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Are You A Secret Sample Tramp?


Call it what you will—Sample Tramp, Freebie Floozy, Bargain Bitch—there are those of us who love nothing more than getting free samples at makeup counters and hair salons. Most of us will at least buy SOMETHING to justify getting the samples. But beware—there are many out haunting the malls of America who do nothing but collect samples.

Consider this article your chance to come clean if you happen to be a Secret Sample Tramp. Just pretend you are at the Sample Tramp equivalent to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting: stand up in front of this online assemblage and introduce yourself—“Hi, I’m <insert name here>, and I’m a Secret Sample Tramp.” To which we will all reply, “Hi, <your name here>!” Now tell us what kinds of samples you crave and where you go to get them—most of all, why.

Some of us pick up stuff we KNOW we will never use! Why? Because it’s there, and it’s free. Oh, but is it really free? It all depends on where you go. There are actual web sites you can check that really do have some good freebie deals.

One of the best sites is Free Makeup Samples. Do be aware, though, that in order to get your free goodies, you will have to provide a good deal of personal information, and sign up for a whole lot of things you may not want, like magazine subscriptions, online newsletters, free lottos, etc. Investigate sites like this, but use your head.

Sometimes the free tube of lipgloss just isn’t worth it. Which you may figure out after you are buried under a ton of spam that seems to popup after you sign-up for the freebies.

If you frequent the mall makeup counters, scoping out free makeup and hair product samples like a shark cruising the Hawaiian surf, you may run into trouble. Should you continually make it your business to find out which counters are offering samples and go just to get the samples, sooner or later you may find yourself black-balled at the mall! And if you think I’m kidding, I’m not.

I have a dear friend who knows several people in the makeup industry. Those nicely-made-up gals at the makeup counters are not stupid; they are very aware of who is buying, and who is just picking the samples. Sooner or later, they will pass your name on to all their pals at all the other counters and suddenly, your free sample source may run dry. I mean, let’s be fair. The purpose of freebies is to get you to try and then buy products, after all.

Hair salons are another source for the free sample feeding frenzy. My hairdresser has a customer who routinely snaps up handfuls of free hair gel and skin foundation; it doesn’t appear to bother her that the gels and foundations could be completely wrong for her hair and skin. But it doesn’t matter—it’s FREE. I hate to go on a rampage here, but really—this kind of behavior is not only greedy, it’s tacky.

Who of us hasn’t snarfed down free mini-cups of pudding and barbeque chips at the local supermarket, or a handful of free buttermints at our favorite restaurant? The way I look at it is that at the supermarket or the restaurant, we are actually buying things.

The freebie we get may or may not lead us to buy more, but we’ve already committed some bucks. But do you go to the supermarket or restaurant solely to consume their free goodies?

It’s the same with makeup counters and hair salons. At least buy an eyebrow pencil or some hairspray. THEN feel free to help yourself to a couple of sample products. Now I can hear you clear as day right now: ‘Who does she think she is? My MOTHER?!’ Well, no. But I do want to act as the voice of conscience in this case. We all love something for nothing, but as Robert Heinlein so wisely put it: “TANSTAAFL (There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch).” Sooner or later, we either pay the price by buying the real item or endure higher prices on items we buy because the request for samples escalates.

So, before you leave the Sample Tramps Anonymous meeting (with your FREE cup of coffee), please remember that a little restraint helps us all.

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