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Sam's Club "Taste of Sams" this weekend -- an ethical question

So I received the email and flyer for the Taste of Sams event this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Sam's Club. (LIke a Costco for those of you that don't have them). Basically a ton of free food samples offered from 11 to 6 on those days, with the offerings varying by day and time of day. I don't think I could face the crowds on Saturday or Sunday, but I am off on Friday.

I've looked through the flyer, and many of the offerings seem interesting and/or perhaps something I haven't tried before. However, I am not hosting Thanksgiving or Christmas this year, so I honestly have no expectation that I will be buying much if anything that is being offered in this promotion. But then again, maybe I'll try something so cool that I'll love it and must buy it. I know this is possible, but probably isn't my intention.

Is it wrong to go and sample during this event knowing that I really don't have that much interest in purchasing anything? I kind of feel dirty just thinking about doing it..... yet I'm still thinking about doing it.

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  1. I say, go for it.

    Sure, you might not be buying anything for the holiday, but if you find a product you really like by sampling, you'll probably become a frequent user of that product.

    1. You are under no obligation to buy anything, and even if you dont buy something, you might like something and tell someone else. Positive word of mouth is free advertising for a company, and some of the most effective.

      In my opinion it is no different than someone going for a Time Share weekend, and not buying. Not everyone buys, nor does the merchant expect it.

      1. I don't see much of an ethical dilemma here. Do you feel dirty when you use a coupon or buy something on sale?

        Go ahead and sample, just don't forget your waitstaff. I always tip at least 25% on free samples, but then, I'm kind of a high roller.

        1 Reply
        1. re: DeppityDawg

          I tip about that much too. If it's something I really like, I'll go as high as 50%

          As for the OP, no dilema. It's pretty much the same as watching a commercial for something you have no interest in buying.


        2. Go, have fun. They are getting you into a store where you might end up buy a case of ball point pens.... you will probably purchase something there at some point, if you have fun, you will return. and buy more. I don't see an ethical dilemma whatsoever, on your part.

          1. The demo people are employed by a marketing firm http://asmnet.com/Pages/default.aspx . That firm in turn sells marketing services like this both to the retailers like Sams and the producers. So the samples come courtesy of the advertising budgets of Tyson, Kcup or Starbucks, etc. Taking a sample is as ethical as looking at their ads in a magazine, or watching commercials on TV.

            And they are hiring - if you don't mind spending the shift cooking breaded chicken tenders and smiling. :)

            1. I don't see a problem. Your membership is up to date? They're not doing this in the spirit of the holiday, it's to get folks in the door.

              Even if I weren't planning to buy what they're offering as samples, I doubt I'd get away without dropping a hundred bucks minimum on dog food, TP, etc.

              1. Yeah coming in is exactly what they want you to do, regardless of your intention.

                1. Of course it is ethical to go and sample...they are asking you to do so! They are not asking you to buy anything, are they? That is all up to you. No need to feel guilty. Also, think of it this way: nothing is ever really free. How can they afford to give away all those samples? The cost is built into the membership fees. Do you have a membership to Sam's Club? If so, then you are entitled to the samples without feeling you need to buy something. Enjoy!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ttoommyy

                    If you read the information above the cost is not born by Costco, but the the companies that are contracted by the food manufacturers. So its built into the price of the food, not the membership.

                  2. I don't see an ethical problem here. You shop regularly at Sams. You are curious as to their new food offerings. You may or may not buy within the week. That's what the sampling is for.

                    What does bother me about these samplings are families that gear their lunch around visiting either Sams or Costco so that their kids and family can get fed for free. These are the folks that have no intention of buying. They are not even curious as to the taste or flavor, they just want free samples to get through lunch. You don't seem to fall into that catagory so I don't see a problem.

                    1. Agreed with others - if you set foot through their front door, it's a win in their book.

                      1. cwdonald it is Sam's, not costco.

                        I did just hear a radio add for the sam's event, saying "all are welcome"