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Free Samples: Love 'em or hate 'em?

When I was a kid, I loved getting "stuff" in the mail. Back then, oil companies had the coolest stickers and if you sent them a self-addressed stamped envelope, they would send them for free. I don't even know why I loved the stickers since I didn't even drive back then.

The Sunday newspapers are good for free samples of cereal and laundry detergent. I eat the cereal but can't remember when I actually bought the cereal.

It's a jungle at the department store when you walk through the cosmetic section. Everyone wants to spritz you with the latest fragrance. Better yet, when you do buy something, they give you all these samples of other fragrances. They come in handy but I can't remember buying anything after sampling them.

Magazines are good for sampling too. There used to be real fragrance samples now they use fold over strips. Does anyone actually rip them open and smell the paper?

Sephora gives its customers up to five samples to select from when placing an order. Even we give out samples of Biofreeze and other items.

I think the most popular sampling is food. When I go to Costco, I use one of those orange carts and when I pass by the sampling stations, I have to dodge carts, people, strollers and who knows what else. These people are crazy! It's like they haven't eaten since 2007. I think if they sampled dog biscuits, people would eat them. The poor workers never have enough samples to hand out. But I do know that the stacks of food to buy stay intact.

So the $100 question of the day is: Does sampling work? And why do people love samples so much?

Happy Friday!


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