We get it, you were just passing through and saw enough free samples to fashion together a full meal. You know the food is technically free but you still have to pay the social cost of pretending to be interested in a bunch ex-hippy’s bean melon plants or whatever. Luckily, the Hard Times has done your research for you and we’re excited to divulge the appropriate amount of time one should pretend they’re going to buy something at a booth.
According to the math, the appropriate amount rounds out to about thirty seconds. This requires eye contact, two questions, the sample, say it’s delicious, then the final task of saying you’ll come back but never do.
The correct amount of time spent at a booth is important to the seller. If you immediately reach for the samples, they’ll know you’re only using them for their sweet, sweet bean melons. If you ask too many questions without buying anything, you’re wasting their time.
The trick is to at least pretend you view them as real people as opposed to the snack dispensing automatons we all wish they were. Don’t forget, this isn’t a typical trip to the Supermarket. Farmers Market vendors are different from Costco employees. They have feelings.
This can also change depending on the booth. Someone who makes their own jams and salsas has much to ask about as well as multiple samples. Meanwhile, DSA booths are preferred to be avoided as their only free samples are pamphlets.
Just make sure whatever you do don’t actually buy something. It’s against the freeloader’s creed.