We Finally Know When Costco's Samples Are Coming Back

In March 2020, wholesale chain Costco temporarily ended its practice of offering generous amounts of free samples to shoppers in an attempt to keep customers and staff safe during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to Fox News. The wholesale store also implemented other temporary policies, such as special hours for elderly shoppers and mandatory face masks

Buzzfeed News reported in April of 2020 that the business had ended their relationship with Club Demonstration Services, a contracting company who staffed the positions preparing and handing out samples within the stores, as well as the custodial staff. Days later, CDS announced it would be shutting down, leading to the loss of thousands of jobs. At the time, Costco attempted to hire some of the contracted staff lost from the sampling stations for in-house cleaning positions. Fox News states that neither Costco nor CDS have released a statement on whether or not the partnership will resume when they feel it is safe to do so or if Costco will be re-hiring for those positions without the use of a contractor.

The company just announced that samples will be returning to Costco in June. What will that look like?

Costco sampling stations and food courts won't be the same

Business Insider gives some insight on the timeline and new rules that will be in place for customers receiving free samples in Costco stores. On a call with analysts regarding earrings, Costco CFO Richard Galanti stated that sampling stations would begin to reemerge through a slow rollout sometime in June. Galanti said that there will be new sanitary rules regarding the stations and that customers would no longer be able to "just pick up an open sample with your fingers." He noted he couldn't release further details yet, but customers should expect changes in how the store operates sampling stations.

Similarly, Costco food courts have been modified to account for the COVID-19 crisis. The chain announced (via the Costco website) that there would be a limited menu and takeout only for the foreseeable future. Galanti stated that Costco had initially eliminated many of its food court menu items, but has begun to add select items back onto the menu. The wholesale company declined to respond to Business Insider's request for clarification on which food court menu items would not return or what specifically the new food sampling practices would be, so we'll just have to wait and see.