Sun | Jan 20, 2019

The world of taste and buy

Published:Tuesday | January 20, 2015 | 12:00 AM

It's a customary stop light-selling tool: taste and buy. Street vendors take the guesswork and buyer's remorse out of the purchase process and fruits are offered for sample in order to entice a commitment from the potential customer.

We see it all the time during guinep season. We hear the invitation to treat as we walk between market stalls, and the offer extends to jackfruit and melon and, on more humorous occasions, even to Scotch bonnet pepper.

The strategy works. More often than not, you purchase the fruit after tasting a not-so-satisfactory one, if only out of gratitude and often because you just really want any piece of jackfruit.

This week I got to thinking that the fruit vendor isn't the only salesman who has adapted the 'taste and buy' strategy. The US is the land of taste and buy with its prevalent 30-day money-back trial.

Corporate Jamaica are big tasters and buyers as well. That's what the three-month probation period is all about. Not until you have proven yourself, and your boss sees evidence of your ability to deliver set targets (the taste) are you then offered a permanent contract (the buy).


Even political party leaders exercise their taste-and-buy options. The classic Cabinet reshuffle gives them the opportunity to try out ministers in various capacities and reassign them as they deem fit (or unfit).

The truth is, we live in a taste-and-buy world. So if the principle works for street vendors and corporate giants and politicians, I think there are other practical applications for the principle. The first that comes to mind is marriage.

You may argue that it already is that way. Essentially, dating is a taste-and-buy operation. No man sees a potential mate, thinks, "What a nice-looking girl!" and runs off and gets married. He dates leading up to the nuptials to ascertain whether this is, in fact, a woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with.

My friends and I sat down and challenged ourselves to name couples we knew that fit all of the below criteria:

1) They were married.

2) They were faithful to each other.

3) They were happy.

Collectively, I could count the list on my left hand Ö with plenty of fingers left over. It was sad. With all the wisdom of a woman who has never been married, I believe that many marriages fail because in the prelude, there is just too little tasting. The problem is, too many people commit to buying the bunch of guineps before trying one or two - or 10.


Marriage is a big deal - a lifetime commitment to another human being and, potentially, the other human beings you will make together. I've seen some indecisive women buying watermelon at the market. They need four and five chips of the fruit before they decide to take a piece home.

On the other hand, particularly in the case of women, society doesn't allow us to be so choosy with our 'bananas'. The expectation is that we will meet a man, and if there is even the slightest chemistry, we 'lock off'. We date him and him alone until he decides to take you off the market. Date around as he does and the list of labels is long and unpleasant.

One Coronation Market vendor made me realise something. The risk is borne solely by the seller. I wanted a piece of watermelon and declared I wanted to taste it before I made my purchase. He looked me in the eye and said, "If I cut the melon and it fresh, I lose." He knew full well that if the melon was unsatisfactory, I would walk away.

For the sake of happy, lasting marriages, I saw we should all taste and buy - both men and women. Forever is a long time to be stuck in the wrong relationship and society needs to start affording women the freedom to taste as many guineps as she chooses until she, too, has found the right seller.

n Patria-Kaye Aarons is a television presenter and confectioner. Email feedback to and, or tweet @findpatria.