Yesterday, while walking through my local corner store, I noticed a woman giving away free bites of pie in the household cleaner section. So, like any normal person, I pretended to buy Lysol even though I had two jugs at home.
When I approached the gray-haired pie queen, she smiled sweetly. “Dear, would you like a Key Lime pie sample?”
I inspected the sample in the plastic mini-cup. It looked delicious, but I didn’t want to look too desperate. “I guess,” I smiled as if I were doing HER a favor. I thanked her, and then I gobbled the pie in one swallow as soon as I was out of her vision.
I’ll go out of my way to get free samples. Partly because I always feel badly for the person trying to sell the product. But mostly because I simply love to eat. At the deli counter, I’ll always get a free slice of smoked turkey while I wait for the attendant to slice the rest of the order. At the bar, I’ll always taste the new lager on tap. At the farmer’s market, I’ll taste vegetables that I can’t even pronounce.
And then there’s the gold star of sample shopping: Williams-Sonoma. While other friends warn me of the germs which might linger on shared bowls of free samples, I let it go. Even if I am not in the hunt for overpriced soup ladles, I’ll make a pit stop for some free hot cocoa samples. Sweet and Sour Meatballs? I’ll make my way around the Le Creuset crockware twice if it means I can have a second helping. Artichoke Dip? I’ll find the largest cracker to soak up the sauce. Pumpkin Latte? I don’t even drink coffee, but I’ll still slurp it down. Williams-Sonoma has probably fed me more snacks than the food court.
Occasionally I buy the product I’m sampling. Chances are if I want a second helping, I’ll buy the whole pie. And even if I don’t like the sample, I’m always polite. I always want to give something back to the hand that feeds me. (And yes, right now, I am eating Key Lime Pie. That gray-haired lady made at least one sale to a very happy customer.)