12 Things You Should Never Buy at Sam’s Club

Shopping at Sam’s Club can be great for stocking up on bulk essentials. However, only some things offer the best value. Some items aren’t cost-effective when purchased there.

To create this list, we reviewed online shopping guides and public forums to assess the quality and value of items. We found a list of things you should avoid buying at Sam’s Club and categorized them for easy reference.


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A common misconception about lotions is that they are shelf-stable. In reality, they are not. An unsealed bottle lasts 12 to 24 months, but you should still check the end date on the bottle. If old lotion is not stored properly, bacteria build up inside the product. The lotion bottles at Sam’s Club are often stocked way past the manufacturing date. If you buy that, you cannot finish the whole bottle before it worsens.

Shampoo & Conditioner

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Much like body lotion, shampoos and conditioners also lose effectiveness with age. You should not buy the three-pack shampoo unless your entire household uses it. Conditioners purchased in bulk may expire over time, leading to bacterial contamination.

This can cause irritation, dryness, follicle damage, and hair loss.

Branded Clothing

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The middle section of Sam’s Club outlets is for clothing. These sections feature many branded clothing items. However, the items on sale are cheaper and of lower quality than the ones you would find in the brand stores. These clothes are not long-lasting, and you should not buy them.


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Diapers are necessary in every baby’s life and are available in abundance at Sam’s Club. However, the sheer number of diapers required for newborns makes them costly. While Member’s Mark Newborn diapers at Sam’s Club are at $0.16 each, there are better deals than this one.

Target’s Up & Up Newborn Diapers are only $0.14 per diaper, making them a more cost-effective choice.

Specialty Coffee

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Coffee tastes best when it is fresh. However, the coffee you find at Sam’s Club sits on the shelves for a long time. These pre-ground shelf-stable coffee tastes poor even though they last a long time. Sam’s Club has limited options for whole-bean coffee that lasts long and tastes good. If you must, buy specialty coffee from your local coffee shop or roaster.


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Regarding bacon, Kirkland Signature is at the top of the pile. It won a Consumer Reports Taste test as the best bacon brand in the 2010s. The bacon you get at Sam’s Club is not bad, but Costco’s bacon is better in quality and value. If you love the idea of a good, heavy breakfast, you should opt for Costco’s instead of Sam’s.

Greek Yogurt

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When you are out to buy Greek Yogurt, you will generally get better value for money at Walmart than at Sam’s Club. For example, at 11.6¢ per ounce, the Greek Plain Nonfat Yogurt at Walmart is much cheaper than at Sam’s Club. Sam’s Club should not be your primary choice if you are looking for cheaper options. Additionally, many find that the Greek yogurt from Walmart also tastes better.

Perishable Products in Large Containers

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You are on the right track if you wish to buy perishable products in bulk. Yet, the problem arises when you buy them in large amounts from single containers. If you don’t open them, these perishable food items have a long shelf life. Once you do, they last from a few days to a few weeks in the refrigerator. Thus, it would be best to not consider buying large containers for a gathering. A better alternative would be to buy the same product in many small containers.


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While Sam’s Club has a good selection of books on the shelves, it is always better to buy books online. With platforms like Kindle, buying physical copies has become a second choice. Even then, buying physical copies online is almost always cheaper. Unless the book is a must-have, you should walk past the book counter at Sam’s Club.


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For a retail chain, Sam’s Club has difficult policies when it comes to electronics. They have recently changed their policies to return in only 90 days. You can return only if the product has defects or issues. Moreover, Sam’s Club offers a limited range of electronic gadgets and products. Besides major holidays with sales, like Black Friday sales, Sam’s Club does not offer good discounts to consider buying.

Vitamins & Medicines

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Compared to Target, you have to pay less at Sam’s Club to buy vitamins and over-the-counter medicines. From a saving point of view, it is indeed a better option. However, there are important considerations to keep in mind. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) does not need vitamin expiration dates. The Brazilian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences found that 92% of vitamin C supplements lose concentration after 12 months of storage.

Gift Wrap

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Purchasing gift wrap in bulk at Sam’s Club during the holiday season might not be the best choice. Although it might seem like a good deal, gift wrap is costly. Buying them in large quantities often means ending up with more than you need. It could take over a year to use up a bulk purchase. You might find yourself stuck with the same designs long after you’re tired of them. If you prefer various wrapping paper designs, buying in bulk can lead to waste as unused rolls sit around.

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