By Chuck Woodbury, editor
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!)
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.