The Reason Some Costco Shoppers Actually Dislike The Free Samples

Costco has a vast and faithful following thanks to its low prices, bulk deals, quality Kirkland brand products, and virally famous food court items. Finding a free sample around every turn is another of Costco's many allures. Or is it? While you may think that free food could never be a bad thing, some Costco shoppers dislike the free samples.

In numerous Reddit forums, dozens, if not hundreds of Costco members bemoan free samples. When a redditor asked their fellow users for their unpopular opinions about Costco, one of the answers that got the most attention stated: "I hate the free samples. It causes traffic jams."

It turns out, most of the attention was supportive, agreeing that "people clog up the aisles and folks stand in the way chatting with the worker." Many shoppers don't have the luxury of time, and clogged aisles will cut their shopping short. One redditor summed it up this way: "I don't want the sample, I just want to shop. Take away the sample and keep it moving!"

In addition to traffic jams, objectors decried free samples as unhygienic and bad for the planet. One redditor denounced "all the plastic waste, yuck... Fun reminder that there are micro plastics in our lungs and reproductive organs." Another alluded to samples as veritable vessels of contagion, "There's no way am I going to eat something that's been sitting out exposed with hundreds of people breathing over them."

What is the solution?

Complaining may be a cathartic experience for like-minded sample-haters, but it isn't very productive. There were, however, just as many comments that suggested solutions and preventative measures to avoid the negative effects free samples cause. One redditor suggested concentrating all the free sample stations to a designated area: "A free sample aisle where they have the free samples right in front of the product" to which another jokingly responded, "you mean like a FREE FOOD COURT?"

Joking aside, relegating all the traffic to one section of the grocery store would allow shoppers in a hurry the space to get what they need and check out. This brings up another solution that suggested putting a threshold on how many sample stations a store can have so that more employees are free to man the check-out lanes.

Redditors who are more realistic about the unlikelihood of doing away with samples altogether suggest the more practical solution of shopping "at less crowded times [when] samples are usually not provided. While different stores have different peak hours, one redditor claims that the best times to avoid a crowd at any Costco are "just as they open/right before they close on a weekday, if possible."

Even free sample lovers acknowledged the need for proper sampling etiquette, demanding that "you should have to take a cart driving/parking etiquette class before you can get your membership." Costco customers can take a lesson from the unspoken sampling rules at ice cream shops.