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Americans love their Walmart and their big-box warehouse stores, and Sam’s Club, which is owned and operated by Walmart and named after its founder, Sam Walton, combines the best of both worlds. But even if you shop at your local Sam’s Club every week, we bet that there are still some things that you don’t know about this mega-chain.
Geared toward the Hispanic population, Mas Club (mas meaning "more" in Spanish) opened in Houston in August 2009, with a separate membership from Sam’s Club. It closed in February 2014.
If you want to buy a snack or pick up prescription drugs and don’t have a membership, nobody will stop you; selling drugs to members only is prohibited by federal law, as is the case with liquor and gasoline in some states.
Don’t try to pay with Visa or American Express; there are plenty of accepted payment methods (including SNAP and Sam’s Club Credit), but due to high processing fees, those two cards aren’t accepted.
Is there something that they don’t stock that you wish they did? Just send them a note and they’ll be in touch about your request.
If you’re looking for a place to park your RV for a night, Sam’s Club might let you park yours there if local zoning restrictions allow it.
Formerly an Incredible Universe electronics superstore, the largest store is 185,000 square feet.
Sam’s Club “reserves the right to accept, refuse, or revoke Membership without cause,” according to their website, and your membership can be cancelled for everything from writing bad checks to shoplifting to using profanity toward an employee to “questionable returns.”
A team of 65 to 100 professional tasters at the “Sensory Lab” inside the company’s Bentonville, Ark. headquarters tastes four different food items every day. The team rates each product according to criteria like texture and sweetness and then reports back to the corporate chef. About 1,700 items are tasted each year, and only 15 percent of items tasted make it to the club.
Oregon and Vermont have no Sam’s Clubs, and the only Rhode Island location closed in February 2016. There are no Washington, D.C., locations, either.
An attempt to build on the success of Costco’s Business Centers (where office supplies and the like are sold) fizzled out, as the first location, in Houston, opened in August 2008 and closed in January 2010.
In 2016, an app was introduced that allows shoppers at all U.S. locations to scan items while they shop and skip the checkout line entirely; purchases are automatically charged to a credit card on file. It can be downloaded here.
If you don’t want to roam around the store looking for specific items, you can order them online and have them shipped to your nearest store for free. Then when you’re notified, you can just drive over and pick them up — no line, no fuss. We wonder if they’ll ever offer home-delivery service, like their competition.
If you’re not a member yet, you can save a ton of money by signing up through Groupon.