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Here’s What You Need to Know About Costco's Free Samples

Kiersten Hickman
Alastair Wallace/Shutterstock

There are a lot of perks when it comes to shopping at Costco, even some perks for non-Costco members as well. But one perk in particular that stands out from the rest? The free samples.

It's not uncommon for grocery stores to offer free samples of the like, especially warehouse stores like Costco. But Costco’s free sample program is distinct among the rest, and for good reason.

They're unlimited

I fully admit to spending at least two hours trying to clarify this statement, and yes, it seems true. Numerous sources, and numerous anonymous workers (and customers) on Reddit, have said that Costco’s free samples are unlimited. Yes, unlimited. Employees aren’t allowed to enforce a limit on treats, so yes, you can go to town on those free snacks. Just make sure to watch out for this one store policy the next time you’re at Costco.

Sample workers don't work at Costco

It may seem like those workers handing out free samples are a part of Costco’s staff, but turns out they work for a different company. These employees work for Club Demonstration Services (CDS). Even though you may see the same faces at your local Costco, that doesn’t mean they work for the company. The CDS just assigned them to that particular store.

Workers keep everything very clean

One anonymous employee on Reddit shared how the CDS workers take cleanliness very seriously when serving samples. He stated that all equipment has been sanitized and the employees are instructed to switch up their gloves every five minutes. If an employee actually touches a product with their hands, it’s thrown away immediately. While Costco is transparent about its commitment to hygiene, there are at least 25 Costco secrets employees won't' tell you. 

There's a prime sampling time

Another employee mentioned that Saturdays and Sundays, specifically between 1 and 2 in the afternoon, are the prime time for snacking. Although it’s one of the busiest times for Costco during the week, it also means that all shifts are out at that time. That means more sample varieties! However, if you want to skip those free sample lines (and get more snacks, since there are fewer people), it’s recommended to stop by Costco for samples on Mondays or Tuesdays (which is also a great time to shop at Costco in general). In addition to knowing the perfect time to get samples, frequent Costco shoppers often keep these 13 tips to themselves.

Kids need a supervisor

According to one CDS sample member on Reddit, kids need to have their parents around when they sample. Why? Allergies! Kids could be allergic to something inside the sample, even if they don’t realize it. So workers make sure that kids are with someone who can ensure that they can, in fact, eat the product being offered. Seriously considering a Costco membership for those unlimited free samples? Here’s how to evaluate if a Costco membership is worth it. If not, check out all the things you can do at Costco without a membership.