I feel like I've been throwing out a lot of full throttle hate over the past couple days, so I'm going to tone it down a bit today with a group that is just slightly annoying. It's not even their fault really and I understand that, but I've never had a healthy relationship with these people. If you hadn't guessed it by now, of course I am referring to "the sample givers" of the grocery world. Proudly retiring from retirement to strap on a hair net and some rubber gloves to convince us via guilt and trickery that we must by what they are selling.
Let me begin by telling you that I have had a long history with this group of people. I have been going shopping with my mother since I was just a young tike. I was a pretty responsible young fellow, so from time to time my mother would let me wander the store aisles alone in search of.... well, food I guess, lucky me right? On many of these journeys I would run into our apron-ed friends, "the sample giver". There they stood hunched over in their food-prep fortress, kings and queens of the kiosks I liked to call them (not true). They believed that for 6 hours a day they were gods of the end-cap, because I cant remember one of them that would give me a taste without a parent present. (I mean come on people, this isn't a rated R movie, I'm not trying to by cigarettes, I just want to taste that damn microwaveable weenie that you're pushing so hard on everyone else). I'm nine years old ma'am, that means I'm in third grade, I know cursive, I've kissed a girl (on the lips), I've seen a boob on those scrambled TV channels, and here I am being denied food that is made for my age group. What gives? I know I don't have any money, but I am the one who convinces my parents what they should buy, don't you know that's what children are for?... When my mom finally would catch up with me, of course she allowed me to partake in the weenie eating, (I chose weenies for obvious reasons) I would stand right there in front of the "sample giver" as I seductively swallowed my sample. I'd ask for another, and then decide that I didn't like them enough to give up the Goldfish my mom had already picked out for my snack. Then I'd walk away giving one last glare at the woman with the gloves... I knew then that our relationship would never be anything less than awkward...
Fast forward to now. You here yet? OK. I'm 25 years old, and have still not fully recovered a functional relationship with "the sample givers". Obviously, they have to give me samples now, I'm a big boy, and if they ever question it, of course mommy is still on speed dial to give permission. The reason that our relationship is still a bit rocky is that now they have perfected the guilt approach. They stand there acting like they have been slaving over some hot stove for hours, or that the product is their very own. Every time I sample these days I try and do it at the same time as someone else so that I don't have to look them directly in the eyes. If I can get in, get my weenie, and get out, I consider it a successful trip. (Yes, that is in fact what she said.)... When I leave a window of opportunity, they pretty much can guilt me in to anything.
Normally I'm a hard sell when it comes to anything, but I think its the combo of old people and food that tugs on my heart. In fact, about a month ago I was at the grocery store with my girlfriend when we decided to sample some lovely dips on sourdough bread. They were indeed delicious so I thought what the heck, lets see how much it is. The lady proceeds to tell me that the shit was $8.97 and I'm thinking to myself, holy balls, that's steep, but this woman had the perfect attack. First, she kept offering different me flavors, she was gonna make sure I worked her to death so I'd feel guilty enough to buy, and second she was working on my girl. Now that's smart, but evil, if we were married, I'd be like ha ha ha sure 9 bucks for some dip, guess who's not getting dinner. But since we're not at that stage yet, I've still got to appear that nothing is too rich for me. So, I bought the stuff, it was good, I'd love to endorse it but cant remember the brand. I just kept thinking to myself, I've got a cart full of stuff here and 1/3 of the cost is a dip! Congrats "sample lady" you got me again.
Not only do they intimidate me, and force me to buy things I don't need, that's right force. They also manage to make me feel awkward, which by reading my blogs you should realize it takes quite a bit to do that. When going up to sample I always feel as though I have intruded on a dinner party and I am under dressed. Or, if they are still cooking, microwaving, cutting, or in any way still preparing the food I become instantly furious, like they should have it ready when I get there. I'm American damn it. What about when they are out of samples? That's the worst. You are walking around the store ready to eat your arm and you see a stand at the end of the aisle, you rush down there to claim your prize and low and behold they are wrapping up for the day. You lose. What a crock of crap this is, its like being invited to a birthday party and when you show up all the pizza is gone, you spend the next hour searching all the boxes just to see if there was some small or defective piece that no one wanted, you'd even settle for a piece with a bite out of it. You don't even like the kid whose birthday it is, you just wanted some free pizza and now you're out of luck. Ya, its just like that... Then when you do get food, other than the whole being guilted into buying situation I always feel like I should tip them or something. Or at least make a comment about the food, mmm that was nice... your recipe?... ah, stupid question I can see you just stuck them in the microwave, I'm leaving.
I don't know the whole concept is just amazing and silly to me at the same time. Free food- thumbs up, but when its being given away by snooty WWII veterans- thumbs down. This is why I have taken to my own method of sampling. You see, if there is a new product on the shelf that I'd like to try, I just do it. I find the darkest corner of the store and pop whatever it is open and have a few bites, this way no one is watching, and no one can guilt me into a purchase. If I don't like it, I just hide it on a shelf, chances are they'll think its some kid, grocery stores get to write off defective and opened stuff, I don't feel that bad. If I do like it though, I don't wanna look like the crazy guy buying an open bag of chips, so I still hide them, and then go find a new bag. Everyone is happy, I got a cost effective product that I know I like, and I didn't have to deal with the "sample giver". OK, maybe I'm the only one who's happy, but that's really all that counts isn't it?