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Aug 25, 2013 04:15 PM

Sampling Rules to Live By

1. Take one. This is not a meal.
2. After taking one, step aside to allow others access.
3. If there are tongs/spoons/toothpicks, use them.
4. Don't double dip, or use toothpicks twice.
5. Make sure your kids observe all the above.
6. If there are others waiting, don't engage the sampling person in long-winded conversation. Especially vital when person is pouring alcohol and needs to pay attention to others who are not you.

Your rules?

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  1. My one rule is for the establishment offering the free samples:
    Keep your sampling area clean and appealing looking. Take pride in what you are doing, especially if you want customers to buy what they are sampling.
    So often I see unappealing, dirty displays. Turns me off completely.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ttoommyy

      Great one about keeping it clean and replenished. Dirty unkempt displays not only turn me off from the product, but from shopping there at all.

      Another for the person giving samples: Distill your pitch down to 20 seconds. Yeah I get how unique your artisanal micro-distilled beet-infused vodka is, I really do. I just don't have time for your 30-minute dissertation on every blessed detail on how it's created!

      Concerned this thread may be in vain, as anyone bothering to read it probably isn't the culprit!

      1. re: Leonardo

        I'm sure that's a script that they're required to recite. I doubt they have much freedom with those types of demonstrations.

        1. re: evenworse

          Often if it's a really small business hawking the product, it's the actual owner doing samples. A case of too much pride & not enough objective perspective.

    2. Great post, you reminded me of many a comical moment in the grocery store watching the adults and kids alike eating samples like it's dinner.

      1. 7. If you park your shopping cart so it's blocking the aisle while you browse the munchies, don't be surprised if I put more stuff in your cart while you're not looking.

        4 Replies
        1. re: ricepad

          If available in your location, the institutional size box of prophylactics and a gallon tub o' Vasoline are a good choice for this. And maybe a few packs of reddi-whip. People blocking the aisle really irk me.

          1. re: Coogles

            Sadly, I don't normally think that far ahead. I usually just grab whatever is closest to add to the cart. At Costco recently, one guy got an assortment of magazines and women's sport socks.

            1. re: ricepad

              How fun for the store employee who then has to put them back! That's the only person you're really sticking it to.

              (Is saying "excuse me" really so much harder?)

          2. Basic common courtesy both to others around you and the poor soul doling out the bites.

            I was at Costco a couple months ago and they were sampling smoked salmon. There was a crowd around the table. I saw multiple people ordering the guy to put more salmon on their 1/16th bagel like they were paying for it. One old white dude grabbed a sample and made a huffy grunting noise at the guy while shaking the thing towards him. After the vultures cleared the round and dissipated, there was one left sitting on the table with this lady hovering over it. As I passed by, I asked if it was hers. "Yes.", she said a little snappily, "I'm just waiting for him to put some more fish on it." while rolling her eyes as if he was incompetent.

            I don't blame the guy for taking the path of least resistance and just doing as they requested (demanded) without comment, but damn, I seriously felt for dude because he was really being treated like shit.

            10 Replies
            1. re: evenworse

              " One old white dude..." Just curious. Why?

              1. re: ttoommyy

                Why was he white, or old, or male, or combination of the three?

                I dunno. Genetics, time, Y chromosome.

                1. re: evenworse

                  Why mention it. Seems like it had nothing to do with the story.

                  1. re: ttoommyy

                    Just a descriptor. Doesn't have to be taken as some sort of diss.

                    The lady who rolled her eyes was white, too. Didn't mention that until now.

                      1. re: evenworse

                        My query had nothing to do with a "dis." I just thought I was missing something. Simple as that.

                2. re: evenworse

                  "old white dude" Yeah, we're a troublesome lot.

                  1. re: evenworse

                    Yeah, the vultures at CostCo crack me. Crowding around the samples trying to get a free light lunch out of them. Heck, go to the Food Court upfront and get your hot dog and soda for a $1.50 and don’t be so cheap.

                    1. re: evenworse

                      I know there's a group of older residents in SLO that takes trips to Costco solely to make rounds at the sample tables. Nothing else. At least they're getting some semblance of exercise since Costcos are gigantic.

                      1. re: breadwinner

                        It's like mall walking with hors d'oeuvres.

                    2. Unless it's a wine tasting, don't sample. You never know whose grubby, disease-ridden hands have touched the samples.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: beevod

                        Then I guess you should not eat in restaurants either!