Misconceptions About Ostomy Samples

Nov 13, 2020 5:14 pm

Hey gang,

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!!



Nov 13, 2020 5:48 pm

Good morning, Bob.

Perhaps I'm a bit naive and/or thinking the best of others - yes, including corporations...

I figure it's a win-win in my ordering/obtaining a sample: I am able to try a previously unknown-to-me ostomy product to determine if it meets my needs, and the company may gain future sales of the product, along with a loyal customer who may develop interest in other products.

However, I'm not ordering samples "just because"; only if I truly believe a product may improve my situation. (And I hope this thought is what keeps R&D teams working so hard!)

As for samples - and "excessive" ordering of same - driving up product pricing? I haven't heard of any companies going out of business because they gave away too many product samples. (Oh, if ONLY automobile manufacturers and residential builders would give away samples! LOL) The price of giving those samples away is figured into the "bottom line", as a part of the cost of doing business, and/or written off by the accounting department, tax professionals.

Interesting topic, Bob. Keep 'em coming! :)


Gray Logo for MeetAnOstoMate

Why Join MeetAnOstoMate?

First off, this is a pretty cool site with 34,000 members who truly understand you.

It's not all about ostomy. We talk about everything.

Many come here for advice or to give advice, others have found good friends, and some have even found love. Most importantly, people here are honest and genuinely care.

🛑 Privacy is very important - we have many features that are only visible to members, ensuring a safe and secure environment for you to share and connect.

Create an account and you will be amazed by the warmth of this community.

ron in mich
Nov 14, 2020 2:52 pm

Hi Bob, years ago I worked in a factory doing sheet metal work and we went through a lot of gloves. So, we were given these cheap stiff gloves that by the end of the day, the ends of your fingers around the nail were raw. So, we would go to a hand washing station and rub Gojo on the gloves to soften them up some. I hated that job and was glad to get promoted to a punch press operator.

Nov 14, 2020 4:58 pm

Hey Ron!

I worked in a sheet metal shop too! Right after I worked in the glove company. I got the job at the glove company because my neighbor behind us worked there part-time as a secretary......so she got me a job unloading containers in the warehouse.   Her husband worked at a sheet metal shop, so since they paid like 3x better.......I went to work there (I needed the money to work my way through college and they let me work whenever I came home from school).   But we had to supply our own gloves, which of course wasn't a problem!   But I can picture you now wearing those crap gloves from my previous employer.......so sorry about that!   You should have called me.........I could have sent you some REALLY nice samples!!!   Of course, since I worked in the Sample department......I got my mom's house stashed full of the nicest leather, suede, and fabric gloves you've ever seen!   I think it's been 30ish years since I worked there and there's still a few cases in my mom's attic!   I can honestly say.........I've never BOUGHT a pair of gloves in my life.   But the sheet metal shop job taught me more about life than college ever did.   What an amazing (and back-breaking) experience that was!  

Take care,


Nov 14, 2020 6:14 pm

Having had my bladder removed 18 months ago, I have been on that journey to find "What the #@* supplies are ever gonna work for me?"

I got samples from anyone and everyone. I mixed and matched, found two bags that worked OK and two barriers that seemed to be better. I went from "a leak a day" to getting 3 to 5 nights with no problems. I prefer transparent, convex bags and I change when the bag is getting gunky or an itch under the adhesive occurs.

I've chatted with all the major manufacturers and some ostomy nurses and zero used bags. They don't get it. That's why this forum serves a wonderful purpose. You can talk to other users.

As for getting samples, feel free. How else will you be able to try their products?

Words of Encouragement from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister
Nov 15, 2020 12:26 am

I think the free samples help find the best products or for me it did?

Nov 15, 2020 6:17 pm

V impt to try things, thus samples.

I agree, it takes a lot of trial and error to see what works for you.

Needs, skin condition, etc can change over the years, so stay open to finding better things. Again, samples are so helpful.

Also, get the catalogue from the manufacturers AND the company you order from and look for interesting things to try out.

I just saw this interesting product I never saw before: Trio Siltac silicone ostomy seal and Trio Silvex silicone convex seal.

I tried the Hollister Adapt Cera Ring and switched bcs it works so much better and is more gentle on my peristoma skin.

Have fun experimenting.

Nov 15, 2020 7:29 pm

I tried the Trio Silvex silicone, didn't last on me? Have a flush stoma though.

Nov 16, 2020 4:35 am

Jackau, you're so right. And it's not that they don't want to help us any way they can... but sometimes if you don't have the actual condition you're trying to help others with... you just can't fully relate. That's why I get excited when I see medical folks with an ostomy join this group and contribute. THEY get it! I sure wish when 5 o'clock came rolling around each day I could go home and forget about all this ostomy stuff. But I really do appreciate the folks who at least attempt to make our lives a bit better. My hat's off to each one of them!!



Nov 16, 2020 1:10 pm

Everything an ostomy supply company does adds to the cost of their product... advertising on this site, coordinating with ostomy nurses, exhibiting at medical conventions, and offering free supplies. If there wasn't a "reward" for doing it (i.e. more business, more profit), they wouldn't be doing it.

Nov 16, 2020 2:23 pm

Yes, it's that ol' ROI.....Return on Investment thing.   Sort of like having you test drive a car before you buy it. It's all factored in.   Good point chet8!



Past Member
Feb 18, 2022 8:11 pm

I started shopping (mooching?) around for samples a while ago because


B. Not that I'm a hoarder, but I never ever want to run into a scenario where I've run out of bags, so the more the merrier.

As a consequence, I have actually changed bag supplier because my free Coloplast samples had a WAY better filter than my previous ones (waking up at 3am with a Dansac-labelled Zeppelin hanging off my midriff was starting to get real old), and have just changed my delivery company from one that was a real pain to get ahold of and frequently got orders wrong, to a new one that makes a big deal of their customer service and personal touch.

So everyone's a winner. I got some free stuff, but more importantly, I got more effective bags and better service.

The two companies concerned, as long as they don't screw up, now have me as a lifelong customer. That's a lotta product, and likely a decent amount of profit, on the back of just a few samples.