Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sam's Club: a love/hate relationship

Today I once again survived a trip to Sam's Club! And I realized there are some things I love about the store, and others that drive me crazy! Because everything is in such large quantities there, we only go about once a month. But this means the cart total is pretty high each trip, usually around $200!
What we love:
1. The snack bar! If we go around lunch time, we can get hot dogs or pizza for the kids, and a salad for me, for around $5 total. It's nice to fill them up before doing the shopping.
2. The savings. We do save a lot there, especially on things like diapers, cleaning supplies, and canned/dry goods (and my husband's tobacco).
3. The selection. The produce and meat departments have much greater variety than the commissary or Food Lion, so I like to get something out-of-the-ordinary. Today we got mangoes!
4. The free samples. Especially at lunch time, it helps keep everyone happy.
5. The potties. Sophia like the "family restroom" because it has a toddler-sized toilet next to the regular size one. I think this is the highlight of her trip. She also likes how the super-fast hand dryers make her brother cry. Yeah, she can be mean.

And, what drives me crazy:
1. The huge sizes. I understand it's a warehouse, but who really needs a gallon jar of pickles? I want something bigger than the grocery store, or maybe a multi-pack. But I don't have a walk-in fridge at home!
2. No bags. There's no point to bagging, since everything is so big. But this makes me dread unloading the groceries by myself, since I have to make 10 trips to the car to carry it all.
3. The selection. I know, this was under the love list above. But sometimes there are no flavors or varieties to choose from. There is especially a lack of low-fat options. Also, many products are good deals, but only because the food is high quality. You can get better prices on a store-band elsewhere if you're just cooking something simple.
4. They don't take coupons or WIC vouchers. Granted, the products don't typically match the sizes listed on a coupon, but even if you find one that would apply, they don't accept ANYTHING. So I sometimes feel like I am missing out on good deals elsewhere.
5. I can't do all my shopping there. So we still have to make a short trip to a regular grocery store even when we've just been to Sam's. This feels counter-productive.

Anyway, we got our membership a year ago, and the #20 annual fee certainly seems to be worth it. So I will keep going every month. Just curious, do you shop around for good grocery deals? Or do you get everything in one place?

1 comment:

  1. We have a Sam's Club card too (we got it as a gift this year, so we are seeing how it goes!) and we do it much the same as you. We go about once a month to stock up on some of the things we use a LOT, but that does mean we have a bigger total at that trip. Other than Sam's, I try to shop around and use coupons - always looking for ways to lower our grocery bill!