I just got bounced from Sam's Club.
For those of you who have been in solitary confinement for the past dozen or so years, Sam’s Club is not a topless bar as the name suggests but a Wal-Mart spin-off that charges you a $40 per year membership fee for the privilege of buying the same crap you can buy in Wal-Mart. This only works in a society where the citizens gladly pay a dollar a bottle for liquid refreshment that comes straight from their taps free for nothing.
The gig is that by buying the crap in gargantuan quantities, Uncle Sam passes the bulk savings on to you, the savvy club member. By the way, Sam is none other than Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart. He is dead, so I am not so sure I want to be a member of his club anyway.
Don’t go there to pick up a roll of toilet paper. If, however, you need a pallet of the stuff, enough to wipe every behind in Cleveland with enough leftover to supply an entire middle school on Mischief Night, then Sam’s is your kind of place.
I don’t buy into the club concept. Why should I pay forty bucks just to go shopping? It’s not like there are any other privileges that go with it or that it is prestigious. When was the last time you saw “Member of Sam’s Club” on someone’s resume?
The savings are not that terrific either. I do the grocery shopping in our household and generally frequent ShopRite. Prices there are usually on a par with or lower than those at Sam’s. They also let you buy without proving that you have never belonged to a labor union or been a member of the Democratic Party.
They take this club business seriously at Sam’s. When I went several months ago, I cleverly got in line behind a man buying just a pack of gum. An extremely large pack to be sure, but one pack nevertheless. Well, when they ran his card it seems it had expired. An executive meeting had to be called on the spot to decide whether to extend his club privileges to enable him to buy his gum. I, along with the twenty other people on line by now, was extremely relieved to see things go his way. As he left, he wore the dazed look of a man whose chewing gum had just cost him forty six bucks.
The other day Kathie asked me to stock up on some things there and to renew our membership. I disagreed, grumbled, complained and went to Sam’s.
No prob renewing the membership. The trouble came at check out. First, the woman ahead of me had a gigantic box of Depends, enough to soak up the entire output of a frat house after a kegger. The genius at the register holds the box up for all to see and says to me: “Are these yours?” Before I can answer, the woman snatches them from him. “They’re mine she says”, while skewering him with a homicidal glance.
I was next. I handed over my newly renewed membership card. He stared at the card and then at me. “Are you Kathleen Andersen?” he asked with a perfectly straight face. Now, the correct answer to this question would have been “yes”. I am sure he would have bought it. Instead, I said: “Why do you ask?” “Because this is her card,” he replied holding it up for my inspection. Sure enough, the card is in her name. Not only that, there is a picture of her on the card.
I have soloed to Sam’s on several occasions and never had a problem using the card. In fact, it was the first I realized that it was in Kathie’s name.
Also, what’s up with picture? Are they afraid that identity thieves are going to counterfeit Sam’s Club cards so they can corner the market on toilet paper?
Apparently that is the case. “You can’t use another member’s card,” the genius sneers.
“She’s my wife,” I respond. Management is called in and a conference takes place. Sadly, things do not go my way. I am not allowed to purchase the two hundred bucks or so of rock bottom priced bargains I have stacked on the counter. I am handed the card and summarily dismissed.
As I slink toward the door, a convicted Sam’s Club Cheat, I am heartened by the words of Groucho Marx who said: “I would never belong to a club that would have me as a member.”