Once upon a time, if you weren’t a Sam’s Club member you could shop there using a guest membership or an invitation to shop. Unfortunately, those options are no longer available — at least not for club purchases anyway. But, there are still ways you can shop at Sam’s Club without a membership. Keep reading to find out how.
10. Visit the Pharmacy
You don’t need a Sam’s Club membership to buy prescription medications from Sam’s Club pharmacies. You can also take advantage of health screenings and immunizations as well. Plus, there are no non-member fees to pay. Do keep in mind, however, that you can’t check out at Costco without a membership in your name, so if you plan on shopping there as a non-member, you’ll need to tell the Costco employee at the door that you’re there for a prescription pick-up.
FYI, not all Sam’s Club locations have a pharmacy. To find out if your local Sam’s Club has one, give them a ring or go to their website and search the section titled “Services at your club.” If you don’t see the word “pharmacy” then you know your location doesn’t have one.
9. Visit the Optical Center
If you need an eye examination, you can head to your local Sam’s Club. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to purchase your glasses or contacts there if you’re a non-member. On the plus side, you will have your prescription information, so all you would need to do is take it somewhere else — be it another optical center or an online site like Zenni Optical — to get it filled. Just like not all Sam’s Club locations have a pharmacy, not all locations will have an optical center either. To find out if yours does, follow the instructions in the above section for finding locations with a pharmacy. Don’t forget that you also need to check to see if your insurance will be covered prior to the exam.
8. Buy Alcohol
Non-members can visit their local Sam’s Club to purchase alcohol. That’s because the sale of alcohol is so highly regulated that Sam’s Club and similar stores cannot restrict access to it regardless of a consumer’s membership status. In other words, the store has a public liquor license so it can’t prohibit the public from buying alcohol there. Keep in mind, though, that liquor laws vary by state, so you’ll need to double-check your state’s policy before heading to the Sam’s Club to pick up booze for your next get-together or a bottle of wine for dinner.
7. Eat at the Café
Non-members can grab a quick bite to eat at the Sam’s Club Café. Here’s just a sampling of some of the delicious goodies you can find on the food court’s menu:
-pizza (one slice plus a drink is just $2.50)
-all-beef hot dog and soda combo (for just $1.50!)
-sausage, onion, and pepper sandwiches
-cheeseburgers (including bacon cheeseburgers for just $2.99)
-southern-style chicken bites: Apparently these things are all the rage with customers, who say they taste just like Chick-Fil-A nuggets. You can get a half-pound of them for just $2.50! They’re made with 100 percent solid white meat chicken and are covered with a light, crispy breading that has a hint of dill.
6. Get a Complimentary Card
If you live with someone who’s a Sam’s Club member, you may be able to get a “complimentary card” or “household card.” It basically entitles you to a free membership. As a complimentary member, you can get regular member prices, and you’ll receive your own card so you won’t have to wait for the primary cardholder to go shopping. There can only be one free membership card per household, and the complimentary member must be at least 18 years old.
5. Shop with a Member
Another option similar to getting a complimentary card is to go shopping with a Sam’s Club member. All you have to do is accompany them on their next Sam’s Club shopping trip and toss items into their cart until your heart’s content. Of course you’ll want to pay them back for said items, unless of course they decide to be generous and pay for your stuff out of their own pocket. Either way you get to take advantage of all the perks Sam’s Club has to offer without the associated fees.
4. Get an Add-On Membership
If you want to go shopping on your own as opposed to going with a member, you could always ask a friend for an add-on membership. Sam’s Club Members may obtain up to eight Add-on Memberships for an additional fee $(40 for each Add-on) and Sam’s Plus Members may obtain up to sixteen additional Add-on Club-level Memberships for an additional fee ($40 for each Add-on). So, if there’s a chance your friend or even your employer has additional add-ons available, you could possibly take advantage of that.
3. Attend an Open House
According to an article published by Reader’s Digest, Sam’s Club holds an open house several times throughout the year. The idea is to attract non-members in the hopes of turning them into new members. Of course that doesn’t mean that you have to become a member. You can instead just take advantage of a day to shop there without any membership fees. To find out when the next open house is, you’ll need to sign up for email alerts on the Sam’s Club homepage or follow Sam’s Club on Facebook and keep an eye out for updates about upcoming open houses near you.
2. Shop Online
Perhaps the easiest way to shop at Sam’s Club without a membership is to shop online. There’s a catch, though (of course there is): You have to pay a 10 percent service fee above the listed price on all merchandise. Fortunately, if you live in California, South Carolina or Elmsford, NY, you’ll be exempt from said fee.
To get started shopping online, all you have to do is visit the Sam’s Club website and create a guest account. Your guest membership will only be active for 24 hours, though, so don’t take too long getting around to shopping once you create your account.
1. Get a Refund
If all else fails (which we’re sure it won’t), you can always pay for an annual membership, give it a trial run, and cancel it if you don’t see the value over time. According to 20 Something Finance, Sam’s Club has a very forgiving membership fee refund policy in which they will offer a full refund for the current annual membership at any time during the membership year if the customer isn’t satisfied. “You won’t even lose a pro-rated amount. This eliminates the risk of a ‘wasted’ membership fee. Don’t abuse it!,” 20 Something Finance said on its website.
Do you have any tricks for shopping at Sam’s Club without a membership? Share them with us in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!