Eating our way through Sam's
Club is a great cheap date
By Maddie Wilson
November 1, 2007 | Sam's Club food samples might not
sound like a sirloin at Hamilton's, but to my husband
and me, they can make for quite the romantic -- and
cheap -- date.
Ben and I last ventured to Sam's on a Friday, around
noon. Apparently, this is a good time to go if you're
looking for a variety of free tastes of food. We walked
in the main doors and met the employee that greets us
by checking our membership card. We headed past the
big screen TV's, the glittering diamond jewelry and
watches, and past the row with the furniture, but not
without Ben trying out his dream chair.
Our round of samples starts back by the bakery. Just
past the bakery, into the meat and seafood section,
we met Gilbert. This middle-aged Hispanic man was our
first server of the day, handing out pork tenderloins
with toothpicks. Not without explaining how he cooked
them with rosemary and garlic, though. He told us of
the importance of adding flavor to food.
"You've got to nourish, not just feed," Gilbert said
with a smile.
A couple feet from him was the warm, salty ham samples,
also on toothpicks. No words from the woman who was
serving at this stand; Ben and I just grabbed a toothpick
and hurried away while she stared us down, feeling that
we had just about our fair share of protein.
Little did we know, there was more to come. Over by
the frozen food was the chicken tenderloin stand. The
breaded chicken came in a little cup, and we got to
pour alfredo sauce on top.
"I like your alfredo sauce better," Ben whispered
in my ear. "This is too rich." I agreed.
Just a few feet behind the alfredo chicken was yet
some more poultry: hefty three-bite samples of chicken
burritos. I opted out of this one because I saw something
deadly in those burritos: tomatoes. I've convinced myself
that if I ever eat a tomato, I will never again see
the light of day. Ben, however, said he enjoyed the
melted cheese, chicken and even the tiny -- but always
deadly no matter what size -- tomato-filled burrito.
Ben even got a response from the burrito server, after
asking her if the burritos were any good. She said,
"Yes." Okay, off we go.
We felt like we might be coming to the end of our
sample journey, but Ben caught another stand out of
the corner of his eye, hiding behind the frozen chicken
isle. "Dessert!" he said.
It was potato salad, actually. I'm not sure how he
mistook it for dessert. The crunchy celery did not favor
me -- I have a hard time eating any potato salad unless
my Grandma made it.
By now, we were past all the fresh and frozen food,
and on to the isles with the powder gravy mixes, pop
tarts and 50-pound flour bags. Here we ran into a warm,
apple-flavored Quaker Oatmeal sample with a hint of
cinnamon. The old woman serving us gave us a sweet smile
as she told us that it's a very filling, healthy breakfast.
We're nearing the end, but our appetites are awakened.
That's when we saw it: a line for one of the last, obviously
highly popular, samples. We got in line behind an old
couple with glasses and snow white hair. There was a
slight whiff of pumpkin in the air. The Frisbee-sized
pumpkin pie was going fast. We waited for the server
to nervously and hurriedly dip up bite-size pieces for
us and squeeze whipped cream on top. Her cheeks were
red, and she seemed flustered by the long line at her
"It just came out of the oven, so it will be a little
hot," she warned said. It was warm and mushy as the
layers of cream, filling and crust blended in our mouths.
This would have been a great way to end our sample
feast, but there was yet another taste-test stand. The
server in the wheelchair proudly announced the new vitamin
juice supplement. Just one ounce of the dark brown liquid
equals a daily value of fruits and vegetables, he said.
Feeling content that we didn't have to worry about
eating anything healthy the rest of the day, we paid
for the one thing we actually came to buy: my Nesquik.
As another employee check-marked our receipt on the
way out, I couldn't help but wish that chocolate milk
contained a daily amount of fruits and vegetables. I'd
never have to feel guilty for not eating tomatoes again.