Why Costco Is Suspending Its Free Sample Program In Some Stores

Those of us who love Costco enjoy going there for reasons other than to buy in bulk, and usually those reasons include bargain hunting as well as sampling the box store's quality food samples while we're at it. But safety concerns arising from the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has forced Costco to stop handing out free samples in states including California, Washington, and Florida. Costco has said they don't know when the free sample stations would be reinstated (via USA Today).

Instagram user CostcoDeals picked up on the temporary halt to free samples, saying, "Just got word, one of our followers is a sample person for CDS [Club Demonstration Services] which is Costco's vendor who does all the food samples and looks like they will not be serving samples for the foreseeable future. Not sure if this is immediate and will effect [sic] all stores or will be a store by store basis. The good side is that Costco is allowing CDS workers to work at the warehouses in various other capacities until samples start up again!! This was inevitable with the #coronavirus picking up steam in the US + the recent crazy crowds at Costco stores!"

Coronavirus has impacted Costco's supply chain

Costco admits it is being challenged by increased demand for items like water and cleaning supplies, and that the coronavirus is having an impact on the store's supply chain. "Like everyone we are keeping a close eye on the developments around the coronavirus including the impact on operations... We're doing our best to stay in stock on these and other items. We're getting deliveries daily but still not enough given the increased levels of demand on certain key items. It's been a little crazy this past week in terms of outside shopping frequency and sales levels, and not only in the United States. In terms of placing quantity limits on what a member can purchase, we are doing that in some instances. It tends to be at all locations but may differ regionally based on supply levels," Chief Financial Officer Richard Galanti said recently (via Review Journal).

The global infection toll from COVID-19 has passed the 100,000 mark, with the U.S. confirming almost 400 infections and at least 19 deaths (via The New York Times).