Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

You Tried It, You Bought It


Chris Amirault
 Share

Recommended Posts

^ Richard, I couldn't agree more. I love Central Market with a passion and think it is much, much better than the Whole Foods here in Houston. (We should have a thread just for "Things that you love at Central Market." Heh.) One of my favorite things: their olive oil tastings. I truly didn't believe there could be such a huge difference between olive oils (from within the same region even) until I experienced Central Market.

Going back to the topic at hand, one of the (many) things I love about Central Market is that they seem to genuinely *want* you to taste things in order to cultivate your palate and your tastes. From a business standpoint, it's smart because they know they'll get you addicted and coming back from more. But, even apart from that, I think they genuinely want you to try new things and be surprised.

Have I mentioned that I adore Central Market with a passion? :raz:

"There are dogs, and then there are German Shepherds.... "- Unknown

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Trader Joe's often gives samples of things made from their mixes and convenience foods and only rarely do I buy those. I often get ideas for things to make from scratch. I often have samples when I'm in there for something else, like milk. Sometimes I make a mental note in case it's something I might want later. I do get coffee from TJ's even when I'm not buying anything, I'm ashamed to say. They do have samples every day, and so does CostCo. QFC only does it on weekends, but it's usually something really good,like steak, or else a new product they're trying to interest people in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

People have a complex set of social reciprocity norms that lead to an almost reflexive response. The use of samples by vendors is based on one of these, the principle of reciprocity. If someone gives you something you feel obliged to do something in return. It's the same principle that made that Hare Krishna's wealthy giving out flowers or stickers in return for a, typically much higher value, cash donation.

To avoid it, you can either refuse the sample, as a number of people have mentioned above or be aware that they are trying to persuade you and enjoy the sample whilst basking in your own ability to detect a con. The latter is harder than it sounds and may leave you with an uneasy feeling.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gosh, I had no idea that the 'free sample' issue was so complex for so many. I figure that first of all, the companies figure the cost of the samples into the end price of the product. It's advertising.

Also, because we eat so sparingly in terms of buying prepared foods, many of the samples in Costco are things we have never tried before and I'm interested in trying new bits in case something really good emerges...like Mary's Organic Crackers...which I simply love now. Or their cashews which Ed likes.

We don't normally buy pre-made egg rolls or pirogis or hummus or salsa or that sort of thing, but it's nice to know when you can count on a useful product when you run out of time. This way we get to try the product before we commit ourselves to several dollars' worth. The Costco container of cashews costs about $11.00. A fair exchange I think.

Or, at least, that's how it works for me.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I sample at a cheese shop or a deli, or if a shop like Fairway puts out six types of olive oil for comparison, or apple slices or honey at a farmers' market, but I'm not interested in sampling processed food products at a supermarket.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I get suckered into this often at Asian markets that have lots of sample tables on the weekend. I eat a dumpling or a mini cup of udon soup and am told what a great sale it is today and often cave. The product is usually decent but I think I operate under a possible misconception that the company is tracking the sales and that the sweet ladies working the tables may be judged on the sales figures.

Some sample people are judged by sale figures. They get bonuses, or their hours are determined by how much they sell. I know that's true at Costco; those sample ladies are not paid by the store but by the vendors, through the demo company. That doesn't mean I'm about to buy stuff I don't want, but I would think twice about wasting a sample person's time letting them chat me up when I know I'm not going to buy anything from them.

I have bought a lot of things because of samples. It's how I discovered the insanely delicious vegetable-flavored tofu at Super H Mart. My favorite sample experience was at Foodstuffs, a suburban Chicago chain. I asked what a new kind of beer tasted like; the counter person opened a bottle and we both tasted it. I'm leery of samples that are just left out on the sales floor, though. God knows how many people have touched then. Oh, and I won't touch food if I can't wash my hands after.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I rarely get suckered into buying a product that I sample at supermarkets. Come to think of it I have bought the last two things that I've sampled... actually, the last 3 things. Chocolate covered Oreos, turkey bacon (which I was against, being a pork fan), and Chicken sausage with pesto and mozzarella cheese. Apparently, I am a sucker.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...