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What a Costco Worker Wants You to Know About the Free Samples

Are you guilty of any of these 'frustrating' behaviors at the warehouse club?
FACT CHECKED BY Justine Goodman

Costco's free samples are one of the retailer's most beloved perks, but they're also one of the Costco offerings that cause shoppers the most grief. Members have long complained about fellow customers who cut lines, get too pushy, or block store traffic while waiting for or eating their free samples. The issues have gotten so severe lately that a Costco worker who distributes free samples at the warehouse just weighed in with some suggestions aimed at eliminating those frustrating situations.

This worker posted on Costco's Reddit page this week to share tips for how members should behave around the retailer's free sample stations. The employee has been working for a little over a year at Club Demonstration Services, a separate company that runs free sample demos for Costco.

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"I made the post as a way to both air some grievances in a non-confrontational way and also to inform people of some of the rules, since I find a lot of people don't know how a lot of things go," the worker, whose Reddit handle is u/Beansy2000, told Eat This, Not That!

The worker's first tip was that, aside from the napkin dispenser, members shouldn't touch anything that isn't on the red tray at the front of the sample station. That rule even applies to extra utensils and cups at the kiosks.

"Everything you touch, I have to either resanitize or throw away," they wrote.

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Costco free sample worker serving a customer
ARTYOORAN / Shutterstock

In a similar vein, the worker urged members against picking up empty trays and handing them to sample distributors because trays handled by members will need to be sanitized again.

The worker also directed Costco shoppers to be aware of their surroundings, avoid cutting lines, and refrain from getting angry at sample distributors who are just trying to follow the rules of their jobs. Additionally, u/Beansy2000 said that members should make sure that they know what a sample is before taking one.

"I can't tell you how many times I've had someone take a sample then toss it right in the trash," they wrote.

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The worker's post has racked up more than 230 comments already, many from Costco members who expressed similar frustration about their fellow shoppers' behaviors by the free sample stations.

"I'm probably in the minority, but I wish Costco would stop the samples. They just clog up the aisles and people seem to lose all self-awareness as they approach, leaving their carts blocking the aisles so others are impeded," one Redditor commented.

Some even shared their own tips aimed at making the free sample experience better for everyone.

"Don't forget to dispose of the wrapper/fork in the garbage bins. There's probably at least two within 10 [feet] nearby. It's so gross when people leave them on the shelves or in the cart," a Redditor wrote.

Zoe Strozewski
Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe