5 Things You Didn’t Know About Costco’s Free Samples

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Alastair Wallace)

Costco’s free sample situation is legendary (read: The Top 4 Grocery Stores for Free Samples). People joke on social media about how they go to the warehouse store just for free lunch. Although, they’re not really joking, are they? You can fill up on bites of glazed salmon, spoonfuls of yogurt, squares of frozen pizza, and so much more.

You knew that though (again, legendary free samples). So, here are five other things about Costco’s free samples that you probably didn’t know.

1. The samples are usually given out by people who don’t actually work at Costco.

Don’t bother asking the guy giving out samples of Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies where you can find the mustard because he probably doesn’t work there. The people giving out the samples are often employed by a company called Club Demonstration Services. (You may see the same faces giving out food again and again, but that’s because they’re assigned to that store.) Other times, like if you’re being given little cups filled with smoothie sips made in a Vitamix, the person could be a rep from the manufacturer.

2. There’s no limit on how many samples you can take.

Want seconds? Thirds? Go for it. (Just smile, say thank you, and if there’s a sales pitch, take the time to listen to it!) There is technically no limit to how many samples you can try — even from the same table. One Redditor, a “sample guy at Costco,” once said: “There is one lady who comes in every single day and fills her purse full of samples. She usually snatches the whole tray, nobody can stop her!”

3. There’s a best time to go.

You’ll find the biggest selection of samples on Saturdays and Sundays, but that’s also when the store is busiest and you’ll probably have to wait in line for some samples. “If you want unlimited amounts of samples and no lines, go on a Monday or Tuesday, but there are fewer to choose from,” says the same Redditor. “On the weekends, go right around 1 or 2 because all shifts are out at that time. If you don’t feel like you have eaten a full meal through sampling, you’re not doing it right.”

4. It’s all super hygienic.

According to another Redditor: “We have annoyingly strict hygiene policies. All the equipment is sanitized before we use it, we change our gloves every five minutes, and any time a member touches something they [aren’t] supposed to, we throw it away or change it for something clean.”

5. The samples really do get people to buy the product.

Obviously, there’s a reason for these samples (beyond making customers happy): They really do increase sales of the product. According to a 2014 article in The Atlantic, beer samples once boosted sales at national retailers by 71 percent, and frozen pizza samples increased sales by 600 percent.

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