GWP's, Gifts with Purchase, is a common marketing technique used by retailers to encourage customers to to purchase items in order to receive a free gift. It's pretty simple. Customers buy, often reaching a certain amount, and the promotional item is given. Samples, on the other hand, can be freely given without any purchase. Here in Manila, some stores can be rather stingy with their GWP's and samples. The higher end boutiques here usually have GWP's more often, and usually have more samples on hand. They can be a bit picky about who they give them to, though. My aunt is a regular in Rustan's so she (and by extension, me!) is given samples from brands like Clinique and Murad regularly, even though she doesn't buy a lot from them often. More often than not, you might have to ask for samples to receive them.
|A few of the Murad samples my aunt passed on to me|
On the middle end of the spectrum, I tend to patronize the Korean beauty brands more often. I remember this one time my mother and I were in The Face Shop in Mall of Asia. We brought Milo with us and they thought he was so cute so when we paid, they loaded up our bags with samples. One other time, when I asked if they had samples of other products at the cash register, she gave me two little packets that were smaller than movie tickets. Etude House, on the other hand, has GWP promotions every month, I think. I received an Aqua Cure travel kit once, and I think one of the best value GWP's I got was a free sheet mask for a P500 purchase.
|GWP packs given at Thailand's TFS|
Other countries seem to be more generous with their sampling and GWP's. I'm sure you've heard of Korea's skincare stores, side by side along the same street, handing out free sheet masks and filling your bags with GWP's. Sure, most of the bulkier items might be cotton pads, but I'd take free cotton pads for buying something than nothing. But of course, that's just me. The Fresh Fruit Lemon sheet mask packs are what they gave my aunt and her friends in Thailand's The Face Shop for buying a compact and a few bottles of nail polish. They gave them three packs of those, and each pack contains two masks and the Blemish Zero toner and moisturizer sample. So generous! Which brings me back to TFS here in Manila. That one time I asked for samples, they sorta made me feel like I was asking for handouts. Not fun for me.
All in all, I find that GWP's and samples are rather hit and miss here in Manila. More often than not, you're likely to receive GWP's and samples in higher end brands. Of course, if you're really keen on trying out a product, you can always try your luck and ask a sales associate for a sample. I also notice that other brands, when available abroad, tend to be more generous with their GWP's and samples. Of course, this is my own view and you may have other, more pleasant experiences on this matter. Please do share :)