Have you ever noticed that people will stand in line for a sample just because they see that it is free, even if they don’t know what it is? This has always amazed me. But now that I am on the other side of the free table, I have a much different perspective. What is it that drives people to collect as many free samples as possible? Is it the thrill of knowing that you got something that others had to pay for or something exclusive that they can’t get at all? Is it just that a crowd attracts a crowd?
I used to manage promotions for a pet food company. We distributed free samples of cat food at special events. I would often find people who had been waiting in line and when they got to the table with the free food samples they would be disappointed and tell me that they didn’t even have a cat. Why then did they stand in such a long line when the name of the product was displayed all over the footprint I would wonder? An even bigger surprise, many people would still take the sample even though they did not have a cat or know someone with a cat. What on earth are you going to do with that free sample?
I may not know what drives it, but I sure do love it. I love the smiles and the thanks that I get when passing out free samples and premiums. Speaking of premiums, can we take a minute to talk about the free t-shirt phenomenon? It is amazing to me what people will do to get a free t-shirt. You would think that the t-shirt is made of gold, or that it gives the wearer some sort of special superhero powers. I have seen otherwise civilized and polite grown adults nearly trample children to get to a free t-shirt.
If you’ve never seen this free sample phenomenon happen, then you can witness it on any given Sunday at your local SAM’s Club or Costco as people line up to get their free food samples. While I don’t know exactly why this phenomenon happens, I do know one thing — as long as it is free, someone will want it and after you get one person in your line, more are sure to follow!