Sam’s Club joins Costco in bringing back free samples to clubs nationwide after pausing for COVID

After a more than 14-month hiatus, Sam’s Club said Tuesday it is bringing back free samples for customers along with its demo program to its nearly 600 clubs nationwide.

Both will relaunch this week and will initially take place on weekends using new safety measures, such as sealed samples, the retailer said.

Sam’s Club has had a sampling program for more than 35 years, but the company said it was paused in March 2020 “out of concern for the health and safety of members and associates during COVID-19.”

The news of the return of Sam’s Club’s samples and demos – officially known as the “Taste & Tips” program – comes less than a week after Costco announced it would bring back full sampling as well as its food court and seating, in another sign of the U.S. slowly shifting toward normal. Costco will introduce samples back in phases starting this week.

“Over the past year, our members’ shopping behaviors have evolved,” Megan Crozier, Sam’s Club chief merchandising officer, said in a statement. “Today, more than ever, members want to do more than just shop when they come to our clubs – they want to have an experience.”

Crozier said the company has also “planned new, immersive sampling experiences that add even more excitement to our clubs.”

Sam’s Club is taking samples out of clubs, too, with its first-ever Member’s Mark Summer Eats Food Truck that will tour the central part of the nation this summer.

Clubs are also testing new ways to sample items, including “roaming events that bring sampling directly to members as they checkout, visit the member services desk or use Sam’s Club Curbside Pickup.”

Sam’s Club dropped its mask requirement for fully vaccinated customers and employees after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated mask guidance. Masks are still required at stores where a state or local mask mandate is in effect.

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