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Free Costco samples are every college student’s dream. They’re free, delicious and come in a variety of options. Samples range from dino chicken nuggets to the famous snap peas that you can’t seem to get enough of. Costco is the perfect place to shop while at the same time picking up a free lunch. But is there a limit to how many samples one can take? We should be able to fill ourselves with ten dino chicken nuggets if we wish, right? Well, I put that to the test at Goleta’s Costco, taking samples periodically until asked to stop. I experimented with three types of Costco carts: a snack, appetizer and meal.


The pretzel cart seemed to be the easiest station to sample since there was no crowd of people around it. After taking three samples in a five-minute time frame, the employee kindly pointed out to me where the pretzels were sold, as if I didn’t already know. Surprisingly, I managed to take nine pretzel samples in a span of 15 minutes without being asked to stop.


Mozzarella balls are used in many different ways and are a must for parties. The Costco employee shockingly didn’t seem to care that I took nine of her cheese samples, greeting me with the same smile after each visit. It was time to test a sample a bit more on the pricey side.


Veggie burgers are extremely popular for those who want to supplement meat patties. After taking a total of 10 samples of veggie patty slices, I had to ask the Costco employee why she wasn’t interfering with my absurd actions. She told me that Costco samples are more than just a “free meal.” The more one samples, the higher the chances the customer will make a purchase.


10 pretzel samples

Nine mozzarella ball samples

10 veggie burger samples


Costco samples have a deeper reason besides being convenient and enjoyable to the customer. Sampling keeps us inside Costco for a longer period of time and encourages us to explore all aisles. If you want to enjoy the best samples at Costco, it is recommended to go on either Fridays or Saturdays. So is it possible to eat your lunch on free Costco samples? Yes, but keep in mind that “free sampling” at Costco may not be so free once you’re at the checkout line with your cart completely filled with the items you sampled.