Five secrets of Costco’s beloved free samples – from when to find best selection to exactly how many you can have –

COSTCO’S beloved free samples have long tempted hungry shoppers.

For those who can’t get enough, insiders have provided five of the best-kept secrets of the sample selection.


According to retail expert Julie Ramhold, Sunday tends to be prime sample timeCredit: Getty

Retail expert, Julie Ramhold, is keenly aware of the best times of the week to get tasting and also shared some advice on what products to snatch up and which to avoid.

Costco has maintained a well-earned reputation for keeping an abundant inventory of bulk-sized items while maintaining consistent prices even amid inflation.

However, Costco fans are not just impressed with the store’s wide selection of Kirkland brand items.

Many are also deeply devoted to the retailer thanks to the free samples that regularly pop up through the warehouses.

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In a round-up for BestLife, experts like Ramhold shared suggestions for those hoping to take advantage of the deal-of-all-deals.


Timing is critical when it comes to avoiding the hassle of large crowds and long lines.

“Sundays are prime sample time, but it’s also one of the busiest days at Costco in general,” pointed out Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst with

She added that the store might beef up the selection of samples over the weekend, however the packed environment may not be worth it for everyone.

“If you have a personal bubble, you probably want to avoid seeking out these treats on Sundays,” she noted.

According to the expert, Mondays and Tuesdays tend to be somewhat less busy.


For shoppers considering grazing the samples section instead of picking up lunch, that dream may just be able to turn into a reality.

Technically, at Costco, there is no limit to how many samples a shopper can come back for.

“The employees handing out free samples can’t tell shoppers ‘no,’ and most of them probably wouldn’t bother anyway,” Ramhold explained.

While it’s okay to take a second, or perhaps a third serving, the retail expert warns that manners should still be in place.

“If you’re one of those, it’s OK—but be polite about it and at least listen to the employee’s spiel about the product,” she suggested.


Costco aims to tempt customers with the tastiest products, and oftentimes that means putting out loads of sweet and savory snacks.

According to Ramhold, advanced samplers should gage what products attract the longest lines.

“It’s probably not a surprise that desserts will get a lot of draw from crowds, but specifically, cheese and chocolate seem to be the samples that shoppers go bananas over,” she shared.

While it might be worth the wait to those with a sweet-tooth, not everyone wants to commit to the time.

“If it’s a brownie they’re baking fresh, be prepared to wait a bit,” she added.


Samples are a wonderful way for a company to introduce customers to a product, but it’s important to remain picky when it comes to what you purchase.

“Costco sells a ton of different items, and that means that not every free sample is going to be a tasty adventure,” said Ramhold.

The expert suggests that Costco is likely to test out a variety of products in their sample selection. Some might not meet the standards of a card swipe.

“Sometimes you’re going to have the option to try things like sugar-free flavored water with a terrible aftertaste, a new plant-based milk that may or may not be good, or even a protein shake that swears that it tastes like a chocolate milkshake when it really doesn’t,” she explained.

In short, just because it makes it onto the sample counter, doesn’t mean it should come home with you.


Ramhold also wants shoppers to know that the servers behind the samples are not experts on all things Costco. Technically, sample servers are contractors, rather than full-time staff.

“They don’t technically work for Costco, which means they aren’t going to be familiar with where items are located,” said Ramhold.

However, these individuals are well-educated on the particular product they are serving and will be more than happy to offer information about it.

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“Don’t expect to ask a person handing out free ice cream where the pasta is: Most of the time, their focus is on the product they’re selling and where it’s located, and that’s about it,” she concluded.

When it comes to the rest of the store, they may not be the best people to ask.

Costco is known for selling a wide selection of bulk-items at affordable prices


Costco is known for selling a wide selection of bulk-items at affordable pricesCredit: Getty
The popular retailer attracts customers eager to try their wide selection of sample offerings


The popular retailer attracts customers eager to try their wide selection of sample offeringsCredit: Getty
Ramhold suggests that customers stay picky about what samples they bring back home with them


Ramhold suggests that customers stay picky about what samples they bring back home with themCredit: Getty
Some samples, such as sweet and savory items, tend to attract longer lines than others


Some samples, such as sweet and savory items, tend to attract longer lines than othersCredit: Getty
Those serving the samples technically do not work for Costco


Those serving the samples technically do not work for CostcoCredit: Getty

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