October 03, 2009

As Long As It's Free

I was at the grocery store this morning, picking up a few items for dinner this evening.  As is usual for a Saturday morning, a woman dressed in a tidy deli-type uniform had a card table set up in the back of the store and was distributing samples of food.

I used to gravitate to these displays, because the allure of free food drew me in.  I give them a pass nowadays for several reasons.  First and foremost is because of the kids that are drawn to these set-ups like flies to shit. Complete with slobbery fingers and snot running from their collective noses, they kill my appetite quicker than an undercooked chicken.  I also hate to endure the sales pitch that accompanies the sampling.  I always felt like the server was going to judge me harshly if I sampled the product, and then did not run straight to the food case to pick up several dozen of the product featured.  It's much easier to completely snub their carnival barker spiel when you don't take any food.  Lastly, I always felt inferior when I took free food from someone I didn't know.  I'm not really sure why, but perhaps I felt like I was being manipulated by the server.  "Here you are little boy! Dance for your bite-size piece of Home Run Inn Pizza!"

But back to the woman distributing samples this morning.  The aisles were crowded and Jan needed a loaf of bread, so I camped out by the sample table while she negotiated her way down the bread aisle.  As I waited there, I looked over to the table to see what was being offered.  I did sort of a double take when I saw it was samples of butter substitute.  Yes, small globs of "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" were being offered in a paper cup, complete with plastic spoon.  No bread or crackers to go with it ... just the glob of sortofbutter.  And people were eating it!  What was really gross is that most of them weren't even using the spoon, but were just digging the glob out of the cup with their fingers and popping them in their mouth.

Obviously, these same people raid their refrigerators in the middle of the night for a heaping tablespoon of margarine to tide them over until morning.  I mean, yeccch!

I wonder what would happen if I would walk into the store with a card table and set out samples of vinegar or castor oil in little paper cups?  Would people readily step up and drink them, just because they were free?  Or would I have to entice them with a 50 cent off coupon on their next purchase?

My God, we humans are a strange form of life.


  1. Okay, that is the grossest thing I have heard today. And I was at Costco where people were LINING UP to get little pieces of artifically flavored pizza pockets.

  2. I know! It is just such an incredible thing if you stop to watch it.

  3. I can feel vomit in the back of my throat now. Thanks.