When I was little, like about five years old, I discovered sampling. I was shopping at Stew Leonard’s with my mom and grandma when we happened to be carting by the massive vat of buy-by-the-pound pistachios. Now my grandma- never being one to deny herself, and an avid nut lover- reached into the pistachio pool and pulled out a good solid handful. Which she proceeded to nosh on for the rest of the shopping trip.
Fast forward to 6th grade, years of sampling encouragement from my elders, and shamelessness afforded by young age: me and my best friend from middle school (Cassie) were buying pastries for my mom at a East Village bakery. I spotted it, the little tray bearing offerings for potential customers “Sample” it read, “please take one”. And boy did I ever. Cassie quickly learned the ropes in a move we forever dubbed “the grandma”. After making our purchases, in that life changing moment between the cashier handing us our bag of goodies and when she looks down for correct change and a reciept we would grab handfuls of cakes, cookies, whatever and stuff them into our bags for later consuption.
Since then I’ve refined my special set of skills, honing them until they’re second nature. Peter Parker may have had spidey senses but I have sample senses. And I bet his sixth sense never scored him free cake. Not only do I sample from the web, checking sites like MySavings daily, but I also keep an eye out for promotional events- like a chocolate tasting I went to a year ago at La Maison du Chocolat. Thanks to my sampling I’ve discovered some of the best products in every market from vitamins to puff pastry- a small sample size is very telling. And though I may have moved up in the sampling world I will never forget my humble beginnings. If you ever happen to be at Stew Leonard’s don’t be afraid to say hi, I’ll be hands deep in the pistachio’s.