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sampling at whole foods


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has anyone ever sampled so much food at a fancy grocery store that they were asked to stop?

i was at the local whole foods today and was very tempted to make a meal out of the freebies. i'd like to say it was my conscience that stopped me but it was probably fear of embarassment. oh yeah, my wife too.

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I double sampled something at Whole Foods a few months ago and then made the comment to a WF employee that it was so good that I could probably make a meal out of it but most likely would be asked to leave before I did so. So replied, "No, actually you *could* do that." I asked her if she was kidding and she said no.

I guess just the fear of appearing to be a freeloading hog makes us not do that. At least it works for me. :laugh:

Celine

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This reminds me of an episode of the Simpsons (not that I am comparing anyone to Homer!)...

In one of our local excellent providors (Simon Johnson in Sydney), they not only encourage you to sample the oils, vinegars, cheese (under their supervision), they provide you with superb coffee to go with. Now that is a food selling trend I can get behind!

cheers

Maliaty

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i wonder if they'd draw the line at people taking the bread sample over to the cheese and deli sample areas and making sample sandwiches.

i triple sampled the marinated sweet red peppers today.

I went so many circuits of Costco with a NZ lamb demonstration going on that I'm pretty certain the security was summoned. It was THAT good. But Costco is definitely the undisputed ruler for sampling here.

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I don't have a Costco anywhere near me. :sad: But Sam's on a Saturday isn't too shabby.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Sam's is good. I never had a Costco till I got up here. But Sam's gets down with their samples, too. I used to make two trips a month from Weatherford to the one on Cherry Lane in Fort Worth. They always gave out skinny slices of pizza at that kiosk. Yum.

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I never sample. Who knows where that food has been, who touched it, coughed on it, blew it out their nostril, etc.

Course, that could happen at any restaurant, and I do like to eat out. It could even be true at Sunday's Pie Potluck, but I will sample most everything.

To sum up, there's no method to my madness. But I don't sample.

Edited by MHesse (log)

--mark

Everybody has Problems, but Chemists have Solutions.

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When Fresh Fields first opened, they had baskets and baskets of their bread slice/bites all laid out to sample. You had to practically get in line to taste them. It was nothing to see people go from basket to basket and end up with a meal - including me.

They are now Whole Foods, but the free meal finally eased off. But the taste experience paid off and their 7-Grain bread is a 'must buy' whenever I go there.

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Whole Foods is really great with the samples, having covers for them and always providing trash and toothpicks. I never feel awkward eating their samples.

The ones I avoid involve dipping. Who indeed knows where that's been and who had double dipped.

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If the food is placed out in small batches or seperate containers, with a store employee sitting there watching and regularly replacing them, I'll consider samples. Stew Leonard's in Connecticut and New York do this, as do a lot of smaller gourmet markets I've seen. They don't just plop down a bucket of samples and walk away--something I've seen all the time at Whole Foods.

Surprisingly, I also recall a HyVee Supermarket, in Missouri, doing the monitored samples thing too... although it was just cheese.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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i wonder if they'd draw the line at people taking the bread sample over to the cheese and deli sample areas and making sample sandwiches.

i triple sampled the marinated sweet red peppers today.

I went so many circuits of Costco with a NZ lamb demonstration going on that I'm pretty certain the security was summoned. It was THAT good. But Costco is definitely the undisputed ruler for sampling here.

I was once asked "to remember that others would like to smaple the lamb as well" :shock:

Trying the free samples at WF makes a great snack. A few peices of cheese, some bread with butter, a few pieces of fruit and I am set until dinner.

True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

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This thread would have made a great Seinfeld episode plot....

I went into the new Whole Foods south of Market in San Francisco and sampled several different cheeses- didn't feel at all guilty because I ended up purchasing $44 worth of cheese! The reason stores provide samples is so people buy more stuff! It works! It's a win-win situation.

Roz

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Farmer's markets are great for samples. Went to the Dallas farmer's market (which probably shouldn't have the word "farmer" in it, since I don't think there are many actual producers selling their stuff there) and they practically shove the samples down your throat. I think they work as timeshare sales people in Mexico in the off-season.

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Don't get me started...

Samples are great. I work in a grocery store and have been on both sides of the sample table. We love customers who stop, actually take the time to taste the product and give their opinion. It's excellent feedback for us and , as you say, a great way to get product in their mouths. Even if you don't buy this time, you'll remember what you had and most likely will come back for it some day. Most people are polite and gracious: some even say thank you!

The other side of the table, however! Keep in mind that all our demos are manned. I've had customers reach over the table to the product to try to help themselves with their fingers....customers who ask, "What's that?" even though there is a 5x7 tabletop sign giving ALL the details....customers who take something in their mouths, spit it back into the cup and hand it back to me because it was too spicy/too bland/too weird/. Customers who take 4 or 5 because they "have someone in another department who'd just love to try this"(!) And taking first prize is the customer who took offense at a demo person's request to please not take take product in her hands, please wait to be served, and swept everything off the table with her arm and stormed off.

Hey: it's a job!

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While I enjoy free samples, I fear for the germ factor. I'm trying an experiment this winter...washing my hands often, and not eating any sample foods in stores. Amazingly enough, I haven't been sick at all! (No, I didn't have a flu shot, either). This is a change from previous winters, so I'm sticking with it.

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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I work in a grocery store and have been on both sides of the sample table. We love customers who stop, actually take the time to taste the product and give their opinion. It's excellent feedback for us and , as you say, a great way to get product in their mouths. Even if you don't buy this time, you'll remember what you had and most likely will come back for it some day. Most people are polite and gracious: some even say thank you!

foodie, while I don't doubt the sincere desire of the supermarket to relate and promote goodwill with their customers, what exactly are the other benefits of sampling to them? I know it isn't to help decide who gets better shelf space, because the requirement for slotting fees (another deep dark supermarket topic worthy of eG discussion--I've heard slotting described as "organized extortion") makes sure that isn't possible. Are these sampled products simply ones which have already been slotted into a great display and this is a value added service of that to the food broker? Or are the samplings indepedant of anything like that (as far as you know, I mean)?

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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....customers who take something in their mouths, spit it back into the cup and hand it back to me because it was too spicy/too bland/too weird/.

OK, that bypasses rude and goes right to disgusting.

I usually sample, and frequently buy what I've sampled - which is the point of putting them out, right?

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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I love sample day. At any store. I have a few friends who make a total habit of WF sample day. That's what they eat, all day. I usually don't dip. But I love it when they have olives out!

Noise is music. All else is food.

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My favorite place for samples is the Aji Ichiban Japanese candy store. They usually have little dishes of samples in front of all the bins, which the staff are always encouraging people to take, especially the items that some of us are not quite brave enough to try.

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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I think they work as timeshare sales people in Mexico in the off-season.

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Some of you will be interested to know that:

At slightly less than 60,000 square feet, the Whole Foods supermarket opening on Feb. 5 in the new Time Warner Center will be the largest supermarket in Manhattan.

They, too, will give samples of many products.

For a link to the full article in the January 21 New York Times, click here. (You may have to scroll down to the appropriate spot.)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I've addressed slotting on aonther board...

Meat and seafood departments sample products that are new ( a new flavor of sausage for example,) or , say, seabass if a large shipment has come in and they need to move it fairly quickly. The point is for customers to taste the product. Lots of people are afraid to cook fish. A seafood employee will usually be pan-searing the fish, after a brief time in one of our marinades.

Bakery has samples of almost all of their breads available all the time. Again, it educates our customers as to what is available.

Specialty Foods is a whole 'nother ballgame. That's where I work. Sampling can be because of a number of reasons, but it's usually because we have a lot of a particular product and it needs to get moving. We may have bought two pallets of Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki marinade. One pallet is stacked along the wall in the Meat Market.That space is precious and needs to pay for itself. Hence the demo. The point is to move product! You have no idea how many products sit on the shelf, collecting dust because people don't know how it tastes. Again, I addressed this on the slotting thread. We've had a number of vendors who had a good idea for a product, say, a bbq sauce. They'll spend thousands developing a recipe, producing the product, getting it into the store and then drop the ball. I can't sell something unless I've tasted it. Either THEY come and do a few demos or their product dies.

I do know that the place I work is unique in that we are all about customer education. Our customers are hungry for new products and get excited about them. But you're not gonna pay 6.99 for a grilling sauce unless you've tasted it, OR have been convinced by someone who HAS tasted it ( ie: me ).

Manufacturers have the option to pay an independent demo company to demo their products. We get them in the store, but they are not as effective as the maker of the product. If you are selling your product through a broker/vendor, then you have to make arrangements for your product to be demo'd. Our best-selling items are the ones that are demo'd by the manufacturer. A salsa producer from Austin can come into the store at 10 am on a Saturday, demo all day and sell through about 7-8 cases of product. We all benefit from this.

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