As mothers we’ve all seen our children flock to the free cookie samples in the grocery store, or try every single flavor in the ice cream store before deciding on a cup of vanilla. Many people brush off free samples as a scam, or unimportant. But this ideology is just plain ignorant. Free samples aren’t going anywhere, and if you understand how to utilize them, free samples could make your life so much easier!
Online free samples come and go very quickly, so it’s important to stay updated on what the best, current free samples are and how you can get started with them. There are a number of good freebie sites out there that exist to spread the word about free stuff. Sometimes, the site may have you watch an advertisement, enter your email, or fill out a survey before you can place an order for the free sample, or download a coupon for a free sample.
However, when you’re going through the process of scouring hundreds of websites looking for the best deal on baby wipes, you’re going to run into some scams. A lot of scams. Understanding how these scams work and knowing how to spot them is one of the most important skills in obtaining free samples. Think about the offer from the company’s point of view, and you might quickly figure out that it can’t be real. Legitimate companies give out small samples only so you’ll buy more later, or recommend them to friends. A “guaranteed” iPad, car, or other expensive item – or even a lottery ticket with a chance of winning one – is likely to be a scam, trying to get your personal information for spam or identity theft purposes.
Another aspect that goes right along with spotting and avoiding scams, is being safe with your personal information. It’s up to you with how much information you’re comfortable giving out on the internet, but there are definitely some important rules you should follow, no matter what. Never enter your credit card information, social security number, bank account information, or other information that compromises your security. The risk of identity theft is not worth the free sample. Websites offering for a free sample often ask for a lot of information, as they want to be able to send you advertisements or even attempt identity theft. The only information a company needs to put a sample in your mailbox is your name and address. If it asks for your phone number, consider entering an old one you no longer check. You may use a real one so the company can contact you in case of shipping problems, but be prepared to receive many offers from the company, or even more dangerous spam and phishing attacks.
As for in finding free samples in person, it could take a little more work, but it can also be a lot more tasty. Trader Joe’s and Costco offer free food samples, while Sam’s Club and Walmart offer samples of a variety of products. At these locations, the free samples are typically set on their own tables, and a staff member will be standing there to offer them to you. If none of the chains above are nearby or have what you’re interested in, your best bet at finding “official” free samples is an area where many different stalls are trying to compete for customers. Try a local fair or farmer’s market. If none of these are happening soon, spend some time at a mall. Look on the website or bulletin board for community centers and other buildings that are often rented out for events. If you’re lucky, there might be an upcoming event where caterers, florists, and other vendors display samples for people planning upcoming events. All of these locations are likely to have free samples available, and it helps even more if you behave like a wonderful, friendly mom.
If a free sample isn’t immediately available, but trying to put a little sweet talk on to get a freebie, make sure you act interested in the product. Spend some time looking at a product before asking for a free sample, or asking questions about it. If you look interested, the salesperson may offer you a free sample to help you make up your mind. You’ll be most successful if you start a conversation with the salesperson first, perhaps by asking how his shift is going or whether he likes working in this store. Stay friendly and smile, and ask for a sample if he smiles back and seems to enjoy the conversation. If this doesn’t work out, just move on and try for the next freebie.
All in all, free samples can be a big help to a mom, and it doesn’t have to be a difficult and stressful process. Good luck in your hunt!