9 Facts About Sam’s Club You Didn’t Know (#7 Is Only for Members)

How well do you know this warehouse chain?
Updated May 8, 2024
Fact checked
sams club exterior and logo

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Sam’s Club was started in 1983 in a small town in Oklahoma. It’s since grown into an international retail giant, offering savings around the globe with plenty of loyal customers.

Whether you’re a member or not, it’s hard to ignore the appeal of saving money shopping while buying in bulk. And even the most seasoned Sam's shoppers may not know everything about the store. 

Here are nine fascinating things you didn’t know about Sam’s Club. 

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Sam’s Club is bigger than a football field

Heorshe/Adobe Sam's Club store warehouse in Shenzhen

The warehouse chain has multiple sizes of stores, but the average size of a Sam’s Club is 134,000 sq. ft. — which is more than two football fields.

While a lot of that real estate is taken up by inventory, the tire center, the optical department, the cafe, and employee-only areas, members can expect to get quite a few steps in when shopping at Sam’s Club.

Sam’s Club is not in all 50 states

Robert/Adobe Sam's Club brand logo

Despite having 600 clubs around the country, clubs are missing from a few states. Alaska, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington are sans Sam’s Club locations.

In the past, there were stores in Alaska, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Washington, but they have all been closed down between 2016 and 2018 due to strategic changes in the company. Oregon and Vermont have never had locations, though.

Sam’s Club is in China (and it’s popular!)

Robert/Adobe Sam's Club retail store at night

Several international Sam’s Club locations exist, but the locations are heavily concentrated in South America (Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Brazil). The first Sam’s Club in China was opened in Shenzhen on August 12, 1996. That’s a long way from Midwest City, OK, where the first Sam’s Club was opened.

Since then, Walmart has opened many more locations throughout China with a current total of 47 clubs, and it has become the most popular membership club there.

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Sam’s Club is embracing technology

vladim_ka/Adobe Sam's Club application on smartphone

Sam’s Club has begun describing itself as “a people-led, tech-powered omnichannel retailer” rather than just helping people save money.

The store’s Scan-and-Go app feature allows members to check out as they shop throughout the store. When customers are done shopping, they pay on their phone and show the receipt upon exiting — removing the need to wait in long lines at checkout. Sam’s Club offers exclusive savings for customers who use the Scan-and-Go app.

The savings club giant also included AI technology in the search functions of its app and website. You can expect Sam’s Club to continue using technology to streamline and reduce costs.

Sam’s Club pays dividends

K KStock/Adobe Sam's club warehouse sign on building

The parent company of Sam’s Club, Walmart, increased dividend payments to its investors by 9% this year — the biggest increase ever. Dividend stocks pay their shareholders based on profits and the number of shares they own.

In January 2024, Walmart announced a stock split, which will increase the amount of stock available for purchase. This means after the split, for 2025, WMT will pay out $0.83 per share.

You can shop at Sam’s Club without a membership

ashtproductions/Adobe woman grocery shopping

Sam’s Club offers guest memberships to those who want to shop without purchasing a membership — however, it comes with some strict rules. 

Guest members are only allowed to shop online, not in-store or curbside pickup. They also pay an additional 10% fee on the total, and purchases will not be covered by Sam’s Club’s satisfaction guarantee.

Sam’s Club offers same-day delivery

Krakenimages.com/Adobe woman holding groceries paper bag

This is strictly a members-only benefit, but you can place an order online by 1 p.m. and have it delivered to your door that same day. Sam’s Club also promises no markups when you choose this option, unlike third-party delivery services like Instacart.

Each delivery costs a flat fee of $12 for Club members and $8 for Plus members. Members must live within a 15-mile radius of the stores and have an active membership to be eligible.

Sam’s Club offers health insurance

Maksym Yemelyanov/Adobe health insurace and dental care cards

Sam’s Club is partnered with SimplyInsured to help small business owners offer health insurance coverage to their employees. The site offers hundreds of plan options from national carriers, including medical, dental, and vision insurance. You can purchase plans for companies as small as 1-4 employees.

Sam’s Club has a 100% satisfaction guarantee

jetcityimage/Adobe Sam's Club Warehouse billboard outdoors

The warehouse giant has a lenient return policy for members. The website states, “If a Member is not satisfied with the merchandise they purchased from Sam's Club, whether in-club or online, we'll replace it or provide a refund in most cases.” 

There are a few exceptions to this rule — like cell phones, appliances, motorsport vehicles, and electronics — but this is a great way to make sure you’re not wasting money on your grocery trips.

The satisfaction guarantee also includes the membership. If you aren’t happy with your membership at any point, you can talk to member services and receive a refund for your membership fees.

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Bottom line

Sam’s Club continues to grow. Recently, the chain announced plans for 30 more locations across the United States.

With the focus on technology and convenience, customers can expect AI usage to continue to grow at their local club store. Sam’s Club recognizes that the more it can streamline, the more its customers can keep more cash in their wallets.

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Author Details

Holly Humbert Holly is a writer who recognizes that there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to personal finance. She is passionate about entrepreneurship, women in business, and financial literacy. With more than four years of experience, her work has been featured on MarketWatch and The Ways to Wealth.

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