Workers reveal what it's really like to work at Sam's Club

When you walk into a Sam's Club to do your bulk shopping (and of course, indulge in a few delicious samples), do you take notice of the people working there? It's easy to take them for granted as they're climbing ladders to get you the last bulk case of coffee or checking your receipt at the door, but what's their day like as an employee? 

Every Sam's Club is different, but there are some worker experiences that seem to be pretty universal. There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes that the public doesn't know about, and once you do know, you might appreciate those people in the blue vests just a little bit more. 

Whether you're thinking of applying for a job at this major warehouse store chain founded by Sam Walton, or if you're just curious about what it's like to be employed by Sam's Club, we have the answers. Here's a look at what former and current workers are saying about what it's like to work at Sam's Club.

Sam's Club workers often have to handle a lot of tasks at once

When it comes to Sam's Club, most employees never know what kind of work they'll be doing from one minute to the next.

According to a lengthy post from an alleged Sam's Club worker on Reddit, there are several different managers at Sam's Club on duty at one time, and they often all assign different tasks to the same worker in the same time frame, causing a lot of stress and confusion. In fact, the poster lovingly referred to the resulting chaos as a "garbage fire." 

EOther employees from other store locations vouched for the truth of this post. They say employees are often given assignments in departments they are not used to working in, and often resort to taking sick days just to get a break from the madness for a bit.

Is this different from any other retail job? Maybe, or maybe not. But it sounds like it's what you can expect from Sam's Club.

Understaffing is common at Sam's Club and can cause huge problems

Multiple threads for Sam's Club employees on Reddit mention that one of the biggest challenges of working at Sam's Club is under-staffing. If you've ever been to a Sam's Club, you know these stores are massive – and workers often find themselves handling an entire huge department by themselves. 

Many of the stores are already understaffed, so when someone goes on vacation or calls in sick, chaos ensues. Several workers complain that they're doing the work of 10 people and only getting paid for one, thanks to all of the call-ins and general lack of employees. 

A new system has been put in place by management to cut down on the amount of sick and personal days workers take, but for some this only serves to add more stress, since the ones who truly need a break can't take a mental health day if needed.

Most Sam's Club stores won't hire workers under 18

If you're looking for a part-time job to take on while in high school, you should look elsewhere. 

According to Sam's Club workers, the warehouse chain doesn't typically hire any minors at all. Others say that people under 18 may be able to work as cart collectors outside, but are unable to do anything else in the store. One person even commented that these young cart workers aren't even really allowed to come into the store at all, which could be brutal in cold weather.

Working in retail is a rite of passage for many teenagers, and is often their first step into the world of working adults. Other stores will hire workers under the age of 18, but when it comes to Sam's Club, only full-fledged adults are allowed. 

Sam's Club workers hate asking you to sign up for a credit card

If there's one thing that really irks us about shopping at Sam's Club (and a lot of other stores), it's that the cashier always tries to talk you into signing up for a store credit card. It's a hassle, and chances are, if you don't have one already, you don't want one (or at least you're not looking to sign up for one right then and there at the checkout counter). Before you start to feel angry with the cashier for pressuring you, though, you should know one thing: they hate this part of their job, too.

According to several reviews on Indeed, Sam's Club cashiers can't stand forcing customers to listen to their spiel about upgrading their membership or getting a Sam's Club credit card. 

One current employee even goes so far as to say that management puts selling these upgrades and cards above the satisfaction of their customers, which leads to an environment in which employees feel more like bullies than people who are helping shoppers.

Sam's Club has repeatedly tried to make employees work for free

If there is one thing workers should never have to stand for, it's not being paid for their work. Unfortunately though, this seems to be almost common practice at Sam's Club and its parent company of Walmart, as over the years many workers have reported they have been made to work overtime with no pay.

A 2002 article in the The New York Times described how workers in both stores in multiple states were often asked to stay past quitting time to help clean up the store — and were sometimes locked in by managers even after they had clocked out and were not allowed to leave until the store was spic and span.

This type of treatment has resulted in several large, class-action lawsuits against the Walmart corporation in recent years, including one in California that involved workers being denied lunch breaks, and one in Pennsylvania in which workers were forced to work up to 12 hours of unpaid overtime per month. 

As recently as 2018, a suit was started that alleged Sam's Club time clocks wouldn't accept time punches if the worker was clocking in or out more than 15 minutes before or after their scheduled shift, resulting in even more unpaid time. 

Sam's Club isn't the best place for workers' mental health

You know that you've found yourself in a toxic work environment if you almost always feel mentally and physically drained at the end of the day. 

Sadly, many Sam's Club workers feel this way about their job according to threads on Reddit. According to their posts, many employees feel as if they are asked to do too much, and are being pulled in too many different directions at the same time, and they feel as if they are not being heard by their bosses if they try to discuss the issue.

Several Sam's Club workers have had to use sick days just to get a mental break from the place, and others say they're considering quitting after just a few months, explaining that no matter how badly they could use the money, dealing with the work environment is just not worth it. 

An alarming amount of alleged Sam's Club workers on Reddit report that working at Sam's Club has either activated an anxiety disorder or made an existing one worse. One even says that "the whole company is a dumpster fire of depression and dysfunction." 

Management doesn't always have workers' backs at Sam's Club

One of the biggest complaints from current and former Sam's Club employees on Indeed is that the managers are unreliable and, at times, even cruel. 

One alleged merchandising floor team leader at Sam's Club says the manager plays favorites, giving better shifts to certain workers and generally just being nicer to some people than others — a claim that is backed up by other similar reviews.

The most common complaint about Sam's Club managers, though, is that they just plain don't listen to their employees. Many workers say they feel their managers simply don't care about them, which doesn't create a lot of trust in the workplace.

To make things even worse, some posters claim managers won't accept sick notes from doctors, resulting in workers getting punished or possibly even fired for being ill.

There's a lot more to the Checkout Supervisor job at Sam's Club than you think

According to a discussion on Reddit, the most underappreciated position at Sam's Club is Checkout Supervisor. The Checkout Supervisor (COS) is responsible for working the front end of the store, making sure that everything goes smoothly in the checkout lanes. 

What most people don't realize, however, is that there is a whole lot more to this position than just making sure all the items make it into customers' carts without incident. In fact, according to posters on Reddit, the COS is the go-to person for almost any problem that arises during the working day, and these employees end up filling in for numerous different departments and even working as a cashier themselves. They run around playing gopher for other departments, they work the door checking membership cards and receipts, and they act as the department head — even when it isn't their job. Many claim to not even get lunch breaks.

Unfortunately, all of this work isn't just unappreciated by customers, it is unappreciated by the COS' co-workers as well, with some of them even taking to Reddit to claim that COS is an "easy job," when the reality seems to be quite diffirent.

Handing out samples at Sam's Club can be pretty boring

One of the great joys of shopping at Sam's Club is that you have the chance to sample food. Sample ladies (and sample men!) set up carts around the store and cook up delicious treats for you to try, which is pretty darn awesome. 

It might not be as awesome for those handing out the samples though, though, as they tend to get really bored. According to a first-hand report by a sample worker named Jan on Yes and Yes, the hardest part of the job is standing in one place for three hours straight, with only one (unpaid) 30-minute break. 

To make herself less bored, Jan would do things like see how long she could stand on one foot or rearrange and count her remaining samples. She would also put her gear in alphabetical order, or read the labels on all the items nearby.

It's worth noting that the sample servers don't actually work for Sam's Club, but instead for a company that contracts with them. Nevertheless, their days are still spent inside of Sam's Club locations. 

There have been several documented cases of discrimination against Sam's Club workers

Alleged unpaid overtime isn't the only shady thing happening at Sam's Club — there have also been multiple reports of employees being discriminated against while working there. 

In 2017, a transgender woman filed a lawsuit because she was called "thing" and "it" when she began transitioning while working at a Sam's Club store in North Carolina. She was then allegedly fired when she complained about this terrible treatment, which led to her suing the company for both monetary compensation and to force them to put stricter regulations in place to keep employees from harassing others like her.

A year later, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also sued the marketing services company that provides food demonstrators at Sam's Club because of their treatment of disabled employees. According to the report, disabled employees such as food demonstrators were not allowed to sit down during shifts that were several hours long, in spite of health issues that made it extremely difficult to stand for long periods of time. That employee wasn't directly employed by Sam's Club, but they did work for the company contracted by Sam's Club to send workers.

Around Thanksgiving, Sam's Club workers get a free turkey

In spite of all the other things we said here, working at Sam's Club isn't all bad. In fact, there are a few perks here and there worth mentioning, like the free turkeys handed out in November so that workers can have one for Thanksgiving dinner. 

According to a recent conversation on Reddit, this is a fairly new tradition, and some suspect that it is a way to keep morale up in this busy holiday time of year. The thread was initially started after the end of a one-day sale to congratulate all the workers who made it through what turned out to be a 12-hour shift for some. If those people don't deserve a free turkey, we don't know who does! 

One commenter actually compared the passing out of free turkeys to President Eisenhower making sure all his troops in World War II got a Thanksgiving dinner to try to make up for the horrors of war, though... so make of that what you will.