By Dave Helgeson
Several months ago RV Travel ran an article announcing Good Sam Club CEO Marcus Lemonis would be launching a newly titled RV Magazine to replace its Trailer Life and MotorHome magazines for Good Sam members.
My wife and I have been members of the Good Sam Club since 1990. We converted to lifetime members in 2006, which has included a lifetime subscription to a Good Sam magazine. Like others, we have been awaiting our copy of the new RV Magazine. Having recently received a “Happy New Year” email from Good Sam with an offer to subscribe (for a fee) to the new RV Magazine, I figured it was time to reach out to Good Sam. I wanted to remind them that my wife and I were lifetime members and should be receiving a free quarterly edition of the new RV Magazine.
Free magazines for lifetime Good Sam members
Why a free quarterly edition, you ask? Most lifetime Good Sam members already know the answer, but here is the explanation for the rest of you.
For years, one of the major benefits of paying to become a lifetime Good Sam member was a lifetime subscription to Highways Magazine, which was published quarterly. When Highways Magazine was discontinued in 2014, Lemonis himself extended the lifetime subscription by offering lifetime members “four free” (quarterly) issues of Trailer Life or MotorHome Magazine. As a travel trailer owner, I chose Trailer Life, which I have been receiving quarterly free of charge since.
When do we get the new magazine?
To find out when to expect our new magazine, I first reached out to “Marcus” via the “email me” at the MarcusVIP@goodsam.com “If You Are Not Happy, I’m Not Happy” link. The following response arrived – surprisingly not from Marcus: “Thank you for your time and email. I do apologize, because the subscription was tailored for the MotorHome/Trailer Life magazines, this has been discontinued for the new magazine. I apologize for this inconvenience.”
In responding, I pointed out that my lifetime subscription had been honored from Highways to Trailer Life magazines. I questioned why it should not be continued with the latest replacement, RV Magazine. I mentioned that surely it cost Good Sam no more to produce and mail the new magazine than the past magazines. In response, I was referred to the disclaimer on the Good Sam website that states “Benefits are subject to change.” Wow, dismissed without responding to my question!
Would a Good Sam member get respect on Facebook?
Next, I reached out on the Good Sam Facebook page, thinking lifetime members might get a little more respect there. I wrote, “As a Good Sam lifetime member will I receive the new RV Magazine in place of the discontinued Trailer Life Magazine I received in the past as part of my membership?” Good Sam replied, “Hi Dave! Go ahead and give us a call at 866-205-7451, we can help with that!”
Feeling a bit more hopeful that Good Sam was willing to honor its commitment, I called the number provided. A nice lady (who I will not name to avoid jeopardizing her job) promptly answered. After explaining my situation, she clearly understood and agreed with my line of reasoning. Placing me on hold while she checked with her supervisor, she quickly came back on the line. She was surprised and disappointed to learn Good Sam would not honor its lifetime subscription with the new magazine. She suggested I call the Marcus VIP help line, which she referred to as the “complaint line”!
More online research on Good Sam members
Further online research revealed questions raised by paid annual subscribers to Trailer Life or MotorHome Magazine about the replacement magazine. Following are responses from Logan Zoot, presumably employed by Good Sam:
- “RV Magazine will replace our legacy publications, Trailer Life & MotorHome”
- “As a loyal subscriber, beginning January 2021, you will receive RV Magazine in place of Trailer Life/MotorHome for the length of your remaining subscription.”
- “You’ll receive the same number of issues you would have with the previous publication.”
I did reach out to Logan Zoot, asking if my lifetime subscription to the magazine would be honored. I haven’t heard back.
My take on the whole situation
My wife and I became a lifetime Good Sam member when we were offered to upgrade to a lifetime membership. I recall it was many times the cost of an annual membership, but we figured it was worth it. So we signed up. I reasoned the club needed quick cash to make an acquisition. Where better to raise it than from your members. (This was 10 years before Camping World went public.)
After signing up, we received our lifetime membership card and a lifetime member decal for our RV. Like clockwork, we began receiving quarterly magazines.
Fast forward to today, when there’s another change in magazine names – a “replacement” magazine, according to Good Sam’s Logan Zoot. And with the change, it appears to me that CEO Lemonis has discontinued the magazine subscription to lifetime members as promised when I joined. By the way, a lifetime membership to the Good Sam Club now costs $399.
What does Good Sam Club get out of this?
How much does Good Sam stand to net out of this? I reached out to multiple sources at Good Sam to determine how many lifetime members are no longer being mailed their lifetime magazine subscription. When I asked how large of a windfall this would be for the company, they sent the following response: “That is not something I or anyone would know.” Funny! I felt like responding with, “Then how do you know which members to send membership renewals to or not?” But I figured, why bother.
Since Good Sam is unwilling to share, that leaves you and me to speculate.
As you have likely deduced by now, for me it’s no longer about the magazine at this point, but being sacrificed to Lemonis’ obsession to become “The Profit” at the expense of club members. Sadly, this is a far cry from the selflessness shown by the Biblical Good Samaritan that Good Sam was founded on.
Thank you for reading and letting me vent.
EDITOR’S NOTE: RVtravel.com editor Chuck Woodbury reached out to Marcus Lemonis at his personal email address, asking for an explanation about this. Lemonis did not respond.