Do you love grocery shopping? Do you loathe it?
Perhaps you haven't found your groove when food shopping. Perhaps you haven't found that perfect market. Maybe you do your paper good shopping at Wal-Mart. Maybe you get your produce at Giant, Food Lion or A&P. Maybe ShopRite has the best fish selection, Grand Union, the best steaks. Maybe you're one of the chosen ones, who lives in a ten mile radius of a Wegmann's, Whole Foods or Fairway. Maybe you'd prefer to skip the shopping and order in.
Perhaps your go-to grocer doesn't offer the heavenly samples that mine does...but that's another story.
When you find the perfect super market, it's as if you've found nirvana. No more suffering. No more crazy mom's with crazier kids, cruising down the aisle as if it were the Autobahnen-- legs, arms and pacifiers flying. There is a place for everything, and everything is in it's place. The number one rule in finding the perfect supmarket, is analyzing it's samples.
I refuse to go to a grocery store that does not fully support sampling. It is like being a diabetic in a candy store. What good is the chipotle crab dip to me, if I can't taste it!? To me, test driving a car is essential before purchasing it. Just sayin.
First of all, the employees dishing out the goods are always happy. They are either delighted to be sharing their little edible morsels of sunshine, or they must be high. Either way, they are appreciated by yours truly.
Second, the little creations they come up with may look mundane, tired, and/or generic- but I kid you not, they ALWAYS taste delicious. I have not yet determined if it is due to my insta-starvation the minute I walk into the market, or if there truly is something hidden in the spinach dip with pita chips. It may look like a cube of boars head ham on a little rye toast point, but what you don't see is the horseradish dill dip coating the bottom!
There may not be a wide array of samples, but I think it says a lot about the grocery store if they at least have them. It's giving back to the community, all the while promoting sales of certain products. Sometimes, when my farmers market/grocer get's realllll crazy, they have local folks come in and set up their own sample tables, filled with homemade goat cheese, tomato sauce, quiche, bruschetta, you name it! The best part is, I always by it. Without fail, if I taste it...I buy it. Sometimes it's subpar, but little MaryLee behind the folding table is looking at me with such pride, such helplessness, that I can't bare to turn her fruitcake down. So, in the cart it goes.
Very rarely I don't enjoy something that I sample. For example, there was a table set up this weekend, with a sign on it that said "Spinach Surprise!" Now, I love spinach, and I adore surprises, so this is a mini christmas morning to me. I nearly knocked down five patrons while making my way to the steaming dish. When I got my first (out of 5) piece and bit in, a mixture of warm cream cheese, garlic, artichoke, spinach and a warm crusty shell unfolded in my mouth. It. was. life. changing. I nearly went out to my car, found a hat and a different jacket as a disguise, and went back in for round two.
The moral of the story is this: If you're grocery shopping at a market that does not offer you samples while shopping, (even if it is only a weekend thing) you're not going to enjoy your grocery shopping to the fullest. If you read my first post on this blog, you will know that Sunday's are my grocery shopping days, solely because of the samples.