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Costco to bring back free samples – but it’s not going to be like it was

Don’t expect it to be the same free-food free-for-all you were used to, Costco shoppers.

After temporarily discontinuing the practice in early March, Costco is planning to once again offer free samples at its warehouses — but only on a “slow rollout basis.”

Speaking in a third-quarter earnings call on Thursday, Costco CFO Richard Galanti revealed that he expects store locations to resume sample giveaways next month.

“We’re going to start doing some things in mid-June on a slow rollout basis in sampling,” said Galanti. “I can’t tell you anymore, but … needless to say, it’s not going to be where you go and just pick up an open sample with your fingers. But sampling – food and nonfood items – are popular.”

Costco first stopped the practice of distributing samples of select items in early March. It was one of the first of the company’s responses to the growing coronavirus outbreak, soon followed by the designation of special hours for older customers and the requirement for all shoppers to wear masks inside the warehouses, among other new policies.

At the time, it was also reported that the roughly 30,000 employees in charge of distributing samples at Costco locations worldwide – all of whom were employed by a contracting company called Club Demonstration Services (CDS) – had been reassigned to cleaning roles within the warehouses, Buzzfeed News had reported.

By early April, however, sources for the outlet learned that Costco had cut ties with CDS entirely.

A representative for Costco was not immediately available to confirm whether Costco would be utilizing CDS’ services when it resumes sample giveaways.

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