I was talking to a buddy of mine, who's a recent ostomate (by choice). I was telling him about the samples I'm expecting from Hollister, and I was surprised to hear him question if I was "abusing" the sampling system. I asked what he meant and he explained that if everyone asked for samples, and did it frequently, it would just drive up the cost of the product. So I sat his ass down and 'splained him some things! But I got wondering about it and realized many out there in the real world don't know how the "sample" thing works from the company's perspective. I worked in the Sample department of the second largest glove manufacturer when in high school, and it's pretty interesting how it works.
Most companies that offer "samples" of their products have either a separate group that deals with this... or a whole division devoted entirely to sending samples. And they get scored on how many samples they send. The more the better. So there's hardly any reluctance on a company's part to provide samples of its products to consumers. They keep track of course, to make sure no one is abusing the system... but don't for one minute ever think they're doing you a favor by sending you samples. You are doing them one. Now where I used to work it was funny, even comical... because the bulk of our customers were big industrial firms... like GM, Continental Can, etc. And these guys bought TONS of gloves each year. But the gloves were made in China, back when everything from China was pure crap. The gloves were shipped in cardboard boxes, palletized, and came here via ship to the west coast and then trucked to our warehouse in NJ. Apparently ships back in the late 70's weren't waterproof, so many of the gloves got wet. And wet leather (the cheap fuzzy kind) doesn't dry very well when wrapped in wet cardboard in the hold of a ship crossing the ocean. I also worked in the warehouse loading and unloading container trucks... so I got to see this first hand. When they did dry they were hard as cardboard and had white water stains all over them. That's if they dried before the mold started to form. So the first thing we learned when working in the "Sample" group was how to hand-pick the nicest gloves from the mountains of boxes of crap gloves... to be sent as samples. So we'd go rummage through what looked like the most dry boxes and gather the best of the worst to be sent out. I never really understood why the big companies never just sent the crappy gloves they must have gotten when they put in a big order back, but figured it was because they were paying so little for them in the first place, and if they sent them all back they'd be without gloves for some time period. And NOTHING back then was allowed to shut down production lines... least of all personal safety. And I also figured our competitor's gloves must be just as bad... so they kept ordering them. I also surmised that the people ordering the gloves were not the people who had to wear them... so they probably never even saw what crap they were buying. So... every year we'd send boxes and boxes of nice hand-picked samples to all our best customers... and the orders would roll in. And we'd get a bonus! Now this has nothing to do with ostomy samples... but it's a cold rainy day outside and I'm a bit bored... so why not tell the story?
But back to ostomy supplies... after I explained it to my friend he finally got it. And I'm sure he went and ordered a bunch of ostomy supply samples that same day. So if anyone out there feels guilty or like maybe they're taking samples away from someone else who might need them... forget it. The ostomy supply companies have people whose job depends on you wanting samples... and them sending them. So do them a favor... and go order some samples!!