Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Free Samples -- The Only Way To Shop

Ask yourself: What's the one thing a college student wants more than alcohol, drugs, or attracting the opposite sex? What do they crave more than anything else that their mommies and daddies can provide them with on a consistent basis? The answer is... anything that's free!

An easy way to curb the collegiate desire for free knick-knacks is with food. And it just so happens Whole Foods has at least five free sample stations daily. How's that for big city college students? Not too shabby.

After graduation weekend, one of my closest friends over my four years at American University and I did exactly that -- we hit up Whole Foods for free food.

It was as if the gods had answered our prayers when we were offered free ice cream sundaes at the door. The staff of Whole Foods welcomed us with open arms and pints of ice cream. It was "Customer Appreciation Day" and we were more than ready to be appreciated.

We allowed the kind women serving the sundaes to douse our sugar-filled treats with sauces and cherries and went on our merry way. We combed the aisles for the standard cheese, crackers, cream cheeses, fresh fruits, and pastry samples found in the daily Whole Foods sample displays, but they were nowhere to be found!

Sure, sundaes are great ... but if you go into the store expecting free food then you're going to want free food.

We scanned and we combed, we frowned and we sprinted, but alas ... there were no free samples. In light of this disappointment, we decided to make amends with Whole Foods by purchasing a few of their items. We figured that the once strong relationship we had with Whole Foods wasn't worth throwing away over a lack of cheese samples.

I packed my arms full of fresh vegetables and produce while I made my way to the longest checkout line I have ever seen. It was as if the entire Jewish population was making an exodus from Egypt, that's how many people there were.

Then, I found out why the line was so long. Every register in Whole Foods was down. The computer system had crashed.

Every other customer had carts full of enough food to feed a small army. My friend and I just had $30 worth of food that we were hugging to make our way through the hungry crowd.

Then, I felt a tap on my shoulder. "There's no use in you waiting, Miss," the Whole Foods clerk said, "Our computers our down, we can just give you a bag." I was confused. "Am I cutting the line to pay," I thought, "or am I actually getting this food for free?"

I followed the clerk. He bagged my items and let me leave the store.

Looks like I got my free samples anyway.

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