And Sams/Costco sells for way under normal retail, so spending on a membership is worth it. But buying a membership and paying above normal prices is a no go for me.
I think "worth it" is the bottom line. What benefit do you get from the basic membership fee besides the privilege of spending more money with them?
Sam's and Costco both offer not only bulk prices that are cheaper most times than other options, but they also carry many items that are produced exclusively for those retailers. Take a Bissell vacuum, for example. You can find model 4433 and 5533 (made up numbers) at Walmart and Target, but at Costco, they have model 5510. That model is exclusive to Costco, and may have SOME features on the 5533 but not all, plus attachments you'd have to buy separately for both other models. That keeps Costco from doing price matching with other stores that don't carry the same model, plus you get an in-between model with top end features PLUS attachments that can save $50-$100 plus, all for a price that's less than the top model.
Also, you get cash-back rebates the more you shop at the warehouses.
Anyway, the point is, there is a financial benefit to being a Sam's or Costco member. With X-Ring, I just don't see any added value for the customer to pay for a membership.
Having said that, I do know there are laws that allow certain businesses to operate as a member's only club. Not sure what the advantages are, but I remember needing to join Pets Discount Warehouse to shop there. I just checked Dog Trainer on the application, and got my membership card. No membership fee!!