The day has come, Costco shoppers: Free samples are finally coming back after they were pulled from stores in March. But, of course, there’s a catch. OK, three catches.
According to Bloomberg, Costco sampling has returned to 30 Costco stores across 16 states (not all 548 locations, unfortunately), and samples are now packaged and kept behind a plexiglass shield. What a time we live in, right?
Some people are already applauding Costco for how they’re handling phase one of the free samples rollout.
“Starting today, a few stores in North Texas are testing a phase one of a new way to do samples! You will be impressed clap,” raved @costcohotfinds on Instagram. “They lay out one packaged product and once you take it, they take the tray, sanitize it and lay out a new sample. Repeat. There were no lines and no one congregating around the samples. Today, my store had four products out.”
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🤗 Starting TODAY a few stores in North Texas are testing a phase 1 of a new way to do samples! You will be impressed clap 👏 They lay out one packaged product and once you take it, they take the tray, sanitize it and lay out a new sample. Repeat. There were no lines and no one congregating around the samples. Today, my store had 4 products out
Back in May, Costco’s CFO Richard Galanti hinted at such change.
On a quarterly earnings call on May 28, Galanti said that Costco’s food sample stations will begin returning in some capacity — “on a slow rollout basis” — starting mid-June. Galanti added that Costco will also implement new sanitary rules regarding the samples.
“I can’t tell you any more, but it’s — needless to say — not going to be where you go and just pick up an open sample with your fingers,” Galanti said.
Club Demonstration Services, a vendor that has handled sampling for Costco for many years, began phase one of the return of samples on June 16.
“Meanwhile, we are working closely with Costco buyers and vendors to schedule a limited number of demos for the participating warehouses each day,” CDS President Don Dohanyos said in a statement on their website. “Starting slowly will allow Costco and us to make sure we are taking the right steps to engage members safely, while maintaining the proper controls around the demo cart. We will take the lessons learned in our early demos to improve our overall processes while we prepare for future rollouts.”
Dohanyos added that the next stages of their comeback will be determined by their success in their initial efforts.
Not returning to Costco stores, however, are their beloved half sheet cakes, a move that’s likely due to the lack of large gatherings due to COVID-19. Instead, Costco will redirect their efforts on selling smaller, 10-inch round cakes.
“We are currently not selling our 1/2 sheet cakes at any US locations and as of right now, we have no immediate plans to bring them back. We are focusing on our smaller 10″ White & 10″ Chocolate Cakes that seem to be resonating with our members,” the company told Delish.
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