Sam\'s Club and taste testing - BEWARE

Posted on: Tue, 08/22/2006 - 10:45pm
bhoffman's picture
Joined: 08/15/2005 - 09:00

Let me start by saying that my 4 year old son is Peanut/tree nut allergic. WELL, the last two times we have been to Sam's Club, they have been taste testing items. The first time, it was peanut butter cookies. We immediately left the area, told the store manager about air borne allergic reactions from peanut ( I am trying hard to make this short). Sure enough, 4 hours later, during dinner (of things he for sure was not allergic to) he got a bad rash.

Fast forward to this past weekend. They were sampling pop corn, so I went and got some (after checking the package). Told the guy what I was checking for and the lady across the hall was sampling something else. She says "don't come over here, we are sampling peanut products". Found the manager again (a different one). Assistant manager immediately went over (after my talk with them about the dangers of this testing) and removed the display. The manager told me he would contact someone in their headquarters about their policy. Last night I get a phone call from the store manager. Their person at headquarters who is head of sampling (yes, I have her name!) says they have no policy against sampling peanut products, even if it is air borne.

Now, is it just me or is this just REALLY dangerous?!?! What if the person ahead of me ate one of these peanut butter cookies, and then pushed their cart that I sat my son in? Or just walking through the snack area. Did we not ban smoking in public places because the air is dangerous for other people?! I am really angry about this and don't plan on dropping it. Just wondering, is this kind of stuff covered under people with a hidden disability in the ADA? Please let me know your thoughts! As I told the store manager, I can control what goes into his mouth but I can't control the air, other than not shopping there!

Posted on: Wed, 08/23/2006 - 1:00am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I think there is a very real danger in some of these situations of people spreading the oily residue from peanuts around on their carts. Also on the food containers. You could take home a contaminated gallon of milk or box of safe cereal and never know it. The stores just aren't thinking. I bet that if you do just like you did and speak to the store manager and politely explain the risk, they will stop the samples. Perhaps not the first time, but the second or third, especially if they hear from more than one person. Good for you for going to the manager! I'm more likely to just walk out and never go back, and I'm not going to make many changes that way.
Edited to add: Maybe we should do a poll of how many people have come across peanut products being sampled in stores and start a mail campaign to all the stores who do it.
[This message has been edited by Munchkin's Mom (edited August 23, 2006).]

Posted on: Wed, 08/23/2006 - 1:11am
krasota's picture
Joined: 04/24/2000 - 09:00

This is why I wipe off handles with a rag before I push a cart. I have contact reactions to far more than just peanuts. Plus, I have to wipe off the handles because so many people use wet wipes or hand sanitizer to do the same thing, and most of those contain aloe, which will give me a reaction faster than anything.
In other words, I am responsible for *myself*.
Why don't you go to Sam's when they're not sampling? They tend to not sample too much between lunch and dinner, in my experience. Or, if you don't consider it safe, take your business elsewhere.

Posted on: Wed, 08/23/2006 - 1:32am
mckennakatesmom's picture
Joined: 09/07/2004 - 09:00

I have run into similar issues in my local Kroger. They were sampling cookies that contained peanuts and had a warning label for all nuts. The worst part was that the sampling was over, and they had started removing the display, but the cookies were opened sitting low enough for a child to pick up.
I went to a manager and explained the situation. My dd wasn't even with me. I just wanted them to be aware that it could be a problem for people, especially if small kids are walking with their parents and just grab something.
The manager was very understanding and was going to take care of it. I always make sure to compliment stores when I seem them doing something positive regarding food allergies as well (like labeling products for allergens).
Going to the store when they aren't doing the samples won't change the fact that residue could be all over the place, but I believe that's the case anyway. People eat food then go shopping, open foods while they are shopping, let their kids snack while they are sitting in the cart, etc.
However, with all of these other risks already in place, it would be nice if stores wouldn't add to it by offering everyone peanut products that walks past their stand.

Posted on: Wed, 08/23/2006 - 1:41am
MommaBear's picture
Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by krasota:
In other words, I am responsible for *myself*.
My personal slogan?
[b]"Choose your battles wisely." [/b]
To me, this is like restaurants. Are they really going to stop serving *everything* people are allergic to?
And ya. wipe those shopping carts off. Just bought my daughter a "floppy seat". Still gonna wipe off the handles (and probably the seat). She's not even allergic, that we know of.
Shopping carts. Gross, gross, [i]gross[/i]. Disgusting things, I mean. Evil, harbingers of pestilence.
As far as shopping with children. You'll know I'm comming. Constantly calling them in. Getting a handle on them. Snapping.
What can I say??? The store is a cool place. And a scary one. Not just food allergies. No, no no.... that's last on my list of reasons I keep a close watch.
A few years back, my youngest son managed to get a concussion when an item fell off a shelf and smacked him squarely on the tip of his nose.
Imagine that. I was standing right there. Less than ten minutes later, he's barfing all over. [i]All over[/i]. At various times in my parenting, I've arranged to shop without my children. They're older now, and it's still a busy trip when they come (and quite a bit more money [img][/img]), but I really don't find "samples" to be a big concern anymore. They don't bother with them. Maybe it's just me. Maybe they just think they are gross. But No advice. Just personally.
What really grosses me out is checkers and baggers with flu and colds. Oh, save me. They seem to especially paw my groceries at that time.
General Disclaimer: I am not offering advice in any manner or form. Just explaining what really freaks me out.

Posted on: Wed, 08/23/2006 - 1:50am
Corvallis Mom's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

What MB said.
And I just plain leave my DD at home most of the time. I only take her during off hours and NEVER during flu outbreaks as she has no protection.
Wish everyone could only bring ONE child at a time into the store, too. Like carry-on bags. And if they are out of spec, they can't come back.... [i]ahhhhh yes indeed-- there WILL be changes when I am finally made emperor of the universe.[/i] [img][/img]
[i]Wash-wash-WASH-your hands, whenever you've been OUT... this is the way we keep ourselves well... [/i]

Posted on: Wed, 08/23/2006 - 4:04am
JenniferKSwan's picture
Joined: 06/19/2006 - 09:00

Previous to getting pregnant with DS#2, I had looked into becoming a "Food Sample Lady". Most of these positions are not employed by the store but by an independent company. This independent company is in turn employed by the manufacturer. In many cases the stores don't even know that food samplers will even be coming that day, let alone the product they will be selling. So by boycotting the store, you are only hurting your shopping experience.
I wish there was some way we could convince the manufacturers how dangerous sampling peanut products and sharing lines can be...but unfortunately I wake up from that happy dream on daily basis and face the reality that my son's world is shrinking food wise.
On a happy note, my Publix now showcases a "Meals in a Hurry" program. They cook meals on one of the endcaps. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the lady cooking with nuts! Thankfully Aiden was at home. I spoke with the manager and she understood my concern - she or the chef of the day call me when they are using nuts and let me know. Since she lets me know during prep time (they usually cook from 5-7pm), I have the option of dashing in before they start cooking or leaving my son with Grandma if I have to go to the store. Thankfully in the last three months I have only received 2 or 3 calls.
Mommy to Aiden (1/26/05) PA,wheat,barley,soy,egg and others yet to be discovered and Connor (7/21/06) with possible egg allergy

Posted on: Wed, 08/23/2006 - 4:04am
bhoffman's picture
Joined: 08/15/2005 - 09:00

I am so shocked that there are people out there that think that staying home is a fix for this problem. There are so many situations that our children can't be "normal" that it seems that going to Sam's shouldn't have to be added to the list. Would we suggest to a physically handicapped person to stay home if there were no ramps to get into the store?! OF COURSE NOT!! It is NOT unreasonable to expect stores to help create a safe environment. No one in my family has a seafood allergy but I don't have a huge need to sample seafood products if it makes it unsafe for other people. Stores do not have to add fuel to the fire that is already out there actually SERVING food during our shopping experience. Not to mention as someone above did that it is now all over every package I unknowingly bring into my peanut free home.
I like the letter writing campaign. We can all start with Sam's!! I will keep anyone interested in the progress of this, I am not going to just roll over.

Posted on: Wed, 08/23/2006 - 4:08am
bhoffman's picture
Joined: 08/15/2005 - 09:00

Just to respond to the poster who said that it is just the manufacturer, this very well may be the case a lot of places but the Sam's people told me that they send the list of samples from headquarters and the sample people work for Sam's. They are in complete control over what is sampled at Sam;s club.

Posted on: Wed, 08/23/2006 - 4:16am
marina_twinmom's picture
Joined: 09/06/2001 - 09:00

Our local Costco hands out nut-filled candies, mixed nuts, and (often) peanut butter smeared on crackers as samples. I stood and watched the peanut butter sample table once, and was shocked by how many people got it on their fingers, licked it off (ick!), and then wrapped their hands around the cart handles to keep shopping.
I don't take DS to Costco often ...

Posted on: Wed, 08/23/2006 - 4:24am
Corvallis Mom's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Just some things to think about as you embark on your campaign.
-- What would you [i]like[/i] to see happen as a result? (No peanuts in samples? No food allergens in samples? No food samples at all?)
-- If it is only PN you are concerned about, why? (There are children--and adults-- with other FA, some of them just as sensitive to milk, egg, or shellfish.)
-- If it is all food sampling (which, personally, I would [i]rejoice[/i] to see happen) how are you going to convince these club warehouse places that this is reasonable? Many people with memberships LOOOOVE that aspect of shopping in those places. Probably the vast majority would complain about it stopping, and I'll bet more than a few would vote with their feet.
You DO have choices about where to shop. I have physically challenged friends who have definite preferences regarding shopping, and many of their choices are informed by accessibility issues, same as ours. What I am trying to point out here is that "accessible" isn't always pleasantly or easily so.
We won't join CostCo for the same reasons you are finding Sam's to be distressing. But hey-- we also try to avoid stores that have those stupid bulk PB dispensers. They certainly aren't getting rid of them for [i]me[/i], but I'm not going near them, either.
PS... from your first post, while anything is certainly [i]possible[/i], I have to comment that a four hour delay doesn't seem to tally with a rxn to aerosol exposure.


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