By Chuck Woodbury
I was browsing through some really old issues of RVtravel.com and came across this news item about the Good Sam Club from March 17, 2002.
That was more than 17 years ago. That’s before Marcus Lemonis came along in 2006 and began remaking Good Sam into a discount club for Camping World and later, Gander Outdoors (quickly evolving into Gander RV). Before 2006, the Good Sam RV Club really was an RV club.
Under Lemonis’ leadership it has gradually morphed from its original mission to serve RVers into aggressively hawking products and services to them including RVs themselves. The club no longer has a big national rally or even regional rallies, no member magazine, and does virtually nothing to benefit RVers that doesn’t benefit Lemonis and his gang more. The club has very few local chapters left, and those that remain are dying along with their aging members.
Now, the latest development: Lemonis no longer even includes the world “RV” in some descriptions of the club. Here is how it is described in a recent email from Gander RV.
If you read that statement carefully, you realize it’s just a bunch of meaningless mumbo-jumbo gobbledygook.
And so, at RVtravel.com we officially bid farewell to what was once America’s largest club for RVers, one that even though it was from the get-go a “for-profit” business, devoted significant effort toward improving the RVing experiences of its members.
We will no longer include Good Sam in our directories of RV clubs, and will typically mention it only in historical references. In its present form, the Good Sam Club focuses on selling insurance, extended warranties, roadside assistance programs and offers a 10% discount at Camping World and Gander RV. An annual membership ($29) provides members with a 10% camping discount at more than 2,400 RV parks across the country, which is likely the main benefit to most members.
Most of the benefits are available elsewhere for the same price or less.