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How to Sample Food

Updated on August 30, 2012

I am sure that you have gone to a supermarket and you have seen someone sampling food. What did you do when you tried that sample? Did you just grab it and continued to walk or did you stop and listen to what the person behind the counter has to say? It seems that as we grow older we forget to “mind our manners” when we are out in public. It shouldn’t seem like something that we need to be reminded of but I think we do. The following are tips to make sure that you have a pleasant food sampling experience.

Talk to the Sampler

When you are walking through a store and someone says hello to you, say hello back. It does not take a lot of effort to respond to someone and it is just the polite thing to do. If you are welcomed by a lot of people with the same greeting it is not because they have a secret plan to drive you crazy, they have to say it. So even if you hear it a thousand times say hello or even hi. I assure you that the people handing out samples have said it at least one hundred times already.

If you decide that you want to try what is being sampled, do not just eat it and stare at the sampler. You will just get into a staring contest and I bet if it is near the end of the day you will not win. After handing out a thousand samples (it is very possible) it can be frustrating to a sampler who is trying to be engaging and they are being ignored. Help make their day better and give them some attention and listen to what they are saying.

Keep Food in Your Mouth

If you trying something that you do not like then eat it and politely say “I’m sorry but that is not for me”. Do not spit your food out in front of everyone. That is really disgusting and other people around you do not want to see that. What you do at home and what you do in public are two different things. What you do at home may not be socially acceptable - so remember your manners.

Also, remember to chew with your mouth closed. I think that is something that we are all told when we are young. No one wants to see what you are chewing.... seriously.

If You Don’t Like It

Again if you do not like what you sampled just say “I don’t think that is for me”. Do not cause a scene and say “THAT IS THE MOST DISGUSTING THING I EVER TASTED!” By doing so you just made the decision for everyone in ear shot of you about trying that sample. The people handing out samples are there to increase sales of that product. If everyone around hears you yell how disgusting it is then that could be about twenty less sales.

A lot of the brands being sampled are paid for by that company and they have secret shoppers and auditors go to stores. If an auditor is in a store and hears someone go on about how disgusting a product is then the person sampling it is going to get a bad review. There could be one out of fifty people who did not like it, but that one person can hurt a lot of sales. You never know if that sampler is working on commission or not, it varies depending on who they are working for.

Throw Away Your Trash

That napkin, spoon, little plastic cup, or plate is supposed to be thrown away. Every store you go into with samples offers trash cans by the stands and throughout the store. Throw your trash into a trash can, if you miss the can then pick it up and put it in there. Do you leave trash on the floor in your house when your drop something or miss the trash can? It is being respectful to others around you because someone can easily slip on a napkin, plate, or spoon and injure themselves. Also, do not leave your trash on the sample cart or table. It takes very little effort to throw away what you are already holding.

Keep Your Hands to Yourself

When you approach a sample area pick up only what is on the sample tray or plate and take what you touch first. Do not pick up all of the samples to decide which one you want. They are all the same on that plate and you are not missing out on anything. Once something is touched and put down then it has to be thrown away. The food service industry is very strict on sanitation and once a sample is touched it is therefore contaminated and not allowed to be eaten by someone else.

If you see a stack of napkins, plates, or a box of spoons do not get them yourself. You are not wearing protective gloves and once you touch those items they cannot be used. This same rule goes for food that is on a baking sheet or in a bowl. You cannot grab food yourself directly off of a baking sheet or out of a bowl because it will all have to be thrown out. You don’t know if someone with a flu or cold virus touched those items or anything else in the store right before you. Keeping your hands to yourself helps lower the spreading of viruses.

Have Patience

Do not circle a sample location like a vulture until their sample is finished cooking. All you are doing is frustrating that person and it does not make the food cook any faster. I promise they are not lying to you about how long it is going to take. They have to let food cool a little before it can be served, so take a walk around the store and come back later. We all have cell phones with a clock on them, so if that sample is that important you can keep track of the time.

Remember to also share while sampling food. Do not take all of the samples that are being put out on that tray or plate. If you don’t get one right then there is always another batch being cooked so you will get to try it. It is rude to take a sample that you know someone is about to pick up, would you want them to do that to you? Also do not pick up a sample that a child is reaching for, it is not so important that you have to steal from a child...seriously. Unfortunately, it's happened several times.

Stay With Your Children

Parents do not let your children run around a store on their own to sample food. With so many allergies around, the food sampler does not know what your child is or is not allergic to. A lot of companies have a rule that says samples cannot be given to children who are alone. All it takes is one allergic reaction and a child can end up in the hospital. So when you have to walk back with your child for them to sample something, just remember that person is just looking out for their safety when they are told they need a parent with them first.

Say Thank You

After you try a sample whether you like it or not remember to say Thank You. It is a lot of work even though it doesn’t seem like it to sample food. At the end of the day someone can hand out well over a thousand samples of food. They cook it, cut it, present, talk about it, and share with you what they know about it. They are standing all day long with repetitive motion and then clean everything after they are done sampling. So remember to give a smile and say thank you, do not just grab a sample and walk away mumbling or complaining.

You can find a lot of new foods or products you enjoy by sampling them in a store. Remember to always use your manners and think of others around you when sample anything. It is just a sample of food you will survive if you don’t get the first bite of it. There is plenty for everyone to go around and everyone will get their chance to try it.


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    • manthy profile image

      Mark 6 years ago from Alabama,USA

      Nice hub, people can be so rude, it is sad maybe some of them will read this.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 6 years ago from Midwest

      This is both useful and SO funny. I laughed out loud because having worked for years in the service industry I know how people can forget their manners. This was really funny thanks for the laugh... lol