Al Davis

NFL picks, Week 4: Costco free sample etiquette

I went to Costco yesterday, and every time I go there I’m fascinated with how most people react to the free food samples. Maybe “fascinated” is too kind. Just like when I’m driving, certain things about the free sample experience set me off, causing more frustration with others than is probably warranted. Free sample rage, and here’s why.

Nothing handed out at the free sample booths is THAT good. That’s why they hand it to you in a small bite. “Mmmm, this little chunk of frozen shrimp tempura is delicious! And this sauce, it’s so … salty! I need this box containing 108 pieces, and I might eat the entire thing when I get home!”

Then you buy it, take it home, heat it up in your oven and take your first normal-sized bite. And you realize immediately that you’re going to have this giant box staring you in the face every time you open your freezer for the next nine months, until you throw away the half-full container because you need room for that box of Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches you just bought at Costco (although that box definitely will get finished).

But since these samples are free, you have the people who stand there waiting for as long as it takes until the poor sample-maker puts a couple more samples in those little paper cup-things. And usually unless the sample’s something healthy like some sort of chocolate-free trail mix, someone will snatch a sample up the exact moment the sample-person’s fingers are no longer touching said sample. Then there are guys like the one next to me yesterday, who grabbed a bite of shrimp tempura and tried to grab the only other piece on the tray — even though he was alone — and the sample-maker had to tell him that it’s just one piece per person.

Damn right I grabbed that piece of shrimp tempura away from his greedy little hands. And it was delicious.

No, I didn’t buy the box, but I did buy a different box containing 36 single-servings of Cheez-Its as well as a 10-lb bag of halloween candy, even though we live in a 3rd floor apartment that gets no trick-or-treaters. America! Oh yeah, the NFL picks…

Saints (-7.5) @ Jaguars
Trap game for the Saints. The Jaguars aren’t much to look at, but they play defense.
Pick: Jaguars

Lions @ Cowboys (PK)
With Miles Austin (hamstring) out and Dez Bryant (quad) limited, all the Lions have to do is stop Jason Witten.
Pick: Lions

Redskins (-1) @ Rams
This has got to be Fox’s Ron Pitts/Jim Mora Jr. game of the week, right? This game’s about as appetizing as a day-old Whopper. I guess I’ll go with the team at home that’s trying to avoid going 0-4.
Pick: Rams

Titans @ Browns (PK)
This is the game where Chris Johnson finally does SOMETHING. Cleveland’s rush defense gave up 125 yards to Cedric Benson in Week 1 at home. Johnson should at least be able to go for 100 yards and a score. And yes, I’m predicting this even though it’s looking more and more like the dumbest teams are the ones who sign their running backs to big money extensions.
Pick: Titans

Bills (-3) @ Bengals
I didn’t finish watching last week’s Niners game thinking, “The Bengals sure are a dangerous team.” Also, if the Bengals are the Clippers, does that make Chad Ochocinco the NFL’s Ron Harper?
Pick: Bills

Vikings (-1.5) @ Chiefs
Yikes. Adrian Peterson needs a career day to keep the Vikings out of 0-4 purgatory. And the 0-3 Chiefs are going to have a tough time stopping him.
Pick: Vikings

Panthers @ Bears (-7)
So how far away are we from seeing Cam Newton’s incredibly white teeth chomping on some Fig Newtons in a commercial? If he played for the Jets he’d probably already have an assigned seat in Nabisco’s executive board meetings.
Pick: Panthers

Steelers @ Texans (-4)
I’m going to start picking against Pittsburgh all season until they show me a good reason not to.
Pick: Texans

Giants @ Cardinals (PK)
Maybe Vegas knows about some amazing homefield advantage for the Cardinals that I was unaware of.
Pick: Giants

Falcons (-4.5) @ Seahawks
The gulls actually have a pretty significant homefield advantage, but Atlanta absolutely has to win this game to avoid getting buried. And, you know, Tavaris Jackson.
Pick: Falcons

Broncos @ Packers (-13.5)
Yet another reason for the Broncos to play Tim Tebow. You know it’s coming.
Pick: Packers

Dolphins @ Chargers (-8)
The battle of two teams that play to the level of their opponents. This game is blacked out, another example of San Diego’s passionate response to all the rumors that they’ll move to L.A. whenever Farmers Field is finished.
Pick: Dolphins

Jets @ Ravens (-3)
Based on this line, the oddsmakers think this game would be a pick-em on a neutral field, which I think is interesting to say the least. Sorry Jets fans, Wayne Chrebet isn’t walking through that door.
Pick: Ravens

Colts @ Buccaneers (-11.5)
What we saw against the Steelers on Sunday night was the Colts’ best effort of the season, and they came up just short. Poor, Peyton-less little fellas.
Pick: Bucs

49ers @ Eagles (-10)
Wait, this is the Pitts/Mora Jr. game? They’re following the Niners? That shows how little Fox respects the 49ers or this game. They think the Eagles are going to win in a rout, so who cares if Pitts is there saying “checkdown pass” during EVERY SINGLE ONE of Alex Smith’s passes. Although it must be said that Vikings and Rams fans get to listen to Chris Myers and Tim Ryan, which is equally horrible. And don’t forget to follow the Fox robot on Twitter!

The Niners have quietly been one of the teams knocking out the most opposing players and dishing out the most pain this season. However, the Eagles are in desperation mode and have about ten times the talent at receiver Cincinnati does. Can the 49ers get to Michael  Vick when the Eagles know that’s exactly what they’re trying to do? I’m saying yes, because the Eagles seem like a team that’s getting crushed by expectations and ego, feeling the pressure that comes with knowing once their oft-injured quarterback goes down, they’re screwed. Even the Eagles’ beat writers are fighting.
Pick: 49ers

Patriots (-4.5) @ Raiders
My buddy Francis, a Raiders fan, had this to say today via text: “I believe they will play for blood and hopefully smash Brady like they did Sanchez.” It’s so great that nearly all lifetime Raiders fans start talking like Al Davis when they start winning, usually without even realizing it.

This game will go one of two ways:

1. Tom Brady will take out his frustrations after losing to Buffalo by leading the Pats to a 21-0 first quarter lead with 200+ yards passing.

2. Richard Seymour goes insane and knocks Brady out of the game, followed by nobody returning to work in Boston until next Thursday (at the earliest).

Against my better judgment, I’m going to go with the latter option because it sounds so delicious. Like a free sample of shrimp tempura.
Pick: Raiders

Last week: 10-6
Overall: 24-23-1

*This post was done and ready to go Friday afternoon, then the power went out throughout my neighborhood so I couldn’t publish it until after 11 pm. Ain’t technology grand?

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