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Going to Costco for the free food samples is one of my favorite pastimes, so when they stopped giving them out back in March of 2020, I was like, “Nooooo….”
That was right before all the coronavirus chaos hit. Costco just announced that, starting the first week of June 2021, they’re phasing them back into all 170 locations through the end of June — but they’re still not like you remember them.
Samples are returning to Costco, but get in a single-file line.
Don’t expect to reach in and grab some warm mini-pizzas or a ramekin of soup. You’ll get your hand smacked. To be more COVID-compliant, samples are prepared behind a plexiglass screen and handed out in individual, smaller-than-before containers, one by one. Line up. Be patient. Wait your turn for that even smaller bit of chimichanga. Gah!
No telling if/when Costco will bring back the ‘old’ samples.
Costco hasn’t indicated whether they’ll ever return to the pre-Covid form of sampling — the free-for-all vibe and larger portion sizes — but with the pandemic still underway, that’s not super surprising.
Sam’s Club is also bringing samples back.
Rival warehouse retailer Sam’s Club has relaunched their samples program. The new “Taste & Tips” program offers sealed, pre-portioned/pre-packaged items, but only on weekends. Look out for food trucks and other “immersive sampling experiences”, Sam’s Club says.
Costco is changing the food court experience as well.
The Costco food court was closed, and then it was take-out only with a limited menu. Now, they’ve started to add seats back, and plan to be at about half-capacity seating by June 7.
To celebrate, they’re introducing some new menu items, including gourmet soft-serve ice cream and a “new and improved” churro.