Last week I went shopping for material for a sewing project.
I ended up at a store that specializes in home decorating fabric. One of the things that I like about this place is that they have sample swatches of each material already cut and pinned to the end of the bolt. The samples aren't large; they're usually about six inches long and three inches wide, depending on the repeat design of the fabric. I picked nine potential fabrics and brought them home to decide which one I wanted. Today I returned to make my purchase.
When I got to the store I absent-mindedly carried the entire set of samples in with me, instead of just the one I had decided on, so I decided I might as well give back the ones I didn't want. Today I returned free fabric swatches to a store.
All the fabrics I had chosen were grouped in one corner of the building, so it was easy to match the sample to the bolt. I unpinned the safety pin that held each bolt's swatches, stuck mine on the pile, and re-pinned everything back on the bolt. I felt like I was doing something I shouldn't, and I kept checking to make sure no one saw me, but the store was pretty empty and I was the only customer on that side of the store. It only took a few extra minutes to complete the job, then I found the material I was purchasing and took it up to the cutting table.
I'm sure the store considers giving the samples away part of their cost of doing business, and they don't expect to get them back. However, they were too small to do anything with and I would have just thrown them away, so I hope the next person to take "my" samples home appreciates them.