Why We're Costco Fanatics
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Here’s What It’s Like To Be a Costco Sampler

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Why We're Costco Fanatics
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Life Behind the Sneeze Guard

Beyond boosting sales as high as 2,000%, grocery store samples can turn shopping into a fun, food-filled pastime. That's certainly the case at Costco, where sampling is part of the warehouse store's DNA. That said, it's rare that members get a behind-the-curtain look at what it's like to work as a sampler. But one Costco employee recently offered some insight into the job on Reddit, where they fielded superfans' questions about life behind the sneeze guard.


Not already a Costco member? You can apply here.


Related: What Costco Samplers Wish Customers Knew

Loading a Costco Sample
Panegyrics of Granovetter / Flickr
Caviar Sample Costco
Caviar Sample Costco by Naoto Sato (CC BY-NC-SA)

They Can Sample Their Own Supply

Samplers can try their own products once in a while, an employee says. But since they have to step away from their stations and change gloves every time, you likely haven't seen a sampler knocking back cup after cup of Goldfish.


Related: Prepared Meals at Costco That'll Feed Your Whole Family

Costco Sampler
Costco Sampler by Bev Sykes (CC BY)

They Deal With Plenty of Rude Customers

You'd think free food would placate shoppers, but samplers deal with rude customers all the time. This employee's worst experience was when a dietician accused the sampler of spreading misinformation. Folks should remember this age-old idiom: Don't bite the hand that feeds you.


Related: Costco Employees Dish on the Most Outrageous Revoked Membership Stories

The crowd forms in anticipation for Costco samples
Mark Krynsky / Flickr

They Appreciate Acknowledgement

You don't need to tell samplers your life story — after all, they're serving hundreds of shoppers — but do acknowledge employees when you take a sample. A simple nod or "thank you" is enough.


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Samples @ Costco
Panegyrics of Granovetter / Flickr

They Don't Mind Return Customers

We've all done it. You grab a sample, wait a few minutes, and hope that the employee doesn't notice when you return and double (or triple) dip. But it turns out the whole process is unnecessary. According to this sampler, they don't remember repeat customers, and even if they did, they say returning for seconds is fine as long you're polite.

Dutifully lining up for Costco samples
Dutifully lining up for Costco samples by Meredith P. (CC BY-ND)

They Aren't All Costco Employees

Don't expect samplers to know where the rotisserie chickens are because some aren't Costco employees. Costco contracts the service out to Club Demonstration Services, a company that specializes in increasing sales for retailers through samples and demos.

Samples at Costco
Governor Jay Inslee / Flickr

They Don't Choose What They Serve

If you're perplexed why a sampler is giving out prenatal vitamins or some other niche product, know that they have no say in what they serve. When it comes to combination samples involving multiple products, management provides the recipe.