Sam's Club Absolutely Must See Your ID For One-Day Pass; Can't Say Why

Claudia is a Costco member, but when Sam’s Club advertised a one-day shopping pass in her local paper, she went to see what Sam’s had to offer. What the ad didn’t mention was that a photo ID would be needed to get the pass from the store’s customer service desk. Which is interesting, since you can actually print a pass from the Sam’s Club web site, presumably without holding your driver’s license up to the screen.



I received an advertising pamphlet from Sam’s Club in last Sunday’s newspaper, titled “Try Us Free .” The front page said “Visit the Spring Taste of Sam’s Club – non-members welcome. Shop with no upcharge.”

As a long-time Costco shopper, I’m pretty happy with my Costco membership but since Sam’s Club is closer to my house, I decided to give it a try.

When I got to the store I grabbed my debit card (knowing I’d probably buy something) but locked my purse in the car. At the door I was directed to go to the customer service area, into a line with a sign that read “One Day Pass.” So I did, and waited quite a considerable length of time because the person in front of me was signing up for a membership and had to do something on another computer screen, then pay at another one – whatever they were doing, it took a while,.

Finally, I got to the counter, and asked for the one-day membership and the CSR told me he just needed to see a valid photo ID. Mind you, I’d left that in my car. I told the CSR I didn’t have one on me and he told me that there was “absolutely nothing” he could do unless I had a valid photo ID.

So, instead of turning around, going back to me car, getting my ID and returning to the store, only to stand in line yet again, I left.

The dilemma is this: why should I have to show my ID to anyone at Sam’s Club – unless I was either buying alcohol, or I decided to sign up for a membership?. What in the world do they need my driver’s license for? Were they going to run a DMV report and find out if I had any traffic citations?

Second, I re-read the 6 page pamphlet, and nowhere on it did it state that in order for a non-member to actually shop at the store they would need to provide photo ID to get a one-day pass. In fact, it didn’t mention anything about the one day pass. All it said was “non-members welcome.”

It may seem like a minor thing to some people, but I am wary about handing over my personal information to just anyone. If Sam’s Club had a really, really good reason they needed to see it, I may have reconsidered. But let’s face it – they didn’t.

Long story short, I’m sticking with Costco.

That’s the thing, stores. Unless Claudia looks younger than 18 there’s no immediately obvious reason why Sam’s would need to see her ID.