• Thousands of former sample servers in Costco stores are being laid off, according to a BuzzFeed News report.
  • A third-party company, Club Demonstration Services, handles Costco’s product demonstrations in certain countries. A notice on the company’s website said it would “temporarily cease operations, effective April 6, 2020.”
  • After Costco pulled free food samples from many of its stores across the globe in March, the former sample servers shifted to roles cleaning and sanitizing carts and shelves for the last four weeks.
  • The employees were notified that their last day at Costco would be Sunday.
  • CDS did not return Business Insider’s request for comment. Costco declined to comment.
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Thousands of former sample servers in Costco stores have been laid off, according to a BuzzFeed News report.

Club Demonstration Services is the third-party company that handles Costco’s product demonstrations in certain countries and is responsible for paying these employees. As of Thursday morning, a notice on the CDS website said it would “temporarily cease operations, effective April 6, 2020.”

After Costco pulled its free food samples from many of its stores across the globe as a precaution against spreading the coronavirus, the retailer paid CDS to keep employing the workers to do other jobs like sanitizing the warehouse stores for the last four weeks.

Costco reportedly notified store managers on Monday that the chain would no longer employ the sample servers in its stores.

“Over the past 4 weeks you have all partnered with our CDS teams to increase warehouse sanitation for our members and employees,” Ron Vachris, Costco’s chief operating officer, wrote on March 30, according to BuzzFeed News. “As our traffic in the warehouses has slowed due to various state directives, we will assume these duties with Costco employees effective April 6th.”

Before the layoffs, about 30,000 CDS employees were employed at Costco stores around the world, 70% of which were in the US, a Costco representative previously confirmed. Under normal circumstances, Costco sample servers were paid by CDS to present and hand out samples of products.

Vachris said that the plan was to resume sample serving in stores as soon as possible, BuzzFeed News reported.

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CDS did not return Business Insider’s request for comment. Costco declined to comment.

A 69-year-old CDS worker in a Utah Costco store told Business Insider that she was notified of the layoffs on Tuesday and was told she could reapply for the position in the future.

“I guess I kind of knew that it was coming,” she said.