Good Sam hits 2 million members: Lemonis lays on the verbal poo poo

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By Chuck Woodbury, editor
EDITORIAL
The writing in italics are my comments.
The Good Sam Club, once a thriving RV club with active local chapters, a superb magazine, national rallies, and a staff that did more than just sell things, has hit two million members. In this celebratory video Chairman and CEO Marcus Lemonis touts the occasion as if he really cares about the members (who he once referred to as “marketing tools”).

“As you may know,” he begins, “Good Sam is the most important part of our company.” (No, I don’t know that and I don’t believe you for one second!)


Lemonis on “Mad Money.”

A LITTLE BACKGROUND
Earlier this month, on CNBC’s “Mad Money” program, Lemonis said, “At the end of the day, we are an RV company first and foremost, and our number one asset are our customers that sit in our Good Sam file.

He goes on to describe those in this file as “people who want to save money on campgrounds, camping, hunting and fishing equipment, but they also want to buy roadside assistance. . . . they want to get a warranty, they want to get a credit card, we sell all those affinity products. So as people walk in the front door, those are fresh sets of eyes. . . to be able to sell the products to.”

OKAY, BACK TO THIS VIDEO
Lemonis continues, “In 1966, Good Sam was founded. . . with one premise. . . breeding this Good Samaritan attitude where we are taking care of our neighbors, giving back.” He adds, “The most emotional part of my journey in the RV business has been meeting Good Sam members and hearing their stories.” (These are the names in the file, right?)

“And yes,” he says, “they do join the Good Sam Club for the discounts at campgrounds and at Camping World, but more important, they join it to be part of a bigger community, something that really stands for something.” (Oh, Marcus, the poo poo is getting thick).

So, he says, drop on by your local Camping World, Gander Mountain or Overton’s retail stores by Sept. 30 to celebrate — “take advantage of exclusive deals and coupons, enjoy free popcorn, spin to win prizes and more.” And while you’re at it you might want to drop some cash.

Okay, call me what you wish for my negative attitude about this, but I think his talk is a bunch of BS. Since Lemonis took over the club, its monthly magazine is gone, the national rallies are gone, and there is absolutely no activity anymore to lobby Congress or state legislatures to enact laws to benefit RVers. And, sadly, many, if not most of the local chapters are gone or dying because the aging members could no longer make it to meetings or they died. Our own survey a few months ago of more than 3,100 Good Sam members revealed that an itty bitty 4 percent joined for social reasons.

So, Marcus, they really didn’t join to be, as you say, “part of a bigger community, something that really stands for something.” You know what the club really stands for? Discounts and making you money!

Here, our readers reported, is why they joined the club:

•Discounts at RV parks: 40 percent.
•Discounts at Camping World: 27 percent.
•Member benefit (road service, insurance, warranty, etc.): 23 percent.
•To participate in a local chapter of the club: 2 percent.
•To attend rallies: 2 percent.
•Other: 5 percent.

Watch the video, but be careful to control your gag reflex. 

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Earl Irons

Chuck when are you going to organize a new RV club ?

Steve C

I just let my GS membership expire, and have no intention on renewing as long as Lemonis is at the helm (besides…he said he didn’t want my business anyway). I have found that most parks who give a GS discount offer the same discount to AAA, Escapees, or any of the other clubs out there. Camping World OCCASIONALLY has decent prices–especially their closeout sales–but I have found that, in most cases, the DISCOUNT price at CW is still higher than what I would get at any other regular retailer….

ChipFL

Just cancelled my automatic renewal for Good Sam Roadside Assistance. I am going with FMCA. Good riddence Lemonis! MAGA!

James Y. Gochnauer

As a Lifetime Good Sam member, the Pilot/Flying J discount is all the benefit I get. Yesterday I was doing an online survey for the Good Sam club and got stuck on question 6. What percent of camping do I camp at a Good Sam park? (or something like that). Since I have never been to a Good Sam park the option of ‘never been’ was not included in the survey. This means the results of the survey will only show that members at some point camp at Good Sam parks.

Gerri Lilly

Have had Good Sam Roadside Assist for at least 15 years. Our tow dolly experienced bearing problems and could not be driven. Called Good Sam and was told it was not covered. Called FMCA and they sent out a tow truck to take the dolly to a repair shop. Looked at my contract with Good Sam and tow dolly is supposed to be covered!

Diane M

Dear Chuck – Better watch your back. Lemonis may be planning a hit on you!

Terry M

Did not renew and sent year for free, that’s how they are getting to the two million mark. As most companies go today, not what it used to be. Was about the camper, now about their money.

Roy Ellithorpe

I’m certainly not a defender of camping world, but I am a huge defender of honesty.
The “shop supplies” charge, however greasy, is charged at Every service shop I have used in recent memory. I relate it to the DOC fee that car dealers try to charge.

Booneyrat

Things were a lot different in 1966 when Good Sam was founded and for years it worked quite well. Then along came greed and it’s been downhill ever since.I had a bad run in with Camping World in Cedar Falls,Iowa when they sold me a lemon.I can not bad mouth them enough now,or warn others to stay away from the lying crooks.Buyer beware.

John

Yes the poo poo is rising from greedy Marcus. I have not renewed my Good Sam membership, but I am still counted as one of the two million. If Good Sam would get back to its roots I may join again.

While I am at it. I have been a long time member of FMCA but I will not be renewing my membership because it has also turned into a greedy organization. FMCA needs to return to its roots also.

Both of these organizations are in it for how much money a few can reap from the rest of us. The only true representation an RVer has anymore is rvtravel.com. Keep up the good work Chuck.

Jeff

GREED and DISHONESTY is what Drive Lemonis! He continues to promote Camping World and his other RIP off Companies all in the name of a QUICK BUCK!

I am a LIFETIME member of Good Sams and enjoy the benefits it provides. I RARELY shop at Camping World or any other of Lemonis’ companies. I will not spend any of my hard earned money, just to make Lemonis more rich!

RVers who read this post should not buy anything from Camping World (especially an RV).

That’s my 3 cents worth!

Angry RV owner

Our motorhome developed an engine problem bringing about a “check engine” light in the dashboard. We were evacuating because of Hurricane Florence two weeks ago. When the light came on, it was obvious, from the think black diesel exhaust spewing from the tailpipe, I needed an engine analysis. Fortunately, there was a large Camping World repair center very close. Anyway, the dealership ended up doing an inspection and using the OBD II realized the scope of the work was greater than their service dept. could handle. My reason for saying this was the billing. I was charged fairly for the work done, except there were two codes added at the end of the bill – one for $20 for shipping and handling and the other for $52.20 for shop supplies. I asked for an explanation and was told they couldn’t explain it nor could they remove it from the invoice – the mandate to put these two charges (on all repair invoices!) came directly from corporate headquarters. This is pure and simple fraud.

Onwego

I have only 4 words for Mr. Lemonis, whose like I’ve seen many times in 4 decades in the search and recruitment business (does the name Bob Nardelli ring a bell?): Family. Motor. Coach. Association.

Merrily

I, too, bought my membership some decades ago, like Brucein AZ, lifetime membership!! My parents joined and belonged to a GS RV Club that did “good things” type of community service!! I drove them as they got older to national rallies and there was good educational value! So later when I bought my own RV I joined as a lifetime member and since, Lemonis has destroyed that whole aspect of Good Samaritan! ONLY now it is anything for bucks for him!! I once called for a Good Samantha sticker (they used to have them, along with Good Sam stickers), NO MORE 🙁 I shop the clearance shelves and use their clean bathrooms on my travels without my rig 😀

Roy

We only keep the GS card active for the gas discount and the CG discounts. When they go … we go .. and we may go before that. I’m still upset with his politicizing the RV world with his ‘if you .. [snip] … we don’t want you to shop here’ comments.

The real upside, IMO, is that when/if the RV market takes a nose dive for a while due to a blip in the economy, it will be CW that will suffer first and the largest. Their sales lots are bulging with over-priced, sub-standard quality product.

Jeff Arthur

I’m with you Chuck,

But then again I’m watching ceo ‘s and middle management destroying any kind of customer trust.
These are sad times . I remember a time when our government protected consumers against manufacturers making claims they couldn’t back up. Now all it requires is the ability to SELL it.
Reminds me of recently speaking to a older campground host after asking if that new heavily advertised antenna that they had worked well . She said no and that most everything they have bought in the last 10 years has been a disappointment.

Benny H Smith

Chuck
I am and will continue to be a proud member of RVtravel. We share similar views regarding poor quality pushed as good with prices not in line with what you get. However when it comes to Good Sam & Camping world you may be off base. There may have been a time when it had a community feel but not in my RV experience. I joined Good Sam for exactly the reasons stated. Good Sam is a buyers club. The largest in the RV world. That is how I saw it when I joined long before Mr. Lemonis purchased it. As a member of this buyers community before and after his taking the helm; I have seen needed improvement in customer service at Camping World stores. The response and follow up when I needed a tow in snowbound NC 2018 was outstanding. Good Sam is even better now for the reasons I joined and from your list others are members for similar reasons. Now fraud from RV sales side may be where your pen is needed. And good arguments there have helped me and others. But like in many things the broad brush is wrong and almost always unproductive. Attacking where none is warranted weakens your impact when it is needed. In this case your arguments were not in keeping with my experience and I am sure others as well.

Darrel

The only reason I am still a Good Sam member is to keep the Pilot/Flying J fuel card active.

If RV Travel can come with the same fuel card, I’ll leave Good Sam and “join” RV Travel with equivalent annual dues.

Bob

One of the reasons Good Sam membership may be on the rise is Marcus Lemonis is giving free 1 year memberships along with a $10 credit toward any purchase. This is what I received a couple of weeks ago. Hey – I will take it. But that does not mean that I approve of his sales tactics.