Most RVers who have been around 15 years or more recall the Good Sam Club as a vibrant organization that performed many useful services for RVers. It staged fun-filled national rallies that attracted big crowds. It published an informative magazine, Highways (now gone). And occasionally, it lobbied various legislatures on behalf of RV enthusiasts and their interests.
Then “The Profit” Marcus Lemonis came along. He has transformed the organization into essentially a discount club for Camping World and his recently acquired Ganders Outdoors stores, many of which are being rebranded as Gander RV.
GOOD SAM MEMBERS ($29 a year) still get 10% discounts at about 2,400 RV parks, and they can also pay for services like Roadside Assistance, Extended Warranties, Insurance, etc., all of which are available elsewhere without joining a club.
I received my membership renewal the other day and was surprised to see the organization now being billed as an “RV & Outdoor Club.” Buy a fishing reel at Ganders Outdoors and you’ll be invited to join the club for future discounts. No RV needed.
Then, a day later, I received an unsolicited email (spam) from Ganders Outdoors (owned by Camping World), where I have never shopped. It included the following description of the Good Sam Club. Remember, this was once a club for and by RVers.
Founded in 1966 on the premise of the Good Samaritan concept, the Good Sam Club unifies common bonds of shared passions and brings people with a willingness to help their fellow enthusiasts together. Whether it’s fellow anglers and boaters helping one another out at the launch, hunters gathering to help recover an animal, bikers making trail side repairs, or campers lending a hand to set up camp; the spirit of the Good Samaritan is alive in the outdoors.
Good Sam Club is committed to making your outdoor adventure — whether on the road, over trails, or on the water, a safer and more rewarding experience. By becoming a member of the Good Sam Club, you’re not only able to take advantage of exclusive savings, but you are part of our outdoor enthusiast family.
Further reading: A proposal for an organization that really would be for RVers, and only RVers.