So You Tasted A Costco Free Sample You Don't Like. Here's What Not To Do

If you've been to Costco or a similar wholesale store like Sam's Club, you've probably encountered a day when there are free samples galore. It's fun to go around the store and try out the different food options. However, there is some basic free-sample etiquette to follow. Of course, we all know it's polite to say "please" and "thank you," to patiently wait your turn in line, and to throw away the napkin, cup, and other trash when you're done with the sample.


However, the right thing to do if you don't like the sample isn't as well-known. It can feel awkward to spit the food out into your napkin in front of the employee, and some people feel bad admitting they don't like the sample. While it may feel rude to admit you don't like it, it's better than the alternative. Some people pretend they like the sample and even put some in their cart in an attempt to please the worker. That may feel polite, but it's a big no-no.

Why you shouldn't take a product you don't intend to buy

When you put a product in your cart that you have no intention of buying, you're creating a lot more work for the employees. Typically, there's a product display near the sample station so you can pick up the item if you like it. The employee may even point out the display and encourage you to buy some, especially if they think you enjoyed the product. If you like the product, by all means, grab as many as you want.


However, don't put it in your cart if you only intend to ditch it later somewhere else in the store. Even if you feel like the employee is pressuring you or guilting you into buying the product (they probably aren't), it's best to leave it be. According to Reddit user popo351, the employees giving out samples keep an inventory of how many products that leave their sample station. Then, this number is compared to how many products are sold. If these numbers don't match up, other Costco employees are tasked with finding the missing products. This creates more work for them.

What happens to misplaced food items in grocery stores?

When items are misplaced, employees have to spend time collecting the items, checking their sell-by date, and putting them back where they belong. Picking up products you don't intend to buy can create an even bigger problem if the item is frozen or refrigerated. When cold items are moved to the wrong location or left out in a non-refrigerated part of the store, they need to be thrown away. There is no way for employees to know how long the item was out of refrigeration, and it may no longer be safe to eat. "As a fellow stocker, I wish people would realize we would much rather they give them to us instead of hiding them so that get destroyed! Or just bring [it] up front and give to go-backs," Reddit user reidalott explains.


The next time you don't like a sample at Costco, simply say "thank you," throw away your trash, and walk away. "So, even if you take few samples and don't buy anything, you don't have to pretend to buy anything. Just say thanks and move on, they're not there to pressure you to buy anything!" says popo351.