The Free Samples at Costco - Tustin
Really? Am I really about to blog about Costco samples? Yes, Virginia, I am. If you consider this as this blog’s “jump-the-shark” moment, I will argue with you that the shark was jumped many moons ago. Next week, I might just start talking about grilled cheese (if you know what that’s in reference to, consider yourself a seasoned food blog follower).
But admit it: if you’re a Costco member, you relish zig-zagging through the aisles picking up a taste of this, a nibble of that, a sip of something else—all for free. It is in our nature as economic creatures to be cheapskates, to gravitate to things that we can get for nothing. Even The Simpsons, the most reliable mirror on our culture, had an opening sequence parodying our collective but unspoken love of free samples.
As soon as I get in the store, those stations appear in my peripheral vision as if they glowed white hot under night-vision goggles. I make a beeline to them like a pig trained to root out truffles, or a divining rod to water.
Some of you will rightly point out that sampling isn’t actually free. You fork over the yearly membership, so you’re technically paying for the experience. And as a selling tool, it works. Costco wants you to take full advantage, because they know the more you taste-test free samples, the more likely you are to buy a whole year’s supply of GoGurt.
Never in a thousand years would I have believed that the Harris Ranch pot roast would be any good until I took a sample. Now I buy it almost regularly. And hemp seeds? They taste rather good. Am I going to buy a whole sack? Not really, but I’m glad to know what they taste like. It goes the other way too. Though it should be common knowledge, I can confirm from sampling that the sushi rolls should be avoided. The rice is more like gluey paste.
To make this post somewhat useful for those of you who still think this blog could be useful, here’s a piece of Costco trivia that I bet you didn’t know: To find out whether your favorite item is about to be discontinued, look for an asterisk or a plus sign on the upper right hand corner of the price label. Any item with a price that ends in a “7” is also likely to become history. If you see any of these indicators on a product you like, you’ll know that that’s the time to buy the year’s supply.
So there you go.
Next week, another post, another shark to be jumped.
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Tustin, CA 92782
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