Sampling Grapes In the Produce Section: Smart, or Just Being Cheap?

frugal grocery, produce section, sampling grapes

Walking through the produce section, I glanced down at my grocery list and saw that grapes were on the list.  I rolled my cart to the cooler section stuffed with separate bags of red and green grapes.  My wife’s words replayed in my head from when we sat at the kitchen table meal planning and making out list for this week’s trip to the grocery store.

“Get some grapes, but only if they’re good.”

They certainly looked good, but from experience I know that looks can be deceiving.  I casually looked around, and not seeing any employees, I plucked a red grape from the vine of a wide open bag.  My mouth puckered with sourness.  I looked around again to ensure no body was watching me before moving on to the green grapes.  This grape exploded with sweetness as I bit into it.  I nodded my head, selected a bag of green grapes and placed it carefully in my cart.

I smiled as I recalled a familiar chain of thoughts.  I don’t open up a bag of carrots to ensure they’re fresh, and I don’t rip open a bag of a new flavor of chips to see if I like them before I put them in my cart.  Why do I think it’s acceptable to sample the grapes?

Yet, how many of us have, after a quick glance in both directions, snapped off a single grape to make sure they were pleasing to the taste buds before making our final decision as to whether or not we would purchase the succulent fruit?  It’s just one grape, probably wouldn’t even register differently when weighed at the register.  But then again, if a thousand people went through the produce section, each removing a single grape….well, that’s a lot of grapes.

I decided to solicit an expert opinion.

A friend of mine works in the produce department of a grocery store, so I gave him a call and asked him what his official position is regarding people sampling the grapes.  He stated that he generally expects people to try grapes before they buy them, and it’s considered no big deal.

“Hey, if people want to sample unwashed fruit, go nuts.”

So there you go, the next time you’re contemplating buying some grapes go ahead and taste one.  You may even decide to forgo ensuring there are no grocery store employees around, because they likely don’t care.

Do you sample grapes or any other produce before buying them?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • No. Never. But I’m not judging. I just live by black & white rules. Yes, I am somewhat anal-retentive obsessive compulsive. Someday I will break out and eat a grape. Maybe even a non-organic one. But not today.

  • I absolutely test the grapes. Just one, but that’s enough to know if the bunch is satisfactory. I also dig through the packages of bacon to find one with the most meat and I look at expiration dates on milk to get one with the longest freshness period.

  • I think one grape is fine as long as you truly are weighing whether or not to buy it. Still, keep in mind that you don’t know who was there before you or what they did or how the fruit was handled, so if you end up getting sick. then ‘sampler beware’.

  • @Cathie – “even a non-organic one” <-- LOL, thanks for the Monday laugh. So, just out of curiosity...if you buy a bunch of grapes and they turn out to be sour and not very good, do you still eat them? (I would).

  • @Kathy – When something has an expiration date, I *ALWAYS* look for the one with the furthest away date. Which usually means reaching to the back of the product. I dunno about the bacon though…they all look the same to me!

  • @Julie – Hmmm, asking for permission, interesting concept. 🙂 Actually it makes perfect sense – at the deli counter I ask for samples of the meats or cheeses all the time and they’re more than happy to accommodate my request. Thanks for your comment!

  • @moneybeagle – that’s a great point….you never know what insecticides or fruit cleaner or whatever might still be on the produce. I don’t think it’s gonna stop me from continuing to sample though. 😉

  • @moneyahoy – Haha, I had forgotten you had mentioned that in your April Fool’s post (loved that post, BTW)! That would be a great prank to have video taped…just stand in the produce section eating stuff until an employee said something. 🙂

  • Usually I bought fruits from the market not from the grocery stores because for me the prices are less in the market. And when I bought fruits, especially grapes, I asked the vendor if I could taste one or two, and then I decided if I would buy it or not.

  • I never sample grapes. I have a thing about grapes being incredibly crunchy, so I will squeeze them to see whether they fit that criteria. I don’t think it’s about being cheap, maybe just a bit picky. If you think about it, when you go out for ice cream you are able to sample before picking a flavour, so why not with grapes?

  • I think fruits are okay to sample before you buy, especially if it’s like grapes, because they come in a bunch, although it’s actually at your own risk because you don’t know how they’re handled before they made it to the store… On the other hand, the taste of chips is standardized and I don’t think we need to taste it before we buy it, even though would be nice to get a free sample haha.

  • @Marie – I can totally see that sort of thing happening at an open market environment. Vendors would do almost anything to promote their business. Thanks for your comment!

  • @Daisy – Ooooh, thanks for mentioning ice cream – that’s absolutely true! As far as the “crunchy grape” thing….I agree that grapes that have some crunch are better – but they can still be sour. I just hate getting them home, and biting into a nice firm grape but still puckering because they’re sour. They can engineer grapes to be seedless, can’t they make them sweet all the time???

  • @Cathie – I love a great fruit salad, and that’s a good solution to use them. I’ve sprinkled some sugar over them too to sweeten them up – but there’s nothing like a bowl of sweet grapes!

  • @SuburbanFinance – there is a place that does sample new kinds of crackers and chips….Costco! I love going to costco during sample time…LOL. thanks for stopping by!

  • The only reason people can do this with grapes is their size and individual nature. We would sample everything if we could. I don’t think it’s right to steal an apple or a banana so why would I think it was right to steal a grape.

    That said, it’s no big deal. Keep on eating them.

  • @Matt – Yeah, the grape is a curious phenomenon…..the thing is I think that a single grape isn’t noticeable from a price standpoint (doesn’t weigh much) nor does it make it look different. Try to take a bite out of an apple or banana and put it back – fairly noticeable. 🙂

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