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Is This the Future of Free Samples?

Is This the Future of Free Samples?

The next time you find yourself searching for the sample table at your local grocery store, you may stumble upon a different way of trying out new products. What used to be handed to us on a toothpick or in a mini plastic cup may soon be doled out to us from a vending machine that is smart enough to know our age and gender.

An article from USA Today reports about the new sampling machine introduced by Kraft Foods a few months ago.

The first vending machines were introduced in Chicago where grocery store customers could retrieve free samples of Jell-O Temptation’s mousse-like dessert. The Jell-O samples were meant for adults only and is equipped with a camera that can scan a customer’s face in order to detect their age. If a child were to step up for a taste, the machine would automatically shut down.

Though the new machines do not save photos or videos of customers, it does compare and store the data it retrieves. Creators of the machine say they are working on a way to get the machines to also measure a person’s reaction to the sample by determining whether they are smiling or not.

Director of the Platt Retail Institue, Steven Keith Platt, was excited when he heard about this innovative new way to try products. Platt jokingly said, “This is wow. I'll now have the ability to interact with a cool device that dispenses a unique product vs. walking up to some old lady with a white apron on.”

What do you think of the idea of retrieving your food sample in the grocery store from a vending machine?

Do you think vending machines are a better way for customers to sample products in the grocery store?
 

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  • SmartyKitty By SmartyKitty
    04.13.12  

    I prefer this idea. I really hate going to the grocery store and getting harrassed by someone to try a product. Some of them just dont know when to let it go, if I want to try it, I just want to try it and not really have someone try to sell me on it. At least the machine wont get insulted when I decide it's product is really gross

  • mardel By mardel
    04.13.12  

    I love this idea! Its a great way to advertise a product while giving the customer a chance to try the post before we buy. I live in Chicago and I hope I see it at my grocery store soon! Thanks

  • mdist7 By mdist7
    04.13.12  

    kind of mixed feelings on this one...it will probably take off in major cities just because of the new world of technology, but not sure i love the idea yet.

  • basilandcatnip By basilandcatnip
    04.13.12  

    Hadn't heard of it. Something to think about. Thanks for posting about it.

  • mintmom By mintmom
    04.14.12  

    I don't like this idea, it seems like such a waste of money. How hard is it to just walk up to a table and take a sample from a person and go on about your business? Most of the people working at the sample tables are senior citizens from my experience. I'm not sure if it"s a paid job or they volunteer but either way it is providing a benefit for them so why take that away? I'm all for technology and advancement but not when it's pointless.

  • bensmomma2010 By bensmomma2010
    04.16.12  

    I hatebthis idea. It's impersonal and it takes away the jobs of the little old ladies whosnday is pro ally made happier by you coming and talking to her.I like askingma person questions about the sample and I like to get theirmopinion not a machines. Yuck to this just yuck.

  • AndreaMWilliams By AndreaMWilliams
    04.17.12  

    I don't like this idea. We need more human interaction instead of machines. The machine is just there for one thing. Having a person at a sample table is much better approach to selling a product because people can offer their opinion and add suggestions.

  • angelfire1267 By angelfire1267
    04.17.12  

    I like the idea. One less hand on something that u put in your body. I would use them. Often I pass the sampling table, this is one that I would not.

  • leesa35 By leesa35
    04.18.12  

    I want a human to hand me something. I want to ask questions and get answers. I want to hear the feedback he/she has gotten from other people. I dislike this idea.

  • sabradawn By sabradawn
    04.18.12  

    This may be avant garde for the techies, but I am sure there are many consumers who are more people oriented and would appreciate that white aproned person doling out samples. Believe it or not they are capable of giving out age appropriate samples. Stores have used people for years without that many problems, despite the fact some are talkative. How will this "machine" answer those questions that mothers/grandmothers/new homemakers ask? Will it malfunction when grandma asks how she can adapt product A to be a substitute in her apple pie? Eating is a natural action. Samples should be dispensed by a natural being; the human. Vending machines may be okay for non food items, but then again what if the machine were faced with a baby faced adult?

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