A friend we'll call "Emily" met her suitor through an online dating website. His proposal for their first date: a bicycle ride on Grant's Trail, a bike path meandering through south county. She agreed to meet him just off the trail in the parking lot of Sam's Club. But when she arrived, he had a pre-date surprise: "It's free-sample day at Sam's," he said. "C'mon!" When they walked in, he flashed a membership card (one-day passes are also available). Amid the towering shelves and massive displays, the pair marveled at the vast variety of merchandise, all while engaging in first-date banter. Every time they ran across a free-sample booth, Emily says, the young man charmed the old ladies running it, greeting them with questions like, "Ooh, what do we have here?" She recalls: "I was smiling the entire time. I was in disbelief that (A) He'd chosen this as a date, and (B) That it was actually working." Their romance was short-lived, but she still admires his creativity. "Everything we did that day was free," she says. "But I didn't care. It was fun."
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