The Crafty World of Free Sample Trolls


The Lure of Freebies: A Crafty Problem

Bobbi from Montreal, Canada, became infamous in online crafting circles for her relentless pursuit of free samples. Her notoriety reached a point where receiving a request from her was almost a rite of passage for crafters. In March 2004, Ialso too received the infamous “samples” email from Bobbi, confirming her reputation as a free sample troll. Despite my website’s clear policy against free samples without a purchase, Bobbi, like many others, ignored these guidelines in hopes of scoring free products.


The Tactics of Trolls

Free sample trolls often employ flattery and sob stories to manipulate small business owners into sending free products. For instance, Mavis from Florida praised my products and subtly requested free samples, only to disappear after inquiring about a special order. Similarly, Jennifer from Kansas cited her sensitive skin as a reason for requesting samples, yet showed no further interest upon learning of my policy.

Joe S. from New York took a different approach, claiming his wife needed samples for a large event. His widespread requests to soapmakers around the globe were a clear attempt to exploit the potential for a big order. However, when his deceit was uncovered through his work email, his employers issued an apology.

The Impact on Small Businesses

The actions of free sample trolls can have a significant impact on small businesses. Crafting products requires time, effort, and resources, and engaging with these trolls can detract from actual sales and business growth. Moreover, the expectation of free goods devalues the hard work and creativity that goes into each handmade item.

The Hidden Costs of Free Samples

While some individuals may genuinely need to test a product before purchase, serial free sample trolls are primarily interested in receiving something for nothing. This behavior not only affects the bottom line of small businesses but also reflects a broader issue of entitlement and lack of appreciation for artisanal work.


A Global Phenomenon

The reach of free sample trolls is not limited by geography. As one soapmaker from Australia revealed, Bobbi’s requests spanned continents. The anonymity of the internet provides a fertile ground for these individuals to cast a wide net

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