It has never occurred to me to go into a store and ask for something for free...but in the cosmetics department it happens all the time (and I do mean all the time).
"You have samples?", "What will you give me today?", "What's the free gift?" are all I seem to hear sometimes. Yes, the makeup counters do sometimes have samples, but a lot of time, the managers sets the rules as to how they are to be handed out. (Usually, it's ok to give them out with a certain number of items purchased, or a specified amount has to be spent, or an account has to be opened.) These are the general-unwritten rules of the free samples.
Do these rules get bent? Yes. Do I bend them sometimes? Yes. When do I bend these unwritten rules? When the customer is POLITE. More than anything, if a person is courteous, and respectful to me (the sales person), I will do my darndest to make them happy. All that I need is for that customer to say a simple "please" and/or "thank you".
I can't demand that a customer be courteous to me, but I can hold on to whatever samples I have for the customer that is. (It's the closest to a superpower I might ever have.)
(In case you couldn't tell, it was a rough day at work)
How was your day?