- Costco stores have been overrun over the past few days as shoppers stock up on goods to prepare for the spread of the coronavirus.
- Photographs on social media show long lines stretching outside the door and bare shelves in some areas of the store.
- Despite the panic, some onlookers have been quick to point out that some shoppers are still unable to resist the lure of Costco’s free samples in stores.
- “Nice to see the thousands of doomsday idiots wiping out everything in Costco preparing for the end of the world by coronavirus and at the same time standing in line and elbowing each other to eat all the free samples left out in the open,” one person wrote on Twitter.
- A spokesperson for Costco did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on whether it would no longer serve samples in stores. Trader Joe’s recently changed its policies for the handing out of samples.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Over the past few days, social media has been lit up with images and videos of rammed Costco stores across North America as panicked shoppers stock up on supplies to prepare for the spread of the coronavirus.
One Reddit user joked: “Forget Black Friday…it’s coronavirus Sunday! The best shopping of the year,” as images of empty shelves and long lines were passed around the internet.
But despite the apocalypse-style level of preparation and the fear over the spread of the virus, some onlookers were quick to observe that certain shoppers were still unable able to resist the lure of Costco’s tasty samples in its stores while they stocked up.
Nice to see the thousands of doomsday idiots wiping out everything in Costco preparing for the end of the world by coronavirus and at the same time standing in line and elbowing each other to eat all the free samples left out in the open. pic.twitter.com/7AxLsnw2aS
— Gene Valaitis (@genevalaitis) March 4, 2020
Let's examine the ignorance of our citizens…people are freaking out going all apocalyptic at Costco… Buying up all the water and toilet paper… then taking free samples of food offered! Duuuumb!
— Yolanda Hayes (@Yolanda43596655) March 5, 2020
God bless the 100% of people doomsday prepping at Costco right now and still eating the little food samples sitting out for everyone to touch!
— Maureen Beat (@artxltd) March 4, 2020
The people buying out everything at Costco because they’re scared of Corona, are the same ones who loop around 5 times to eat samples off of trays 200 other people have touched ????
— ☼ Danela ☼ (@Danelakovacevic) March 4, 2020
People will wash their hands to avoid coronavirus but will slurp down community Costco samples like the last supper
— intellectual spice, PhD (@courtsuzsand) March 5, 2020
Costco is known for handing out free samples of products sold in its stores. The idea is that customers try a product they otherwise wouldn’t have and hopefully are encouraged to make a purchase.
There are countless memes and comments about its samples online with shoppers bragging that they can make an entire free meal out of them.
But with the spread of coronavirus, others are pointing out the potential risks to tucking into these mini snacks, which are usually presented in individual plastic cases but displayed out in the open.
While there is no evidence to suggest that people can be infected with coronavirus through food, the virus does spread from person-to-person either by being in close contact with one another or through respiratory droplets. You can also catch it by touching infected surfaces or objects which puts Costco’s samples at risk.
A spokesperson for Costco did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment to confirm whether it would be changing its policies on samples. But a policy change likely wouldn’t be completely out of the question.
Business Insider’s Kate Taylor and Hayley Peterson reported on Thursday that Trader Joe’s had addressed its own policies for employees handing out samples. Under its new set of rules, employees are required to serve samples directly to shoppers rather than presenting them on large plates. Moreover, customers must use a spoon or fork to pick up the sample rather than using their hands.