocolate-covered pretzels make sense. What makes no sense is when I pick up a bag of limes when I only need two, or two boxes of cereal when it takes me two weeks to eat one box of cereal.

One day, when I feel brave, I will figure out how much money I could have saved by buying only what my husband and I can consume.

4. Rotating stock

When I walk into our local grocery store, I’m pretty sure of what I’ll find. And while that’s true of many Sam’s Club items, it doesn’t seem to apply to products I fall in love with.

I fully recognize that these are first-world problems. I also know how fortunate I am to be able to walk into a store and stock up. Still, as a creature of habit, it bothers me when something disappears.

5. A low price isn’t always a low price

There are definitely bargains to be found at Sam’s Club, especially if you need large quantities. However, it’s still important to compare prices with useful apps and to be honest about how quickly you’re likely to use up anything you plan to buy.

For example, Sam’s Club offers a three-pack of Banana Boat sunscreen for under $15. At first blush, it sounds like a great deal. There’s an issue, though.

A three-pack of anything may be too much for a single shopper. While we think of food going bad, products like lotions, creams, makeup, and sunscreens also have expiration dates. Unless a person is going to whip through the first bottle, they may not get to use the second (or third) before its expiration date.

Ultimately, shopping at Sam’s Club may not always save you money (gasp). If you pay for a three-pack but only use one bottle of a product before the other two expire, you’ve paid more than you would have by purchasing a single bottle elsewhere, particularly if you have a manufacturer’s coupon.

These days, we’re all doing what we can to save money, from using rewards points on our credit cards to virtually clipping online coupons. If you’re a Sam’s Club member, the ideal situation not only involves saving money, but also enjoying the experience.

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