The world is healing: Costco is bringing back free samples

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Like the first buds of spring after a harsh winter, life as we once knew it is starting to remerge here in the US. And one of the best – and tastiest – examples is about to appear in a Costco near you. The major box store chain is bringing back free samples! Starting in early June, Americans can once again bring their club cards and their appetites to the drafty aisles of Costco as plastic gloved do-gooders pass out tasty bites. Costco’s members can once again leave their local store with a giant flat-screen, a year’s supply of wiper fluid and full bellies.

According to USA Today, Costco’s chief financial officer and executive vice president Richard Galanti announced during a call to investors that free sampling would be returning next month.

While they have plans to bring back free sampling at all of their stores, the process will happen in phases, with 170 stores carrying free samples during the first week of June while the rest of the 550 estimated locations will be complete by the end of the month.

“Increased safety protocols are and will be in place, including all samples prepared behind plexiglass, prepared in smaller batches for better safety control and distribute it to members one at a time,” Galanti reportedly said during the call.

Costco first suspended its sampling program in March 2020, following suit with many other companies taking precautions due to COVID-19.

[From People]

I, for one, could not be happier. I love Costco samples. I so rarely go to Costco anymore but when I do, I plan my day around it and that includes samples and the food court. What I didn’t know, is that Costco is already known for super high standards of food safety. Add that with increased COVID precautions and I think we can feel very safe – with the food and food handlers, that is. The Costco guests are another story. Like most businesses, Costco is not requiring masks for their fully vaccinated members. Like other businesses, they will be taking their members’ word for it. We have been seeing throughout the pandemic that Costco customers have made a particular stand against safety precautions, not wearing masks when it was required, throwing tantrums and getting kicked out. In general, I’m not too worried about shopping at Costco because it’s so large and high ceilinged. But when folks are waiting for samples, it’s a few people deep and shoulder to shoulder. Those lines will only grow if there are smaller batches and single sample distribution. I wonder if they are going to have helpers to prep the samples, like a sous chef. A sous sampler, if you will.

Maybe the Costco crowd will work it out. Maybe we will all behave and realize if we don’t wait patiently and safely for our Hot Pocket bite, they will be taken from us and we will be left, once again, to pressing our face against the freezers, remembering back to a better time of hot plates and paper doilies. Let’s do this, folks. The Costco gods have smiled on us, let’s show them we are worthy.

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