#582 When the guy at the deli counter gives you a free taste

Walk into a grocery store and you’re surrounded by freshly misted lettuce, bubbling lobster tanks, and hot croissants rolling out of the oven. With your pupils dilated and mouth watering, there’s nothing finer than rolling your crookedy-wheel cart by the deli counter and making some subtle eye contact with the deli man.

Yeah, you know it and they know it: when you’re surrounded by fresh food in all directions you suddenly start jonesing for a fix. So you press your hands on the curved glass and gaze longingly at the giant hunks of pink and salty goodness shining at you from under the bright lights.

Then you know what you gotta do: make your order, reach your hands out, and get ready for those thinly shaved slices of salami to touch your tongue and send you on a trip far, far away.


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76 thoughts on “#582 When the guy at the deli counter gives you a free taste

  1. even better is the sample cookie from the bakery!
    of course most of us stop going for the free cookie after age 8, so the deli meat sampler is awesome based on the fact that you can still get it at any age.

    1. Brittany, yeah, what’s up with the cookie age discrimination? I remember walking up to the bakery once and asking for a cookie and they were like “Sorry, you gotta be under 10 years old.”

      Maybe the different grocery store samples are for different ages. Cookies are for babies. Spicy, wine-cured genoa salami slices aren’t.

  2. When I was a kid we lived in Qatar and whenever we went to the supermarket I’d get free bits of luncheon meat and swiss cheese from the guys on the deli. Shopping has lost its appeal since then, unsurprisingly.

    1. Your fav smell is also the fav smell of ALL DOGS. My student job was a deli meat-slicer, and I was always mobbed by dogs trying to lick my shoes! I had to have separate sneakers just for work.

      1. jdurley, that’s hilarious!

        I picture a giant pack of wild sheepdogs mobbing you as you race through the parking lot to get to your car after work.

  3. So true! We often get an extra slice of pepper jack cheese when they slice a little more than we asked for, and it makes the whole shopping trip just awesome!

    1. Nora, that’s great. Do you ever get that crumbly stump of cheese that they just can’t slice anymore? That’s living the high life right there.

  4. I love this post! I also do this with the feta cheese. I act as if I know nothing about feta and I ask to taste them all before I pick one! Yum!

  5. In my poorer college days, I would go to the priciest supermarket in the area and wander to taste-table to taste-table – it was cheaper than a meal.

    And it never hurts to ask for a sample of anything – what’s the worst they can do, say no?!

    1. Poor College stories are always hilarious. I used to live with a guy who bought all the dented soup cans with no labels for twenty-five cents from the “Marked down” bin at the front of the store.

      It was a surprise whenever he made soup. Like a Mystery Lunch.

      1. I used to carry around a few empty Costco gift cards (you don’t have to have a membership to use them) so I could get into the store and dine on all the samples. Yum!

  6. If you’ve never been to an Amish cheese factory – they have samples of each and every cheese (like all 78 of them). Of course the samples barely fit on the end of the a toothpick, but after 78 of them, you’ve had your fill. Mmmm… nothing tastes better than free food.

    1. LauraHelen, I like picturing the staff watching you mindlessly eat 78 cheese samples.

      “Just trying to decide!,” you laugh sweetly, holding a thick handful of toothpicks.

  7. Haha, my friend works at a deli and she says she hands out free samples to customers!
    But not all people working at deli’s are ‘guys’ ..

    By the way I love the site, I always check everyday for the new post.

  8. Even better, when the bakery guy says”No, don’t take one of those loaves…here, there are fresh from the oven”! Yeah baby! Fresh baked bread. AWESOME!

  9. I used to work at a deli in a supermarket. We used to call the samples we offered “vulture food” as when ever we were preparing the samples, the other employees would be circling the deli area like a flock of vultures waiting for something to die.

    Myself, munching on free samples is one of the highlights of shopping at Costco. If you do it right, you can get a decent lunch of it.

  10. i work in a deli and give out samples all the time. i didn’t realize it was so awesome, especially since a lot of people refuse when i offer them one. but i’ll keep this in mind next time i go to work. :)

  11. This is not awesome. It’s OR**SMIC. LOL

    A total reminder on why love goes through the stomach and some people (cough) rate food very high, almost up there with that other thing everybody loves doing. LOL

  12. What a feel good site! Love it and yes getting a taste from the deli guy is suhweet. At a place called pita Joes’s in NYC they give you a piece of pita dipped in hummus to munch on while they’re making your food! Love that

  13. I find it particularly awesome that you used a picture of Zabar’s, where my mom and I were once given free rugelach!

  14. I love the samples from Wendy’s when they have a new flavour of icecream…. mmmm watermelon sorbet heavennnnnnn

  15. I like the post about poor college students. I think I was the luckies college student ever because I was training to be a Chef, so all my school work I could eat. I hardly ever went grocery shopping. I’d just go to school with empty tuperware and come home with them filled with all my “work”.

  16. I love this especially when you know the deli man and he gives a little bit more than everyone else.

  17. Haha awesome…I’m 22 and I ask for the cookies still…and the samples of meat !! XD

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