Etna Caldera




Samís Clubís Personal Service


     We recently received the annual renewal notice for our Samís Club membership. My wife was appalled by its $100 cost, an increase of $55 over the previous last yearís $45 total annual fee for my 2-card business membership of 20+ years standing. The renewal bill also noted the addition of a free personal shopper and free home delivery as new perks that would now be included with the new Plus membership wwe're apparently being forced into as business memberships are no longer offered by Samís Club.

     Perhaps having someone else do your grocery shopping for you is a popular option these days but one which would probably cause my wife to cease shopping at Samís Club entirely if it were ever mandated. For her, one of the primary advantages of shopping in Sam's large, well-stocked grocery department is being able to pick and choose her own produce and browse the weekly meat counter specials. We would probably also never avail ourselves of the free home-delivery service, another new perk offered as part of the new Plus memberships.

      Originally, the most persuasive argument for spending more on a business membership rather than Sam's Club's standard offering was my wifeís ability to begin shopping at 8 AM  rather than waiting until 10 oíclock, the store's standard opening time; the only one available to shoppers with standard memberships. I really donít think that single perk, the only one that really matters to us, should cost $55, although not accepting Sam's exorbitant repricing would seriously crimp my wifeís normal shopping routine with her twin sister every other Saturday and their combined $500 + grocery expenditure every 2 weeks.

     That didnít sound like very good for business to me and, thankfully, neither did it to the customer service supervisor I finally managed to speak to this morning. I had spoken to 2 previous customer service representatives before I was finally able to speak with a supervisor After listening patiently to my repeated explanation, and in deference to my 20+ year patronage of Samís Club, this supervisor. graciously offered me a free one-year extension of my current membership, including my wifeís treasured early store access! Our problem was solved for now.

      Since restructuring the membership tiers at Samís Club has been such a recent endeavor, perhaps they should consider restoring the former tier of business memberships. Both my wife and I agree an annual fee of $60 would be an acceptable increase from the previous $45 for a business membership to the the tier also previously well-accepted by the IRS for true business purposes. An additional class of Plus memberships for seniors at $50 with the new free personal shopping and free home delivery, both very valuable perks for older consumers, would be an extremely welcome addition at for those 62 and older, a large percentage of the population here in Pittsburgh. I'd also be willing to bet that would be very good for business too!





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