After dropping Ian off at his Nana's Friday Ki, Devii and I headed off to Little Rock to the Sam's Club for the Holiday Taste of Sam's event. I had read about it on one of my fave blogs* and thought it sounded like fun.
We were off to a great start being greeted with orange frosted cinnamon rolls when we first walked in - the girls loved those.
Being girls natch we needed to freshen up- walking past the checkers everything looked good, they were pretty full with lines but moving along and the restroom was clean and spacious- so far, so good.
As it was a bit before 5 and we knew the event ended at 6 we decided to hit the food first for the samples.
They had a bit of ham left, but no mashed potatoes (not the sweet mashed potatoes as it shows in the ad)- disappointing but things happen.
Moving on to the cheese- now, I always buy fancy cheese as they have great deals and we're kind of snobs about it. ;-) We did buy the most delicious "cheesecake" which was 3 layers, Asiago with pesto, Asiago with roasted red pepper and Parmesan. Really yummy- but we wouldn't have known if we weren't adventurous with cheeses as the only sample available was a chedder. Yep, shocked me too just a plain orange cheddar.
There were other cheese packages out there but the lady serving said when someone (not us, there were quite a few people around the station) asked to try the brie- she's on break and kept putting out cheddar even though there was a generous amount already on the table- more than triple the amount needed for the people milling around.
The brie, btw we also bought as it is under $6 for a pound wheel and you just can't get it cheaper than that. It's not the best brie in creation but for the price it is a fabulous bargain.
The Italian meatballs we were impressed with as we're not usually fans of any storebought meatballs they have that funny taste and these didn't. We did find it a little odd, seeing as they were not plain but Italian that they had a bottle of bbq sauce you could squirt on them- it would have made more sense, imo to have some type of Italian sauce, even Ragu warmed to serve in a little cup if someone wanted to flavor them as I just don't know anyone who would serve them with BBQ.
Even though there were 3 of us, when we got to the cheesecake there was only one little rectangle and the woman serving wasn't doing anything about getting more. Now the girls and I share just about everything but we all would have liked our own pieces. How did she know we weren't just friends? Or well, we do look related but how did she know we didn't mind cooties?
Now this may just be me, but I don't know a single person on the planet who is not lactose intolerant who hasn't had a plain cheesecake. While it was good as far as bought cheesecakes go, I was really surprised that they didn't break out the little samplers that had 4 different varieties- some chocolate! as those, I am sure I would have *had* to purchase on impulse had I been able to taste them.
They had buffalo wings which were VERY spicy, and the server did not warn anyone- and surprisingly they were served with ranch instead of bleu cheese dressing- I know they sell bleu cheese dressing as I buy the big things of it often. Now while this is a good Superbowl food, it just isn't something that I want to serve (or eat) during the holidays.
The really yummy looking appetizers shown in the ad- the brie purses, the southwestern trumpets, the crab cakes, the shrimp- sadly were all safely tucked in the freezers and there were no empty stations where they might have been served and we just missed them. They didn't serve them and had no intention of doing so. Boo! Those are the things I might have picked up if they were really good, to save myself some time and trouble during the busy days ahead- but I absolutely won't buy them to serve without knowing ahead of time if they are company good. ;-)
The sparkling cider was good. The Swiss Miss Cocoa- okay, I mean, we do buy that already but they made it with water so it wasn't near as good as it is when we make it at home. No "good" crackers they had the flips (pretzels on one side cracker the other- okay but had I not already known how good the Keebler crackers are I would not have brought them home to serve with my awesome cheeses.
The spiced apple pork loin was dry- they had overcooked it, so it did not inspire me to pick one up.
The green bean casserole which was not really warm- while it was a green bean casserole, you can't really mess it up- and everyone knows what they are supposed to be so I am not really sure why they had that instead of something different. If I know what something tastes like while I'll grab a sample I won't really be inspired to pick up the stuff- I already make it and so does everyone I know. Had there been something new and tasty- that, I'd have picked up the ingredients for.
No chocolate dream pie or any of those other tasty looking desserts in the pages they have advertising the events. Aside from the plain cheesecake, nothing.
I will say this - of all the workers, from the event servers to those walking around to the checkers, precisely 2 of them smiled or were in any way shape or form friendly. Which does not put shoppers in a better mood.
Especially when by the time we were checking out (shortly after 7, so not at closing) all but 3 of the cash registers had been closed and the lines were long, people were annoyed and we overheard them wondering why they had all shut down early when it was so crowded. We had the most delightful older gentleman behind us who told us stories of his family and travels so we didn't mind the wait, but others, yes, you could see that they weren't happy.
Our store was not particularly clean, aside from the restroom. I know some of that is the idiots who sample then stuff onto shelves between products, and I don't really blame them for that although since I noticed just passing I would think they could have an employee or two making rounds. At least once an employee was in front of us and didn't bother picking up a cup stuffed with napkin right in plain sight. Things like that really bother me and it might not get on your nerves like it does mine.
All in all, the event was a disappointment. Seriously there was very little out that they don't have during the weekends when the sample people are out any other time. No extra stations beyond the one greeting you when you walked in with the orange cinnamon rolls.
There were some great deals, there always are, BUT! we did notice that the movies, specifically UP the blu-ray version was MORE than Kyra paid last week at Wal Mart- now that's just crazy. We had known there was not as good of deals on books and movies as there had been in the past, but to get slapped in the face with the fact that they actually cost more was insane. This is supposed to be a store where you get rock bottom prices- you do everything yourself get no bags, etc- no way in heck should it cost MORE than their own stores.
We did get a good price on a box set of Roald Dahl books (James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, etc) that will make a wonderful gift, and I really enjoyed Paula Deen's book but I am not sure I got that at the best possible price (I'm an impulse buyer or I'd have checked on Amazon). ;-) She has a fascinating story, though and I highly recommend it.
Now, our experience at Sam's in North Little Rock may be a different experience than yours, and generally we really like Sam's. We still got some great deals, and they have a lot of very nice things for the holidays and it is worth going, just don't call it a special event.
Oh and this has nothing to do with my trip, but- PLEASE get those grilled chicken sandwiches back! They are (were) our favorite thing you sell. I didn't say anything when you stopped selling the only pancakes I ever liked years ago, but if you don't say something you don't get something, right?
Did y'all make it to Sam's this weekend? If so you can get extra entries into a giveaway for a $75 Sam's GC from Mommy23Monkeys if you blog about it and link up.
Blessings Abound is giving away a $50 GC to Sam's on 12/8,so head on over.
If you tell me I can't help you out that way, (you will, however, get an extra entry into all of my giveaways for posting) but I'd really love to know my Sam's was just off and the rest of y'all had a fabulous time.
* I told Cat and she is going to tell Sam's about our experience and hopefully it won't happen again. That's the power of the blogger. ;-)