Sam's Club Entertainment

From Bilbo
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2008-05-06

I just had a highly entertaining time at Sam's Club this morning. I used to use my parent's membership, which they dropped recently. My membership card finally expired since my last visit. So I got to the checkout and they said I had to get a new membership. That's reasonable enough. I prepaid for the membership at the checkout, then went to the customer service desk to register with Big Brother. They checked my ID, etc. Then they asked for my phone number. {cackle}

Let me pause the story to say that I think it's absurd that so many businesses seem to think there's this requirement that I spend $40/month for the convenience of people I don't want to talk to. My phone is for my convenience, not the convenience of Best Buy or Sam's Club. If it's that important to them, they should pay my phone bill. Also, Wal-Mart doesn't need my phone number, so why would Sam's Club?

I responded by saying I don't have a phone. It's a great way to refuse because it side-steps any need to justify yourself. Their options are to either accept your answer or call you a liar. It's a terrible idea to tell a customer he's a liar. The girl working was nice enough, but had to ask her supervisor what to do. I was polite, since they're really just following corporate procedure, but firm. Her supervisor was really nasty about it, though, as if *I* was the one being unreasonable. (I should've worn my blue-tooth ear piece.) She said, "How about a work number, or school, or a friend?" I said, "Well work is a shared line, not for personal use, and how would you like your friend to give out your phone number?" I can't believe she actually suggested I abuse a friend's phone. I should've asked for her phone number since she was asking for mine; she would've been cute if she were in a good mood. Then I could've specified her own phone number for my card.

Uncertain what to do, she looked back at the computer for a minute, then looked at me expectantly, and I gave her my nicest "you gotta be kidding me" gesture. Finally she threatened, "Well I can fudge it, but you'll only be able to use cash.", so I asked "What about Discover Card?" and she said "That's okay too.". I said, "I never use checks anyway, so that's fine.".

So then the first girl tried entering 701-000-0000 in the computer, and {gasp} it needed a supervisor's override because the phone number was already in use! What a shock; I'm not the first one to get a membership without a phone number.

If it came down to it, I would've just accepted a refund and walked away without a membership. I don't need to shop there that badly. It would've been fun to think about them having to put away all the stuff I'd just bought.