Do Costco Food Samplers Actually Work For Costco?

There are many great benefits to having a Costco membership. Shopping at the big box chain will get you access to specialty items, big discounts, bulk buying, and all the free samples you could want. Have you ever taken a moment to think about those samples, though? For example, if there is a limit on how many you can take? The answer to that (according to Reader's Digest) is no, there is no limit to the free samples at Costco as employees aren't allowed to enforce a limit on them, so yes, you can take as many freebies as you want.

Did you know there's a prime time for Costco sampling, too? According to Southern Living, Mondays and Tuesdays have fewer samples, but not as many customers to fight for them. You will get more of a variety of samples on the weekend, but employees are often busier helping the influx of shoppers. The samples of orange juice and crackers may just run out before you even get there.

Sample handlers are third-party vendors

You may have wondered at some point if the people that hand out all of those free samples actually work for Costco. The answer to that is no, they don't. These sample-slinging employees work for a third-party vendor called Club Demonstration Services (CDS). According to their website, CDS is the "preferred in-house event marketing provider to Costco" that provides the free samples, along with product demonstrations, in order to entice shoppers to buy more products from Costco. CDS employees are paid, on average, around $12.06, according to Indeed.

If you go to your local Costco often enough, you may see the same people serving up those yummy samples, now that they have made a comeback after being pulled from stores during the pandemic, but they aren't employed by Costco. CDS assigned them to work there and they are considered contractors. Even though they aren't Costco employees, however, they do take their jobs seriously.

Sample handlers are serious about their jobs

One Costco employee posted on Reddit that CDS contractors keep things very clean. They change gloves around every five minutes and they clean the machines they use often, so even though they may be busy passing out free samples, they are keeping things sanitary, which falls in line with Costco's commitment to food safety standards. The Reddit user also mentions that if a shopper touches all the samples, they will be thrown away and replaced. Now that's a relief.

Keep in mind if you are planning to grab some samples as you shop at Costco that, while employees won't tell you no to seconds (or thirds or fourths), they will say no to one group of people — unsupervised children. Little ones need to have their parents with them before they can take samples, according to Costco. This is mostly due to food allergies. Kids may not know a sample has something they are allergic to, so workers will make sure that kids are with an adult who can give permission for the child to take a sample before they hand them out. Safety first!