Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Sam's Club Freak Out.

There is a principal in business you usually learn on the first day. It goes kinda like this - if a customer has a good experience they might tell a couple people... but if a customer has a BAD experience they will tell about 10 people. I'm guessing that more than 10 people will read this so I'm totally getting my money's worth.

We are done with Sams Club and will not renew our membership.

No, I don't care about their alleged human rights violations or how they wont give their part time employees health coverage. I just don't like them. I think their service is bad, I don't like their stores, and frankly, I never fell for the "better living thru walmart/sams club" marketing thing. And personally I think Sam Walton has done more to ruin small towns in this country than anything else ever has.

We have been teetering on the brink of do we/don't we renew the membership for a while now - its a long drive, the club renewal is about $40, and the prices arent even very good anymore. 

Right now the prices at Meijer are almost on par for what we buy at Sams...and if we just buy stuff at our local Giant Eagle grocery store not only do we get "gas perks" but the stores are closer and we have a better section.

The other day made the decision for us.

My husband, The Big Man, has had a business membership with them for over 10 years. I got added about a year ago (you can add one person for free - whoever you want) just in case we got separated and I ended up going without him (rarely happens).  I never carry the card tho because we are usually together. Sometimes I pay, sometimes he pays, we never even notice and normally its not a problem.

So just like normal, the other day we went and loaded up a cart and went to check out. He gave them his club card and I swiped my credit card. The checker asked to see my credit card. I gave it to her. She compared my personal credit card to the business Sam's Club card.

She: "It doesnt match"

"Well, my name is not "Mother's Cluckers Eggs-n-More Farm." I politely replied.

"But it has to match." She insisted.

Now I was insisting, "It does match, " I pointed to my husband, "It matches HIS name which is on the business account, same last name, same address, do you want my drivers license?"

Then she gave me that "You aren't a member you're just trying to get our cheap cat food" look.

And thats when it went down hill.

Honestly, I usually let things go. I don't terrorize servers at restaurants, I don't mind being in the trainee line at the bank, I'll sit quietly while it takes you 13 minutes to get in your car and get settled before you drive away from the only available gas pump...really there's not much that sets me off. I don't usually even care if you call me names. 

Call me childish and immature and I'll just mock you, call me fat/short/ugly/stinky and I'll probably just laugh, call me stupid and I'll probably just sneer while silently engineering a way to humiliate you in a room full of people.... but call me a thief and act like I'm trying to rip you off?

Them's fightin' words.

Now I might be short, have chicken poop on my shoes, and smell vaguely like goat pee... but I know more about credit card verification than most folks. So I know the issue wasn't about the credit card, or the processing, or that the club card needed to match the name on the credit card for it to work.

Since we used to go to Sam's club every couple of weeks and use his club card, my credit card I was sure it wasn't a Sam's Club system issue.

And my shiny platinum card with a fat credit limit wasn't anywhere near being maxed out.

So what we had here was Policy Polly - the Rules Nazi. That's right - "No soup for you!"

People like "Polly" and I rarely get along because usually its someone with a "big fish in a small pond" syndrome and for whatever reason - who knows why - I tend to get under the skin of people who think they are the boss of me.

And she just really got sideways with me with that crappy look.

So I got belligerent and loudly asked if I "really had to go all the way across the store and get a temporary card from customer service when I was trying to check out with MY husband when ALL THESE PEOPLE WERE STANDING HERE IN LINE?"

From somewhere a manager came running. I think she was about 12 years old.

She took one look at me (seething) and my husband (huge big redneck) turned and ran away.

Policy Polly said she'd go and get my membership verified.

We waited.

She came back and said it would be a few minutes because....

And that's when it happened.

The Big Man freaked out.

Not in the Steve Martin from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles in the car rental place freak out - but for him it was pretty bad. Without a doubt he is the most slow-to-wrath person I've ever met. For heavens sakes he puts up with me and I cant even bait him into a fight.

Poor Policy Polly chose the wrong time, the wrong day, and the wrong redneck to get all "no soup for you" on... especially when the checkout pad was flashing "Do you want to upgrade your membership?"

I think most of the store was holding their breath when he got to the part about making sure I had the amount credited back to my card.

Polly verily flew over that check stand to get the charge backed out of the system.

Our sad cart of cat food sat there forlorn and abandoned as he stormed out of the store with me trailing after him, running, trying to keep up.

We got to the truck and looked at each other.

And then we went to the Sam's Club gas station when we used HIS club card and MY credit card to fill up one last time before we drove away giving Sam Walton the finger.

Smell ya later, Sams...and no, we do not want to upgrade our membership.


Mary said...

Oh yea, you guys rule!!!! Good job for standing up for yourselves and the rest of us who have no backbone to do what you did. I think I've been to those same stores. I think we live in the same area. We stopped making that trek a long time ago, but alot of our friends still do. By the time you add up the fuel to get there and back, there is no savings. We buy as much as we can in bulk from a co-op.

Great blog. I'm going to send it to my sister and friends.
Maple View Farm

Kat said...

I cannot stand those "Nazi" Policy Polly, love to be over controll of you, even though they are ten years old people!!! Good for you guys!

Mr. H. said...

Good for you! Customer service stinks these days...

Beth of the Rocks said...

No more "customer is always right"!! I don't use Sam's and try to avoid Walmart if at all possible. And they HAVE ruined the little man with their made in China cheap - uh - "stuff" - and their chemically injected "grocery" offering. RRRRr

Had that problem at Lowe's once. Wrote a 3 page scathing letter to the CEO and got an apology and my stuff for free. I just wish my total had been in the 4 figures range instead of 2. *sigh*

Veggie PAK said...

Darn right! Don't take no crap from someone who wants your money! Make sure it was taken off your credit card bill when you get it. They can screw that up too!

There is no more customer service. It has turned into: "You'll put up with what we tell you and you'll like it or else!"

Rae said...

Right on! I would have laughed my ass off had I been in line behind you. Though, I haven't been in a Walmart or Sams Club in about 8 years.

Our only real run in with a soup nazi checker was at the local grocery store. We had a coupon for meat. No picture, nothing saying what kind of meat, just meat. My guy tried to use it for a package of chicken, and the checker tried to tell him that chicken wasn't "meat", it was poultry. LJ gave him a piece of his mind, including educating him that it was animal flesh, so it was meat. :)

The kid ran the coupon, rather than try to face down a 300lb 6'5" customer talking about animal flesh. Lol.

IanH said...

It seems everybody jumped onto the Walmart bandwagon. The effect? More products made offshore, inferior products and a significant loss of jobs in North America. Cheaper prices? not when you consider the higher unemployment. Did i mention the countless loss of local stores?
-=Not a Walmart fan=-

becky3086 said...

The manager needs to be fired. Good for you! Glad you wrote about it too.

Sara said...

When the hubby loses it, it is bad. What a bad experience. My work supplies me with a Sams card. I forget I have it and the prices never really compare lower.

Jill said...

Thank you! I've been waffling on a Sam's membership for some time now, do I want one or not? I do NOT!

Jill said...

Thank you! This settled the "do I want a membership" question for me. I'll save my $40, spend it in Amish Country on more bulk stuff and be happier with the service.

Love your blog, always nice to read what fellow Buckeyes are doing.

Anonymous said...

I Love It! Your great. Love your blog site.

small farm girl said...

Imagine me jumping up and down, clapping, and smiling like a fool!!!!I wished more people did this.

Ann from KY said...

Had a similar thing happen last year at a JC Penney store. Spent over 2 hours picking out modest clothing (yes, it was a real challenge to find modest clothing at Penney's) for my daughter to wear at church camp. They wouldn't let me pay for it because my hubby's name was on the credit card. Didn't matter if we called him, etc. or that we have been married over 30 years or that I have charged TONS of stuff with this card. We left and never came back. It was a huge deal to buy the new clothes as we usually are thrift shoppers; their loss, Kohl's gain!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Thanks Mary! You're just right, if it were convenient it would be one thing but to pay $40 a year AND drive up there? No way.

Yep, Kat - we still cant get over it. I mean, what if we had paid cash? Then what? Talk about missing the point.

Mr. H - its usually ME who freaks out... to see The Big Man loose it was epic. I probably would have peed my pants if he actually would have said, "you're messing with the wrong guy!"

BABL - yep, I just don't get it. We avoid them - except for the buckets, of course.

VPAK - you can bet your bottom dollar that I called my credit card company as soon as I got home. They had removed the charge but I'm still keeping my eyes open for any funny business.

Rae - I laughed about your story for 2 days. "Thats not meat its chicken".. oh golly.

IanH - I'm not a fan either. I grew up in a town where there were many small businesses...and they all eventually closed when walmart came to town.

Becky - the whole thing was ridiculous. Maybe if we would have bought $1000 worth of stuff.. but it was barely $100! "No soup" for us - and no membership for them!

Nope, Sara, especially if you have to drive. Not worth it anymore.

sewjillquilts - they might have been a day at one point but nope, not anymore. And thanks for reading. Yay Ohio people!

Thanks Anon, stop by anytime!

SFG - And I'm a darn fine letter writer when the occasion calls for it.

Ann - Kohls is better anyway!

David said...

Take your shoes off. Have a bourbon. Super megabox can pound sand sideways.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

i think there is a thing about a quiet man turned to wrath.... it was epic.
*thinks about bourbon* i believe i will!

Anonymous said...

Spot on. We would compare prices...yes, I'm one of those people you see walking through grocery stores marking down "price per 100, unit, lb., etc" and then compare them. Found that most times, our grocery store was the same or a little cheaper. I don't miss B.J.'s.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

yep, Cat, i have a little notebook also

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