The Sample Perk That Comes With Shopping At Costco Overseas

woman offering free food sample
woman offering free food sample - Tim Boyle/Getty Images

There are many benefits associated with a membership at Costco. Along with convenient bulk groceries and beloved private label products (keep in mind it's often claimed that there are some big brands behind Costco's Kirkland products), shoppers also enjoy the abundant free samples that can be found throughout the store. However, Costco members in other countries have even more to love when it comes to free samples, as illustrated by a Reddit thread. According to the poster, a Costco located in Taiwan was handing out samples of a Glenfiddich 15-year single malt whisky. U.S.-based commenters were predictably envious, with one stating, "One of the samples I would definitely hit up 2 or 3 times while there." Another person proclaimed, "Omg. I have not seen this in America."

Elsewhere on Reddit, cocktail samples were dispersed at a Paris Costco location, which led one commenter to state, "The warehouses in Mexico routinely sample spirits." Based on these posts, it appears that Costco locations outside of the U.S. often provide free alcohol samples to customers. This begs the question: why are American shoppers not privy to the same experience?

Read more: All The Benefits Of A Costco Membership

Why U.S. Costco Locations Don't Offer Alcohol Samples

champagne at costco
champagne at costco - calimedia/Shutterstock

If you're frustrated by the lack of alcohol samples at U.S. Costco stores, don't blame the chain itself. The real issue lies in the often confusing and varied laws applied to alcohol sales throughout the nation. In some places, shoppers can buy all types of alcohol in grocery stores, including liquor. In others, grocery stores are only allowed to sell less potent beverages, like beer and wine. Costco locations must adhere to different state laws to avoid non-compliance issues, which can affect the types of alcohol sold, as well as the practices for selling alcohol (and presumably, providing free samples).

Many Costco stores throughout the country sell alcohol. In some states, non-members can purchase alcohol from the chain, while in others only members are permitted to. To make things even more confusing, the member/non-member divide can also be a factor in the types of alcohol sold, meaning that non-members may only be allowed to purchase certain types of alcohol depending on the laws of the state.

Free Alcohol Samples May Not Be Worth It For Costco

shoppers at Costco
shoppers at Costco - Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Along with the multitude of laws controlling alcohol sales throughout the country, laws regarding free alcohol samples can also vary. It's true that Pennsylvania is one of relatively few states where Costco does not sell any kind of alcohol. While the state is rather strict when it comes to alcohol sales, it does permit free dispersal of alcoholic beverages to legal individuals without the need for a permit or license. However, it wouldn't make sense for Costco to provide free samples of products that it's not legally permitted to sell in its store.

What about states where alcohol sales are permitted at Costco, such as California? According to a Costco representative, providing free alcohol samples in some states requires a particular permit, which the chain does not possess. It's likely that the process for obtaining different permits from different states could be complex. It's also possible that the chain wants to avoid liability issues. For instance, accidentally providing alcohol to someone underage could lead to a significant legal hassle. And when you consider that Costco samplers aren't actually employed by the store, managing free alcohol samples becomes even more challenging. While you can't sample a vintage bottle of whisky at U.S. locations, there are plenty of other perks of having a Costco membership to look forward to.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.