Tasting Triggers The Past

Monday, October 21, 2019

Yesterday, I worked at my part-time job in Costco as customers packed the store pushing loaded carts and clamoring for free food samples. One of our busiest sample tables was handing out the classic Lipton’s Onion Soup dip–dry ingredients mixed into sour cream–and we included a couple of organic corn chips. A server couldn’t work quickly enough to supply the demand. That old recipe awakened memories in most adults, made them want a hint of past holidays.

My role was as “a breaker” for the day’s assigned server. I was scheduled to free him twice from the dip/chip table, once for his break and again later for lunch. Each time I had customers clustered around and grabbing samples so quickly it seemed nearly impossible to keep a sample tray supplied. The fellow I was breaking left me with a full bowl of dip, but it disappeared quickly I had to refill it.

Our instructions were to stir three packets of dry soup mix into a large container of sour cream. And then to customers, serve a tablespoon of dip with two crackers.

Did you ever try to mix three packets of dry stuff into a bunch of sour cream, manually? Can you imagine the difficulty without an electric mixer? Could you see mixing with only a rather small spoon. And worst, having to mix while sort-of reaching upwards because you’re a short person behind the demo table?

My method was to mix in a big bowl small batches, and then keep adding sour cream and dry mix to the starter. All the time using that little spoon in a too-slow process. Here’s the annoying thing: Folks, it’s just dip and chips, and soon more will be ready. But people crowding around my table waited, watching and commenting non-stop, as I struggled to appear confident and competent.

I felt like yelling, “Scram! Come back later!” In my fantasy this included throwing down my apron and quitting. But I stirred on, to my audience’s drools and comments–some supportive with others muttering about waiting too long (but staying anyway).

Thankfully, my stirring/serving stints were relatively brief. Moving on to other tables, I relieved severs with products more easily prepared and distributed. Meanwhile, I couldn’t get over the incredibility of how dry soup mix and sour cream aroused such a clamor. The older folks while waiting for me to finish mixing told their stories to younger kids about the olden days’ holidays with Lipton Soup dip.

Yesterday, another sample server who got slammed by badly-wanting customers was assigned to hand out a variety of Hersey Candy products. Busy as her table became, at least her samples didn’t require unwrapping or mixing.

Ah, free samples of food. I could write a book.

Dear Friends: Some jobs that may appear to be easy actually are difficult. Diana

One thought on “Tasting Triggers The Past

  1. Costco sampling time reminds me of visiting the Bonneville Dam Fish Hatchery and tossing out those little packets of fish feed to the ponds full of 100,000 fingerlings.


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