12 Things We All Hate About Sam's Club

A trip to Sam’s Club isn’t always a deal, and some things just annoy us.

Sam's Club Exterior and Logo
Updated May 28, 2024
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Sam’s Club is a great place to save money on groceries, and it offers great deals on home goods and office supplies.

But sometimes, you just can’t stand the idea of walking into one. Here are a few reasons why you may not be that excited about going into a Sam’s Club.

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The weekends are crowded

Lawr/Adobe Sam's Club shopping carts for customers

The weekends can be crowded at any grocery store, but you might find it’s even worse at a Sam’s Club.

There are other options, though. If you can’t go during work hours, try a weeknight trip — locations stay open until 8 p.m. and are definitely less crowded.

You need a membership

vladim_ka/Adobe Sam's Club application on iPhone screen

It might be frustrating if you want to shop at Sam’s Club but don’t want to pay for a membership. After all, why can’t you just go in and shop?

But compare the savings you can earn from shopping at Sam’s Club to those at a regular grocery store, and you might find the extra savings will more than cover a membership.

The produce goes bad

irishmaster/Adobe fruits and vegetables at grocery store

You may enjoy apples, strawberries, or bananas, but buying them at a bulk-food store like Sam’s Club may not be a good option.

It’s not that Sam’s Club produce goes bad quicker than produce at your local grocery store. It’s that you might have a hard time eating fresh produce before it goes bad due to the amount.

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The self-checkout isn’t quick

EdNurg/Adobe female customer using self checkout service

One of the great things about the self-checkout at Sam’s Club is that it can be convenient if you only have a few things to buy.

It can also back up quickly, though, if others try to use it and may not be as adept at getting through or are trying to check out a packed cart on their own, which means more problems for you.

You still have to go to the grocery store

Heorshe/Adobe Sam's Club store inside in Shenzhen

Sam’s Club can be a great option if you want to buy some items in bulk, but it’s not a substitute for going to the grocery store.

There are probably some extra things on your list that you don’t want to buy in bulk, so you’ll probably still need to make another trip somewhere else to round out your shopping.

The gas station has long lines

kanpisut/Adobe refueling car at gas station

One of the benefits of a Sam’s Club membership is the lower cost of gas at the pumps.

However, that low cost can attract a lot of drivers, and it may not be worth the savings to stay in line for so long just to get a deal.

It’s too easy to bust your budget

ColleenMichaels/Adobe checkout counters inside Walmart

You may go into Sam’s Club thinking you’ll pick up a few things only to come out with a cart full of items that cost much more than you expected.

Bulk items can push your bill higher because you’re buying a higher quantity so it’s important to create a list before you shop or you could end up hurting your wallet.

It’s not for single people

MelissaMN/Adobe Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk

Sam’s Club can be a great option if you have to buy food for a family or you’re shopping for an office. But it can be tough if you’re picking up a huge pack of toilet paper just for you. And who really wants to try to finish off a flat of strawberries all by themselves before they go bad?

You need storage space

Heorshe/Adobe Sam's Club store in Shenzhen

Sam’s Club is also great if you have a big house and the space to store 12 cans of chicken broth, 45 rolls of toilet paper, or 36 cans of soda.

It could be tough to find space for your bulk purchases if you don’t have the storage space in a pantry or freezer for your Sam’s Club finds.

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It’s more expensive than the grocery store

John Hanson Pye/Adobe sam's club logo on shopping cart

It’s hard to compare the cost of an item at Sam’s Club to one at your local grocery store so it’s important to review the per-item cost.

When you do that, you may find it’s cheaper to buy certain items at your local grocery store compared to Sam’s Club. There’s usually a sale on soda at the grocery store, for example, and produce in smaller qualities could mean less waste.

Sam’s Club employees don’t get paid well

Eric BVD/Adobe pick up orders at Sam's Club

Sam’s Club, which is owned by Walmart, doesn’t pay as well as its main rival Costco. That might be an issue if you want to make sure you’re supporting a company that supports employees.

Sam’s Club employees make an average base hourly rate of $15.57, according to Payscale, while Costco workers make an average base hourly rate of $18.92.

Costco is better

jetcityimage/Adobe costco wholesale location

You may have a Sam’s Club membership because you’re closer to a Sam’s Club, or perhaps you’re trying to save money because the Sam’s Club basic membership is cheaper than one at Costco.

But some Sam’s Club members aren’t impressed with the retailer compared to its competition.

“Having had a Sam's membership in the past, by far the best argument against one is because Costco is better,” said one Redditor.

Bottom line

cabuscaa/Adobe Sam's Club building in Brazil

Sam’s Club can help you keep money in your wallet in the long run, so you may have to ignore the things you hate if you really want to save money.

It’s also a good idea to check out the Sam’s Club mobile app to help you save time or get alerts about the latest deals for extra savings.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.