Aside from Costco's signature $1.50 hot dog combo and its deals on bulk items, the grocery chain may be most loved for its sample selection. Unlike other retailers, where you can likely only find samples every once in a while, at Costco, you can essentially eat a full meal just from its free offerings. If you're trying to fill your belly, there are strategic times to head to the retailer. According to a Reddit A.M.A. from a former Costco sample employee, weekends are the best days to score the most samples — and the best variety.
While you'll definitely score the most free samples during the weekend, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are also the store's busiest days. You'll have to sacrifice a quiet, leisurely stroll to fight the crowds and chaos, but for many, it's worth it. Samples are typically available during the store's regular hours, from opening until one hour before closing. During peak shopping times, like right before holidays, samples will be more abundant. (And if you think Costco is simply being nice by providing free food samples, think again; sales of products made available for sampling can increase by up to 2,000%.) If you want to get your sample on and leave both full and satisfied, there's a particular strategy you should follow: Go in the early afternoon.
The Time Of Day You Visit Costco Matters
If you show up at Costco on the weekend waiting for samples, you may want to restrain yourself from arriving right when the store opens. According to the former Costco employee's Reddit A.M.A., visiting the chain between 1 and 2 p.m. on Saturday is your best chance to get the most samples, as that's when most sample employees are out on the floor. And if you've ever awkwardly stood around the table trying to inconspicuously take a second sample, there's no need to be shy — technically, there's no limit to the number you can take, just as long as you respect your fellow customers and sample employees.
Unfortunately, this advice isn't quite set in stone, though, as changes sometimes come to Costco samples. Instead of seeing the sample servers' friendly, smiling faces, customers occasionally find self-serve kiosks, which Costco introduced to offset labor shortages. While this relatively new system may be more efficient, not everyone is thrilled with the loss of human interaction. One comment on an Instagram reel from @costcodeals circa 2023 said, "Please don't take away the personality of the store. I've bought things I would not otherwise have tried, because of the interactions."
Read the original article on Mashed.