This is going to be a divisive question, I can already tell. Actually, the reality of the answer is going to be the divisive part. Some say there is no such thing as over-sampling while others maintain that it is a very real and very serious problem in our society. So I’ll first answer the question and then tell you which side of the debate I fall on.
Over-sampling is when a person goes into a wholesale retail chain such as Sam’s Club, Costco, or BJs (hehe) and doesn’t really shop, but just hits up all the free sample stations. Maybe they’ll buy one or two things since getting out of one of those places without buying anything is like sneaking out of prison, but the basic idea is the overabundant rate of tasting free food.
Now, as I mentioned up above, it can be hotly debated whether or not oversampling can even exist. I’m sure there are people who think that it is a disgusting and deceitful act to hit up the Totino Pepperoni Pizza Rolls, dodge left to the Costco Braised Pork, swing around to the Helluva Good Cheddar Cheese, and wash it all down with some Lipton Green Tea without even looking at one of the packages. After all, the point is to sample, see if you like it, and then buy one package of that product that will last you a nuclear winter.
Well shockingly, I’m not one of those people who think that. I could eat the free samples until I exploded. But I will say, I won’t hit up the same vendor twice. I play a little game of cat and mouse with the people behind the cart–hit em up quick, let them do their spiel, thank them and be on my way. I don’t tell them if I like it or not, I don’t ask questions about the product, I barely even make eye contact because once you do those things, you’re hooked and you HAVE to buy something. So I’ll sample each station once and be on my merry way with a full belly.
One final tip to all the free-samplers out there: do your due diligence throughout the store. Sure, there are hot spot and marquee locations (meat section, frozen foods, etc) but that doesn’t mean that other parts of the store don’t have great samples, as seen by the featured image on this post (a graph clearly showing the different stations and their relative traffic). I went to Costco a few months ago with my girlfriend (sick date, I know) and we were hitting up sample after sample in the obvious, highly trafficked areas. When we were done there, she was ready to go. But I said nay, there is much more store to explore. We ended up finding some delightful Crystal Light and like a piece of cheese–worth the extra rounds.