I am a "member" of Sam's club. I am a member because my current employer pays for the membership, and I can't seem to stay away from 8 pound jars of peanut butter.
I went to the east Wichita location this evening because I needed to purchase a mattress for Abe's bed.
On the way there, my wife called and told me to see if they had mattress pads available. We needed one for Abe's bed (twin size) and a replacement one for our bed (king size).
So, I walk to the side aisle where the mattresses are, easy enough. My wife and I had already made a trip to this particular Sam's so she could pick out which mattress she wanted to buy for the kid's bed.
One of the aisles directly perpendicular to the mattresses contains the mattress pads. I think perhaps they plan this type of product placement INTO the store layout!
I looked for a twin size mattress pad. No luck. I figure that Sam's may not carry twin size mattress pads even though they carry three different types of twin MATTRESSES. Next, I looked for king sized mattress pads. I found three empty boxes. I figured that Sam's may, if the bulk gods are appeased, have more king sized mattress pads in some location 30 feet above my head. However, my eyesight is poor from years of eating government cheese (aisle 7).
So, I made a very poor bulk retail choice. I went in search of a "membership associate" to help me find a mattress pad. Did I mention this was a poor choice?
Amazingly, I find someone wearing a snazzy blue vest in the VERY NEXT AISLE! I politely query the fellow regarding his ability to help me procure the elusive mattress pad. His response (and I wish I would've used my phone to record the audio), "I'm not ALLOWED to go past this aisle. Try Customer Care." Not ALLOWED? Like one of Sam's bastard offspring is roaming the store just looking for an excuse to knock out your last 4 teeth with a ball peen hammer (set of six, aisle 14)?
Not wanting to tax my new friend's mental facilities with further questions, I slogged my way through empty boxes, fishstick samples, and polo shirts made in Belarus toward the member assistance counter.
There was one other poor searching soul there when I arrived, and three people behind the counter. After waiting for several minutes to be assisted in my search, I finally asked one of the random people milling around behind the counter if they could do a stock check for me on mattress pads.
One of the customer care associates grabbed a walkie talkie and bellowed into it for "Kevin". I believe her exact words were, "KEVIN! WE GOT ANY KING SIZED MATTRESS PADS??". Kevin, sounding exactly like one of the adults in a televised Peanuts cartoon, apparently advised her that they were in an endcap display at the end of the aisle I had so recently visited.
When I tried to tell the nice lady that I had already looked at the endcap displays on both sides of the aisle with the rest of the mattress pads as well as the adjoining two aisles, she dismissed me with a scowl and a grunt. She was bigger than me so I walked back to the mattresses, bought the one my wife had picked out, and drove home.
I sincerely wish we had a Costco in Wichita.