Free samples in NYC
March 22, 2009 10:37 AM   Subscribe

Where can I find the best free samples (of anything!) in NYC?

My roommate and I look forward to raiding the cheese samples at our local grocery store every weekend. As I unabashedly stuffed my face this time, I started wondering about other places that are generous with free samples, e.g., beauty products, food, drink, pie(!!!), cleaning products, etc. Your suggestions, please.
posted by HotPatatta to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I've never been to NYC, but the Whole Foods in Toronto always has amazing food samples and apparently Union Square Whole Foods does too, according to this news story about a woman who blogged about living for a whole week in New York on just food samples! There seems to be lots of ideas there :)
posted by Kirjava at 10:57 AM on March 22, 2009

Kiehl's is a classic stop. They're not as good as they used to be, but you can still get to try a wide variety of products.

Whole Foods and Trader Joe's do constant sampling. It's a crapshoot.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:58 AM on March 22, 2009

The Whole Foods at 24th and 7th has all kinds of samples during the lunch hour especially. West Side Market (there is one by me at 15th and 7th) does good cheese samples and often has other things like spreads and crackers. And right across the street, someone from Sabon is standing on the sidewalk giving away free samples of soap most weekends.
posted by kimdog at 11:08 AM on March 22, 2009

Ah heh. I came in to recommend Westside Market (on 110th and Broadway), as they have the most extensive and awesome cheese samples I've ever seen in a store, ever (Gouda with cloves? Why sure!) ---- but checked your profile and realized that's the market you were talking about.

Trader Joe's, Whole Foods. Sooomtimes Zabar's. Fairway on 125th usually has a great olive oil sampling area set out.
posted by suedehead at 11:28 AM on March 22, 2009

The Whole Foods on the Bowery typically does a "sample night" on Tuesday nights. Good stuff abounds.
posted by saladin at 11:40 AM on March 22, 2009

The balsamic vinegar and olive oil bar at William Sonoma in the Columbus Circle mall is great, and sometimes they have other things from their cooking demonstrations. Pretend you're looking at wedding presents for friends if you want to feel like you fit in.

The market just north of the 74th st and Broadway Fairway has a really good cheese sampling aisle, too.

If you ever make it down to Park Slope on a Tuesday by 6 or 7pm, Bierkraft has free samples of cheese and beer.

Most of the smaller wine shops have free tasting evenings, and most bars will pour you a shot-glass size sample of an exotic beer on tap for free to see if you like it (though I think they'd get pissed if you just had tons of samples and didn't end up buying any beer).

I always get samples of various face stuff at Origins, they're very generous. Sephora too, if you want to try out a few of their products they'll pump the testers into little containers for you.

I'll stop now because this is getting long and making me look really cheap!
posted by rmless at 5:27 PM on March 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Costco! They do food samples galore. There's one in Long Island City. You just gotta find somebody with a membership (I don't have one, but I know people who do).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:07 PM on March 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

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