Free samples for all!

I am a sucker for free samples. Sam’s Club on a Saturday is one of my favorite places to be. It doesn’t matter what it is, if they put a toothpick through it or put it in one of those tiny white paper cups with an equally tiny plastic tasting spoon, I will gobble it up. I have even been known to sneak back for seconds (or thirds) of something particularly tasty–like the mini cheesecake bites they were passing out a few weeks ago. Ummm…fattening. Now I know Sam’s Club isn’t exactly a pleasant place to be, especially on the weekends when the lines stretch past the clothing isles, but it seems like ever since Super Wal-Mart, Super Target, Super K-Mart and Sam’s Club came into existence, regular grocery stores have given up on samples. I know they used to do it because my mom would take us to the store on Saturdays in order to avoid making us lunch. We’d just wander up and down the isles, sometimes with only two or three items in our cart seeking out crackers with mystery spreads, odd meat on a toothpick and pasta bits with colorful sauces. Those were some of her best lunches.

A few months back my mother, who is always looking for something free, sent me a link to the Wal-Mart sample page. Now, one of the few places in the world I absolutely detest going to is Wal-Mart. It’s not because they are a soul-less corporation who treat their workers more like mindless automatons. It’s not because they have been caught in flagrant violation of OSHA regulations and have discriminatory hiring practices. It’s not even because they require a drug test to run a cash register, although all of these things do annoy the heck out of me. It’s mostly because going to Wal-Mart is one of the most frustrating experiences on the planet. I always get stuck in aisles with people who will not move their carts no matter how many times you politely say “excuse me.” Or I get into one of the three open lanes behind someone who is talking extremely loudly on their cell phone all about their Wal-Mart shopping experience. Or, if I’m really lucky, I get to see a woman out with her three children at 11 pm. For some reason she can’t  understand why they are cranky and loudly threatens them every five seconds with a beating if they don’t “shut the hell up.” When they don’t do as she says, she usually proceeds to actually beat them in the store. My hatred of the place aside, I spend a lot of time there…my family loves it.

Despite all this, they do have one redeeming quality, and that is the free sample page of their website. With a few simple key strokes you can get a myriad of wonderful items sent straight to your mailbox. All you have to give them is your name and address. No email address, no forms to fill out, no extra mail in your mailbox, just marvelous samples that arrive 1-6 weeks later in the mail. So far I have gotten three different kinds of mini-deodorants, two kinds of laundry detergent, five different hair products, two feminine hygiene products, allergy tablets, greeting cards, calcium chews and four different skin products. My favorite sample so far has been of the new Oil of Olay Definity face moisturizer. It was amazing! My skin felt awesome and the sample lasted me for an entire week. I was absolutely convinced I had to have it…until I saw the $22 price tag. Oh well.

The best part about all of these free samples is that if I ever do decide to buy something I get in the mail, I don’t have to go to Wal-Mart to get it! I can shop at a store I actually like. They may think they’ll get my business with all those free samples, but I’ve got them fooled. Suckers! Excuse me, I my hands feel a little dry, I think I’ll go use my latest lotion sample–guaranteed to give me smoother hands in only two days! 

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