Costco Water Samples Are A Real Thing, Apparently

When members take a trip to Costco, they may come for the bulk toilet paper, but they stay for the free samples. Even if you don't spend any money at the Costco food court, you will likely leave with a full stomach when your local warehouse is turning out small bites of new and popular food and drink items.

While samples are a great way to test drive a new product before you commit to buying an entire case, not all products need sampling in order to sell. For all the hidden treasures you can find in Costco's frozen foods aisle, the retailer also offers members a wide array of grocery essentials like produce, condiments, and cases of water. Items such as these are such basic necessities that sampling them doesn't seem to be a huge priority — at least, that's what we thought before Costco started giving out samples of water. According to a photo snapped by a Reddit user, one Costco in Los Angeles was spotted offering members small sips of Perfect Hydration 9.5+ pH Alkaline Water. But if you were hoping these samples would quench your thirst, you might be disappointed by the amount. Judging by the photo, employees were instructed to fill up an already small container less than halfway full, leaving maybe one good sip for members to enjoy.

Anyone thirsty for a shot of alkaline water?

Sometimes, one taste is all you need to sell a product. At least, that must have been what the Los Angeles Costco who offered free samples of Perfect Hydration 9.5+ pH Alkaline Water was hoping for. Users on Reddit weren't too happy to see Costco wasting their sample cups on such a basic product. One user commented, "Well this may be the most heinous waste of single-use plastic I've ever seen." For another Redditor, the samples of water brought back memories of another slightly weirder sample they experienced at their local Costco: "reminds me of when they were handing out sizable chunks of butter as samples at my local Costco- no bread just butter." With samples like that, we would surely be grateful for a sip of water afterward.

While it may seem silly that Costco was offering samples of water, it was likely because the Perfect Hydration water is somewhat of a specialty beverage, and judging by the price point, a rather expensive one. Unlike Costco's signature Kirkland bottled water, Perfect Hydration 9.5+ pH Alkaline Water contains added natural electrolytes that are said to affect the flavor and hydration benefits. Per Costco's website, the water also contains no added sodium, chlorine, or fluoride. The retailer may have thought it beneficial for customers to take a sip before committing to a 12-pack of 1-liter bottles. It may have had members doing a double take, but ultimately it makes sense why Costco would offer samples of the fancy-looking water.

Try not to turn the sample station into a community watering hole

Apparently, offering samples of water is Costco's newest free sample trend. Multiple users on Reddit confirmed that they, too, have witnessed members swarming to the sample station at their local warehouse for a chance to enjoy a free sip or two. One Redditor recalled how quickly the station filled up with eager customers running over to get free water, of all things. They wrote, "They were snapping them up as fast as [the employee] could pour and grabbing multiple cups for family members. And of course, in typical Costco etiquette, creating complete gridlock in the area." Plenty of other members know all too well the frustration of a sample stampede. No matter what the item you are sampling is, this is a huge 'don't' when it comes to enjoying free samples.

Many members will say that one of the worst things you can do when it comes to free samples at Costco is hovering around the sample station. Not only does this make employees feel uncomfortable and rushed, but congregating around a sample cart will often clog up walkways that cause the flow of foot traffic to slow down. Another big no-no is grabbing multiple samples at once. If you want a second sample at Costco, you are free to grab one — there is no technical "limit" to free samples. However, there is definitely an unspoken etiquette amongst members that you shouldn't grab more than one at a time.