They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch.  We here at Cosby Sweaters beg, respectfully, to differ.  The CS staff gets free lunch all the time and now we’re going to show you how to do it.

This past Saturday a friend of mine and I were invited to head down to a local restaurant to get food with some friends.  We declined, as we had a few errands to run, the main one being a trip to the local grocery store to stock up on food and beverage for a day at the pool.  As you well know, it’s never a good idea to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach so we decided to get a free lunch.

To get a free lunch, you need to do some research.  Find a grocery store near you that offers free samples.  Our favorite is Bristol Farms.  Not only is it conveniently located but they really roll out the sample trays on the weekends.  It was Saturday, we were hungry, and it was nearby.  In we went.

The first stop was right inside the door for some Chinese Chicken Salad.  Please note that I have blacked out my friends’ eyes in order to protect his anonymity:

Chinese Chicken Salad

One key to the Cosby Sweaters free lunch is taking a moment to discuss what you’ve eaten in case an overachieving store clerk gets wise to your scheme.  This particular round went something like this:

Friend: “Mmm, this is good Chinese chicken salad!”

Big Skeezy: “It is, but I feel like it’s missing something.  I can’t decide if it’s actually missing or if it just wasn’t in the sample I had.”

Friend: “Agreed.  Maybe we should try another just so we know for sure?”

Big Skeezy: “Let’s!”

And so on.  The next stop was a strawberry smoothie tray, mistakenly marked as “Cheeses of the World”:

Strawberry Smoothies

Once again we bantered about how one small sample couldn’t possibly do justice to such a well-crafted smoothie.

More often than now you’ll find that it’s cheese that has the most representation in the samples.  It’s cheap, easy to cut into small bits and doesn’t require anything other than a bowl of toothpicks to be served.  We made quick work of the cheeses:


More Cheese

Still More Cheese

Yet more cheese

Behold, cheese!

And, finally, cheese

This particular Bristol Farms usually has a small bread and olive oil counter tucked away in the back corner but, sadly, it was not set up on Saturday.  Sometimes you’ll be able to find a couple of sample trays in the fruit and vegetable section as well but it was also not the case on Saturday.

I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “How does a few samples make a free lunch?”  The key, my friends, is doing laps.  Circle the store a few times.  if something is gone when you pass it the first time, odds are it will have been restocked by the time you get back.  remember to wander down a few non-sample aisles as well.  This is also a deterrent for the new kid who’s trying to i mpress his boss by asking you to leave because you have no intention of buying anything.

Once you’ve circled the store a few times (we’ve found that 2-3 laps are enough, depending on the number of samples), you’ll fine you’ve been properly sated and just gotten a free lunch.