Would you like a free sample?”

There is not a phrase that brings me more joy and satisfaction as those tiny words about tiny things.

I don’t care if the samples are nibbles at the big box store on a Saturday while I graze my way through the bulk goods, or if it is a lotion that promises to fill my crow’s feet. All free samples have a great value to me and my sense of satisfaction.

Please note that the overly aggressive kiosk sales person at the mall who wants to talk to me about my skin care regimen does not qualify. Such an interaction isn’t free … that is my TIME and my TIME is valuable. You see, I could be eating free Swedish Meatballs at Costco, and not uttering anything other than “yes, please” and “thank you”. Which is a much better use of my time than sitting on a stool in the middle of a mall while passersby are staring at me while I am having a full-blown panic attack worrying that I will have to pay $527 for a home Botox Kit in order to be released from mall-kiosk purgatory.

Some would say that “a free sample is a free sample” and it’s easy to say “no” to the kiosk charlatan. However, I prefer the age-proven technique of kiosk-avoidance. I do such by faking a phone call and not making eye-contact. As an added element, I typically have my phone to one ear and flail my opposite arm around while speaking loudly about something completely arbitrary and wildly unappealing, “I am telling you, Francine that is not how you lance a boil! You are going to get an infection, and I am NOT taking you to urgent care again! I’m still on a three-a-day application of ointment from the last time I took you there and was exposed to conjunctivitis!”

I mean, really, who would want to talk to that person about anything?

The appeal of the truly free sample is this: it’s a bonus. It means your day ends at least one rung higher than it could have ended even if everything went the right way. So this is the + to your A, the cherry on the sundae, the found scratch ticket for $2 that a buys you a scratch ticket that wins you $100! I realize I’m grasping at straws here, but the free sample is … simply … awesome.

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Sure, there have been some free samples that haven’t turned quite right … who could forget the lip plumping gloss that turned me into a wide mouth bass 13 seconds after I applied it, and made my teeth and gums itch? That was not fun, but a 1/2 gallon of milk helped it all get under control. But, the way I saw it was, “Hey, at least you didn’t spend MONEY on that!!” See? A+!

Some of you have invested in a subscription service where you get a box of samples each month. This troubles me, because you are paying for the samples rather than get them as the good lord intended … FOR FREE, but I get it, you would like to have the feeling that someone is hand picking you a box of samples, selected based on your personality, eye color and Myers Briggs Type. If this brings you joy, then DO IT. I am not going to judge you as to how you get the miniature skin highlighter and body oil, I am just going to be happy that you are happy.

If you ever have the opportunity to give out free samples, do it. I have and it’s a case study in how we, as humans, can rarely take anything at face value. It is an amazing opportunity to not only potentially make people happy, but it is also a test your communication skills. This is my actually experience in a nutshell:

“Hello, may I interest you in a free ice cream sandwich?”

“How much?”

“It’s free!”

“Well in that case … YES!”

Now, the person who got the ice cream sandwich is happy, and I’m happier. WIN-WIN!!

So, the next time you have a chance to take a bite of a free piece of small batch caramel or a free container of eye liner, remember, this is something you were meant to have. Don’t turn your back on it. It will change you, and possibly the person who gave it to you.









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