Author Topic: Sampling or Stealing? (Update p.5 #68)  (Read 12749 times)

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taffywduck

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Re: Sampling or Stealing?
« Reply #60 on: March 10, 2013, 11:22:22 PM »
As far as the original question is concerned, I think it's fine to take a few samples and not end up buying anything. I mean, if you don't like anything that you try and none of the basics it would just be wasteful to buy any just to dump it in the trash.

If you were doing this every day I think it would be rude, or at least perceived as rude and taking advantage of the store, but if it's once in a while to see the new flavors, I see no harm in that.

Now, the fig story reminded me about the time my parents took my older DD (3yo) to the grocery store and she proudly exclaimed she had ate 4 plums. I saw my mom put some plums in the fridge so I started telling DD that, of course, all four plums could be hers as long as she didn't waste them... but no, she really meant that she had already had 4 plums. So I asked my mom if DD meant she had had the time to consume the fruits in the car on the way back home (a 5 minutes ride) and my mom finally fessed up.

They had fed her the plums (4!!!!!!!) while shopping, with my dad cleverly hiding the pits throughout the store. Dad was SO proud of himself and got really defensive when he noticed how upset I looked. Apparently it is "normal" to "sample" fruits and he always did it (it's true, I remember being mortified as a child to see him eat grapes in the store and not buy any). My mom was justifying the deed by saying that they had bought some plums, but they are sold by the weight... in essence, my child was fed stolen goods! Plus, there are only 2 grocery stores in my town,that one is the most convenient for me and everyone knows everyone... sigh.

She's not been back at the store with them since. I was really relieved the next few times we went grocery shopping because DD didn't throw a fit to eat things before we paid for them, which was really something I was afraid of. Guess she noticed how upset I got because of the stupid plums!

So, sampling a few flavors of ice cream in the hope of finding a new favorite? Fine.

Feeding (almost) half a dozen fruit to a kid and hide the "proof" around the store for the employees to find? Not so much.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: Sampling or Stealing?
« Reply #61 on: March 11, 2013, 12:20:28 AM »
I agree with posters who say that sampling 5 flavours is "pushing it". That said, if you normally buy something there, I don't think it's such a big deal.

Generally, if I'm sampling several flavours (eg more than 2-3) I normally buy the "least worst" one. Otherwise I feel like I've taken advantage.

Winterlight

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Re: Sampling or Stealing?
« Reply #62 on: March 11, 2013, 09:48:53 AM »
I am very interested in this conversation and opinions...

Saturday I went into a froyo store looking to buy a sugar free flavor - they didn't have any so I had a tiny sample of Cake Batter flavor. 

Now I knew I wasn't going to buy a sugared yogurt but just wanted a taste -wasn't I stealing?

Since you might have changed your mind if you really liked it, I think it's fine.
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Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
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miranova

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Re: Sampling or Stealing?
« Reply #63 on: March 11, 2013, 11:11:30 AM »
Aeris's whole post conveys my opinion on the situation.

The only thing I want to add is, I don't understand the idea that you can afford yogurt if you really really like it, but you can't afford it if you only sort of like it.  How would your bank account know the difference?  Either you can afford a yogurt on a given day or you can't.  Now whether or not you want to spend the money is a different story, maybe that's what you meant.

magicdomino

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Re: Sampling or Stealing?
« Reply #64 on: March 11, 2013, 12:14:26 PM »
Aeris's whole post conveys my opinion on the situation.

The only thing I want to add is, I don't understand the idea that you can afford yogurt if you really really like it, but you can't afford it if you only sort of like it.  How would your bank account know the difference?  Either you can afford a yogurt on a given day or you can't.  Now whether or not you want to spend the money is a different story, maybe that's what you meant.

I think I understand it.  It's like trying to decide if a cookie is worth the calories.  The enjoyment of eating a fantastic cookie is worth the excess fat and calories.  A mediocre cookie provides less enjoyment at the cost of the same amount of fat and calories.  If you are limiting the amount of high-caloric, low nutrition things that you eat, you don't want to "spend" them on something that is barely worth the effort of chewing it.

miranova

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Re: Sampling or Stealing?
« Reply #65 on: March 11, 2013, 01:05:35 PM »
Aeris's whole post conveys my opinion on the situation.

The only thing I want to add is, I don't understand the idea that you can afford yogurt if you really really like it, but you can't afford it if you only sort of like it.  How would your bank account know the difference?  Either you can afford a yogurt on a given day or you can't.  Now whether or not you want to spend the money is a different story, maybe that's what you meant.

I think I understand it.  It's like trying to decide if a cookie is worth the calories.  The enjoyment of eating a fantastic cookie is worth the excess fat and calories.  A mediocre cookie provides less enjoyment at the cost of the same amount of fat and calories.  If you are limiting the amount of high-caloric, low nutrition things that you eat, you don't want to "spend" them on something that is barely worth the effort of chewing it.

That example would correspond to my last sentence where I said "whether or not you want to spend the money is a different story".  Of course we all want to spend money only on things we enjoy but that's not what the OP said.  She said she could only AFFORD to eat it if it was good.  I think the two mean two entirely different things, but perhaps I am too literal.

Sharnita

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Re: Sampling or Stealing?
« Reply #66 on: March 11, 2013, 01:30:50 PM »
She might have money for three treats this month. Of she buys something she doesn't like all that much and might not even eat she won't have that money to spend on a treat she would actually enjoy and consume.

DavidH

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Re: Sampling or Stealing?
« Reply #67 on: March 11, 2013, 02:13:46 PM »
I think it is absolutely rude if you begin sampling knowing you have no intention of purchasing, like the kids the OP described.  It's like trying on wedding dresses for the fun of it even if you're married or test driving a car you know you cannot possibly afford. 

Trying 4-5 samples seems on the edge of reasonable to me, but depends on the store.  There is a chain near me that has very unusual flavors that a friend seems to love.  I've gone there twice with them, tired a few flavors, and I cannot imagine eating another bite of any of them.  In this case, I wouldn't go back and try more since the chances that one is appealing to me seems unlikely at this point.  I think it would be rude to keep going, until I worked through all of the possibilities they offer since if the ones that sound good don't appeal to me there is no reason to think the ones that don't even sound good would appeal. 




Softly Spoken

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Re: Sampling or Stealing?
« Reply #68 on: March 12, 2013, 03:51:43 AM »
Okay so I feel better today. Here is the situation as it stands...

The yogurt place I go to changes its flavors quite often (the employee I asked today said about every 1-2 weeks), and almost all at once instead of a slow rotation. Essentially I went in today and found that out of the ~10 machines, about 7 had been changed out. This is not a bad thing because it helped me decide my strategy: I just need to remember what flavors I like and wait for them to come around again.

I took the "5 may be pushing it" comments to heart and only tried 3 this time - one I almost spit out (IMHO, "key lime pie" should NOT be that sour! :() but I loved the other two - georgia peach and salted carmel. Since they wouldn't go together well in the same bowl, I got peach and honeydew melon - an awesome flavor I discovered months ago and was psyched to see again. Next time I go (if I get back in time ::)) by I will get the salted carmel and mix it with my beloved butterscotch.  :D

I have learned from trial and error that this chain seems to do well with fruit flavors, but the flavors they try and make that taste like "things" (i.e.  mimicking other desserts like key lime pie, cake batter, etc.) never seem to taste right to me (usually too artificial). So I know better than to sample something I have tried before with the hopes that they improved the recipe.

Now that I know which flavors to avoid, future sampling can be minimized. :)

Also to the PP that asked about my prioritizing - yes you were being to literal - I limit my treat budget and therefore require justification to myself on any splurges outside of normal shopping. I am also on a budget that does not allow me the luxury of frivolously buying a yogurt I am less than thrilled with just to be polite.

I do not feel obligated to buy just because I sampled. I was more disappointed that I couldn't find something that I wanted to purchase, and curious what other people thought was a "reasonable" amount "allowed" by etiquette when it comes to sampling. I did not want to cross over the line into "taking advantage" territory, and after today I feel that I didn't and I know how to avoid it in the future.

@taffywduck - your story about the plums reminded me of the Simpsons episode where Lisa learns about the Commandment regarding stealing in Sunday School (Homer is stealing cable tv), and gets upset with her mom for eating grapes at the supermarket.  ::)
"... for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
-William Shakespeare

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MommyPenguin

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Re: Sampling or Stealing? (Update p.5 #68)
« Reply #69 on: March 13, 2013, 04:08:38 PM »
I remember going back and forth about whether it was appropriate to taste a grape at the grocery store (since they're sold by weight) to judge whether to buy it.  So once I asked an employee if they grapes were sweet, in order to avoid having to taste-test.  He said, "Just try one."  Ha.  So I figured that, at least at that grocery store, trying a single grape is considered sampling and not stealing.  Of course, other grocery stores might disagree.  But nowadays I have to worry less about sampling, because I have small children who will generally eat the grapes even if I don't like them.  That *is* why people have children, right?  Works for nectarines, too.

CakeEater

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Re: Sampling or Stealing? (Update p.5 #68)
« Reply #70 on: March 13, 2013, 05:30:00 PM »
I remember going back and forth about whether it was appropriate to taste a grape at the grocery store (since they're sold by weight) to judge whether to buy it.  So once I asked an employee if they grapes were sweet, in order to avoid having to taste-test.  He said, "Just try one."  Ha.  So I figured that, at least at that grocery store, trying a single grape is considered sampling and not stealing.  Of course, other grocery stores might disagree.  But nowadays I have to worry less about sampling, because I have small children who will generally eat the grapes even if I don't like them. That *is* why people have children, right?  Works for nectarines, too.

I thought it was so you can play on the equipment at the park without people thinking you're strange.  ;)


One Fish, Two Fish

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Re: Sampling or Stealing? (Update p.5 #68)
« Reply #71 on: March 14, 2013, 07:16:14 AM »
The yogurt place that I love won't let you make your own samples.  The store employee will make it for you, and they limit them to 2 samples per person.  They really encourage you to take advantage of your two free samples. 
I'll get there.  Eventually.

twiggy

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Re: Sampling or Stealing? (Update p.5 #68)
« Reply #72 on: March 15, 2013, 12:26:56 AM »
I remember going back and forth about whether it was appropriate to taste a grape at the grocery store (since they're sold by weight) to judge whether to buy it.  So once I asked an employee if they grapes were sweet, in order to avoid having to taste-test.  He said, "Just try one."  Ha.  So I figured that, at least at that grocery store, trying a single grape is considered sampling and not stealing.  Of course, other grocery stores might disagree.  But nowadays I have to worry less about sampling, because I have small children who will generally eat the grapes even if I don't like them.  That *is* why people have children, right?  Works for nectarines, too.

as a kid I was convinced my parents had kids to do dishes
In the United States today, there is a pervasive tendency to treat children as adults, and adults as children.  The options of children are thus steadily expanded, while those of adults are progressively constricted.  The result is unruly children and childish adults.  ~Thomas Szasz

Girlie

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Re: Sampling or Stealing? (Update p.5 #68)
« Reply #73 on: March 15, 2013, 12:46:04 PM »
I remember going back and forth about whether it was appropriate to taste a grape at the grocery store (since they're sold by weight) to judge whether to buy it.  So once I asked an employee if they grapes were sweet, in order to avoid having to taste-test.  He said, "Just try one."  Ha.  So I figured that, at least at that grocery store, trying a single grape is considered sampling and not stealing.  Of course, other grocery stores might disagree.  But nowadays I have to worry less about sampling, because I have small children who will generally eat the grapes even if I don't like them.  That *is* why people have children, right?  Works for nectarines, too.

Having worked in a large, national grocery store chain for five years, it was considered normal for a customer to try a grape. Of course, you'd have customers who would try a handful of grapes. Or they'd give their kid a banana. How in the world do you reason eating a banana that is sold by weight before you even get to the checkout counter? I never wanted to touch some kid's sticky leftover banana peel!

That being said, I have to agree that if the yogurt chain has the cups available and has no limit on how many samples you can have, then they are trusting their customers to maintain certain standards all on their own. In that light, I don't think five samples was too much, because OP DID go in with the intention of buying and has bought from them in the past and will buy from them again in the future.
I do think the teenagers were rude if they were obviously only there for the free samples, but that's going to be a problem for the shop to deal with, not the other customers.

TootsNYC

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Re: Sampling or Stealing?
« Reply #74 on: March 15, 2013, 01:01:09 PM »
We have a terrific place like this near where I work.

My two favorite flavors are cheesecake and the plain vanilla.  One day, I went in and vanilla was broken.  The lady let me sample several other flavors, but I didn't like any of them. 

I apologised for wasting her time and taking so many samples, but she told me not to worry about it as I'm a regular and normally make a purchase.  I later ran into the owner and told him how nice his employee was about the ton of samples and no purchase.  He also told me not to worry as those sample costs are built in and they more often than not result in a purchase.He said the only time it bothers him is when someone is obviously making a habit of only trying samples...which he said happens very rarely and even the teenagers in the area are good at not abusing the free samples.

This. My yogurt place would much rather I came in and did some sampling to find a flavor I liked and most likely get a sale vs walk and and not see a flavor I knew I liked and left without sampling because then they know for sure they aren't going to get a sale.

Also, they know that perhaps you won't buy something this time. They're taking a longterm view--if they create a positive link between you and them, then you might buy yogurt in the future just because you have a warm, fuzzy feeling toward them (you know, you think you *might* like yogurt, but may not or maybe you shouldn't, and then you, "oh, heck, I'll get some, I like the yogurt place and their yogurt is good.")

Or you'll wander in sometime sort of to kill time or just because you're walking past and there's a positive association with them (if you hadn't sampled at some point, you might just keep going, or kill your extra minutes somewhere else), and then you buy.

It's pretty cheap advertising.

(and remember, Etiquette doesn't care what your INTENT was; that's Character. The only thing Etiquette really cares about is what it looks like.)