It's a perfectly legitimate way to spend a weekend lunch hour, right? Arrive at Costco hungry. Hit up every sample table. Maaaaybe cruise by the good ones twice–three times if the sample involves bacon. Leave full.
But how many freebies can you take before it's too many? And not just too many as in "that's tacky" but too many as in "that's shoplifting."
The issue is being tackled in a Minnesota court case where 68-year-old Erwin Lingitz alleges he was "jumped, kicked and beaten" by police and store security after he walked out of Cub Foods with nearly a pound and a half of summer sausage and beef sticks that were set out as samples. He's suing over his arrest and is seeking $375,000 in damages.
Store managers, however, called Lingitz a serial sample hogger. They cite other incidents where they claim he had taken "excessive amounts of food" from the kids' cookie club tray, which specially limits the offer to one free cookie per child, and from un-watched sample tables. A supermarket official said Lingitz "violated societal norms and common customer understanding regarding free sample practices."
Do sample limits need to be more explicit? Hope this guy doesn't ruin it for all of us. The samples! Please don't take away the samples!
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