A buddy of mine raised an interesting question yesterday that got me thinking. She asked, when did samples become rewards? And it hit me– she’s right.

Samples of products ‘back in the day’ were meant to introduce you to a product to see if you wanted to try it out. They gave consumers the ability to see/smell/touch (hopefully not taste?) the product before shelling out the dough. I remember Artistry cosmetics had a huuuge kit of perfume sample testers to try out their scents before buying. I liked to sniff them all when I was a kid. ;)
And now? Samples are your reward. Huh? Why?
For example…spend $100, rack up 100 beauty insider points at Sephora, and you’re rewarded with…a sample of more beauty product to try to get you to spend more money. Wait what? If I’d wanted to try out the product I would have just bought it or tried it out in the store, not spent $100 so I could get the privledge of trying it “for free”.
If samples went back to what they used to be, Sephora wouldn’t have to have such a crazy liberal return policy, which is nice for us but also problematic for them as it has been abused in the past.
Have you ever gone into a store and asked for a sample of something and felt like you asked for the moon + the hope diamond? Roll eyes. Sigh. Here, here’s your sample. And it’s like, a drop. Why is that attitude so prevalent? Why are we treated that way when we’re trying to prevent a future return. If I can try a skin care product before I buy it, for example, I will know if it works for me. If I find that out with a sample I’ll go buy the full size. If I don’t get to try it and it doesn’t work for me, I’ll end up having to return the product.
Anyway, it was just an interesting bit of food for thought that she brought up, and it got me thinking. What do you think?


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