Ayo, can you hook a brotha up?

That never worked for me before. Well, I never phrased it like that, either. It’d be more like “ayo, can I get a hook up?” Maybe I wasn’t saying it cool enough. Either way, I didn’t get free stuff growing up. BUT THOSE DAYS ARE GONE. In Korea, they give away free stuff all the time. It’s great. I don’t feel like an uncool guy anymore for not getting free stuff. Now, I’m the coolest guy in the world! Well, me, along with everyone else getting lots of free stuff.

One thing we’ve noticed about free samples in Korea: if you ever go to a supermarket, like Costco, and they’re giving out free food samples, I’m used to just getting one sample per station. Getting anything more than that would be rude. That’s some unwritten rule I was taught, somehow. I really don’t know how. Who said this to me, I don’t know. I just know that more than one isn’t right. In Korea, though, that rule doesn’t apply. I’ve seen moms walk up to the food sample stations and swipe five samples at once. Like, one for me, one for my kid, one for my husband, and another for me because I forgot what the first was like, and a last one for the road. I still can’t bring myself to take more than one at a time, but I’d love to build up the courage to do so.

Anyhow, back to free stuff: there are other instances in which you can get service. We get it a lot at Noraebangs (good ones). Whenever we rent a singing room, it always comes with some free snacks. Good ones bring you juices and stuff like that. Great ones that we’ve come to know very well sometimes bring us some free beer. HELLS YEAH! But that’s just the starter: when you’re in the Noraebang, you’ll see a little timer in the corner of the TV telling you how much time you have left, because you usually rent the place for an hour or so. Most of the time, you’ll see a little sparkle pop up in the corner and it’ll say “Service!” in Korean, and more time will be added to your clock. That’s great and all, except if you’re in a room for too long. You know when it’s too long: when everyone’s tired as hell, and have already sung a lot of songs, and are ready to go home, and they’re just cheering you on out of politeness but they’re dead tired, except you got that one friend who loves singing and will never ever stop, and so you’re waiting for the timer to run out so you can leave, but the place keeps giving you more free time, and your friend keeps on getting excited but you want to just run away and never talk to them again? Yeah. It’s bad at those times. There are also some craptacular Noraebangs that won’t give you any extra service time. We never go there twice.

There’s also “After Care Service” in which, if you buy an expensive product, like a phone or a fridge or a car, you can get it serviced and fixed for free if anything goes wrong with it. Don’t quote me on this, though: it works for some things, and maybe not all. I know people who have bought cars who, from time to time, take it back to their dealer and get it all tuned up for free, and they even vacuum it for you for free. After care service! If anyone’s got more info on this, I’d love to hear it. I haven’t really used any after care service on any of my stuff yet, though I really need to take our robot vacuum back to the dealer for some after care service, because he’s acting a bit drunk lately. He humps everything in site, and gets stuck in places and just gives up. GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER, LUCIFER! You’re embarrassing yourself!

Let us know what “service” culture is like where you’re from. Can you get more than one free sample at a time? Do you get free side dishes and drinks at the restaurants you go to? We’re curious.

And, lastly, there’s a service here as well. Click on the button below, and we’ll give you unlimited free videos! It’s so worth it!

  1. I (living in the US, not Korean) work at a children’s museum in which most of our staff are Korean. Yesterday I didn’t pack a lunch and had to eat at our food court. When I picked up my grilled cheese combo, our cook (Korean) picked up my fries, put a chicken nugget on top, and said “service”. I knew I knew that expression, but couldn’t remember what it meant… Had to come back here to figure it out. Free chicken nugget!

  2. I’ve vacation in Vietnam and the market thing is the same! I bought toothpaste and it came with a spatula and a pair of chopsticks tape to it. The other brand of toothpaste has two children toothbrushes taped to it, but for the same price, I could get a spatula. At coffee shops, when I stayed there, if you go at night and ask for ramen, they’ll make it for you for free. Some places have hammock for you.

    I live in the SoCal, and free stuff are quite rare. Mostly, you go to events where there’s a lot of corporations handing out free stuff with their logos on it. You can get free perfume samples if you ask though. That’s what I always do, I go to like Nordstorm or Macy or any other stores and ask them for perfume samples, I would go in and leave with a bag of like 20 different samples bottles. Some family run restaurants offers free drinks. This one small boba place I go to is buy one get one free. At food courts at mall and such, just ask to try a piece and they more often then not will let you try some.

  3. That explains. My daughter and I were shopping at a mom and pop “cool korean stuff” store next to Super H Mart. She bought a cute little headband, cost maybe $2.00 and the owner gave each of us a really nice quality t-shirt, 2PM and BigBang!

    Other than that the only place you regularly expect service is the dive bars, they give away t-shirts, glasses and shots of Malort.

  4. My aunt and uncle take me out for my birthday every year, and one year I remember sharing the room we were in with a group of businessmen at another table. At the end of the meal, the waitress brought out coffee and Grand Marnier (I asked) in shot glasses for everyone. Come dessert, the waitress brings out a tray of those Grand Marnier shots for us, too. I don’t think the dessert was free, but those shots were.

    The only other time I remember getting free stuff was when I’d buy issues of Cosmo UK or the Dandy/Beano in England. Candy would often be attached to the comic books. Cosmo would have a makeup pouch, or something. I remember being in a charity shop and buying a book and on the back cover, it was marked as a Cosmopolitan Edition, which meant it came free with an issue of a magazine.

  5. This doesn’t count as “service” but it is free stuff! I live in New York City and when I was in high school I volunteered often for charity walks/runs (a lot of them were in Central Park). I often came home with a bag full of goodies because the big runs/walks have a ton of sponsors and gave out free stuff. I remember WalMart gave out socks, beverage companies gave out bottles of their drinks, and snack companies gave out small packages of their snacks.

    On another note, there is a Koreatown here and the noraebangs give free sodas. When it comes to restaurants and cosmetics stores however, I seldom see any “service”. I guess they caught on to the American way :/ I was so surprised that you got free samples from cosmetics stores because the Korean ones here usually don’t give any unless you ask.

  6. I had a really nice experience once in Belgium, where I live. I was working in the summer in a sort of wellness salon and next to the salon was a sort of shop where you could get all sorts of sandwiches. A few Thai women ran the shop and they were so friendly. On my last day I went around noon to the shop and I asked for a cheese sandwich, to eat when I would head back home by train in the evening. They said ‘but it will not taste as good when you’re going to eat it. I will bring it to you before you leave. By the time I was about to go home they brought me my sandwich and a bag of kroepoek (thai shrimp chips) as a little gift from them. I was so happy I got that because I love kroepoek ^

  7. Hi. What makes you decide to put a video on any one of your three channels? How do you decide?

  8. Hello Martina and Simon. This question is aimed at Simon. Is it difficult to find pants that fit in Korea. You are 6 foot something.
    I know I have trouble finding pants that fit in the States and I am only 5;11. Tell us your story.

    • From their previous videos when they talk about clothes in Korea it seems like Simon mostly has to shop in Canada and bring clothes in. However he did manage to find the awesome EYK uniform sweat pants in Korea and it seems like there is a growing population of taller Korean men so perhaps he know of some stores that cater to taller males.

  9. I live in Southern California and I’m currently in culinary school. Generally, I don’t get a lot of ‘service’ in SoCal, except on some occasions- when I’m out at quality restaurants (like a nice gastropub or a cafe or something), and I’m with other students and we’re in partial uniforms (the checkered pants, possibly chef coats), we sometimes will get service. Old and young chefs alike look out for their own kind. So, I guess you could call that an ‘industry service’? It’s kind of like I’m already part of the club :)

  10. Hi Simon and Martina! Could you guys maybe discuss about online shopping in korea? There are so many online stores and even the concept has been used in dramas but where I come from… eh… not so much. Also I am really confused on how to use Gmarket so maybe if you guys could explain on that a little I would be really grateful :) thanks!

  11. As an American, the idea of stuff for “service” is an awesome yet unfortunately rare concept (at least where I’m at in Ohio). Free samples are pretty much the domain of Giant Eagle on Saturdays, where, as you mentioned, it’s rude to take more than one bit. However! At one of the Korean restaurants my roomies and I used to go to (Korea House in Cleveland), we would usually get a free surprise steamed-egg-souffle-thing of utter deliciousness, served before the banchan arrived. I don’t know that the word “service” was used but I guess it was the same idea.

    (P.S. You aren’t wrong, there are way less toys in cereal these days. Also, to Simon’s credit, I totally got a CD from a cereal box once in middle school and I’m only a few years younger than you two!)

  12. I really enjoy watching Simon and Martina, they are funny and have obviously made a business of living in Korea (very smart). However, I do feel that is time for them to start introducing new and much younger host for some of their segments. I do not know how old they are but I do know they are no spring chickens. In my opinion it is time to pass on the baton to new talent. As creators of EYK they will always have creative control but let’s be honest some of the segments they present seem in my opinion a little juvenile for them.

  13. Hey guys! When y’all moved to Korea, and till today, how is it reading so many signs in hangul or going on Korean websites to see only Korean? I know how to read (very slowly) and understand probably 50% of the time, do you guys get overwhelmed by it too? Or are you guys used to it now? Thanks!
    From a fan in Austin, Texas :)

  14. Possible future question: have you gotten any amusing stories about misunderstandings due to your Korean not being understood or misunderstanding someone else’s Korean?

  15. Some places have started offering free stuf if you join their rewards programs like TGIFridays gives you chips and soda everytime you eat there if you’re a stripes member. For the most partto get free stuffnyou have to go to the right people and ask or you have to go to a company website and sign up uo have the trials sent to you. Though bath and body works sends out periodic coupons to you if you shop frequently for.free travel sized bottles of lotions ect.

  16. I’m distracted by how good your skin looks like, Simon & Martina! I wonder if living in Korea has changed your skin for the better, what with the free samples and the super affordable skincare over there.

  17. Hey Simon and Martina~ I have currently watched this weeks WTF and noticed that Martina had a Talk to Me in Korean book! I just started to learn Korean 1 in school and I’m having quite a hard time forming my sentences. I’ve never checked out ‘How to Learn Korean’ books before. I was wondering if you recommend any books for self studying and if you had any tips on improving your Korean. Any advice would be fine~! I hope you guys enjoy your day and stay fabulous! – A Fellow Nasty

  18. You could probably do this in a future TL;DR, I was watching the new Korean tv shows like 2ne1tv, strong heart, running man, roommate, etc. Anyway, they kept mentioning things like 4 dimensional personalities and then they would said, for example: Park Bom of 2ne1 has a 8 dimensional personality. I (and probably some people) would like to know what are “dimensional” personality? What’s the difference? Is it popular? Is it popular to a certain age group? Do people like it? Is it good or bad? Is related to aegyo? Thanks! -Miracle, a Texan Nasty y’all!

  19. I live in Houston Texas, and we don’t really have service like there is in Korea. What I noticed is that at the cosmetic section in Korean markets they kind of give you service. I once bought some face masks and this Korean lady gave me bunch of face cream samples that they were going to come out with soon.

  20. I can only think of one occasion on which I’ve gotten service food, and, funnily enough, it was at a Korean restaurant here in Canada. Probably not a coincidence!

  21. I’ve seen a lot of broke kpop idols(and I mean like college student broke) go buy food and they always try to negotiate the price or ask to get something for free because they’re celebrities. So I’m guessing that price tags in Korea are more of suggestions than actual prices and that negotiation isn’t something that’s rare. And I’m also guessing that this only works with things like food, not things like clothes, and that it helps to be good looking and famous.

  22. Yeah, nothing free in the US. Hell, we even have an Americanism – There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Heck, it’s even a theme in a SciFi novel.

  23. As much as we Dutch love our free stuff we don’t get a whole lot. When you order something online they might throw in a sticker, maybe a candy bar, or if you order a cd (dating myself here) the publisher might throw in a cd that contains songs from all their artists. And if you buy perfume you might get one or two samples you can use. But it isn’t a whole lot really.
    At restaurants they might give you a drink on the house at the end, or an appetizer on the house at the start. For free dessert you either need like coupons or to really know the people who own it.

  24. I don’t think I could ever have the courage to take more than one food sample either haha. And I’ve also always wondered why they offer toilet paper at the cellphone shops whenever i pass by them….maybe cuz you’re going to sh** yourself at the amount of money you will drop on a new phone…haha just kidding :p

  25. I’ve always wonderd how a school year looks like in South-Korea, here in Belgium school ends in june and then it’s summer vacation till august and in september school stars again, but in university school starts at the end of september. Also when I’m on a trip to Paris or that time I went London I hear lots of Korean tourist and I always wonder ‘don’t these kids have to go to school it’s like the middle of the school year?’ Since you guys have been teachers maybe you could explane to me how it goes because I’m quit confused!^^

  26. OH! So I remember my boyfriend and I always went to our friend’s family’s korean restaurant (because we like korean food and why not support people you know right?) and his mother would bring us out an extra little something and would tell us it was “service”. We always thought it was so sweet of them! and now like 4 years later we see it was a cultural thing too!
    Thanks for shedding some light on my past XD haha

  27. so a while ago, i remember a TL;DR on pets in Korea, and I was wondering if it’s changed since then? You said that dogs and pets were becoming more accepted in Korea but has that really changed yet? and are there any other pets besides like cats and dogs? Also, completely unrelated, but have you read the Life of Pi by Yann Martel? It’s a pretty good book. :)

  28. The only franchise I’ve gotten free food (they’re near the expiration date though) in the US was from Starbucks. They usually do it when they’re about to close. It usually mom-and-pop stores where I experience “service” . When I was at my local hardware store, the cashier let have some nails for free because they sell it by the pound and we only got 6 nails. I doubt Home Depot would do that. I got extra pizza with my order when they got the toppings wrong.
    Other than that, I would like to get alot of samples from Etude House, Missha, and some Korean makeup/skincare stores.

  29. In Czech republic it is pretty rare to get something free. I remember there was magazines with free stuff, like very bad lipstick, I think there are still some, but less. Sometimes I found free samples of food, like small square, really small, of cheese or mini cup of yogurt but that all was like 10 years ago. We still have some magnets from cheese and toys from cereals but it’s less now. But in hypermarkets is big hit to give some plushies or stickers for purchase, for example for each 200 czk you pay, you get small sticker and when you get 30, you get plush. Well I was quite surprised few weeks ago, when they started giving away Angry Birds plushies and I already picked bird I want and I saw that not only you need tons of stickers, but also you have to pay. Less than you’d pay for plush itself but still.
    The only occasion you get a lot of free items is before election. Free snacks, magnets, stickers, pens and stuff like this :D
    So no, don’t move here, no free thing for you.

  30. I get lots of service here in New York City…but in the immigrant community. Like I live in the Bronx and there is a Mexican restaurant that I love. I discovered it by accident, but the food is phenomenal. I go there pretty often and I always take new people so the servers usually give me free drinks or a free dish, because I have brought in a lot of new business and I am a loyal customer. I really love their mango smoothie! I practically live in K-town and as expected I get a lot of service there. I took Korean lessons there for a while so most of the business owners know me and give me price breaks (the book store owner, the DVD store owner) because they like that I speak with them in Korean. There is a restaurant that I love and frequent that always gives me free things because just like the Mexican restaurant – I bring a lot of people. I even convinced my best friend to celebrate her birthday there! Free bulgogi! I get a lot of service in the Jamaican restaurant by my house because 1. I am Jamaican, 2. I bring in a lot of business because if I like a place I always recommend it 3. When I don’t feel like cooking (often) I eat there! So they give a free drink or little extras to my food like steam veg or oxtail on the side or grater cake!

  31. I just had to say I loved you guys today. You were so goofy and just made me laugh with all your rabbit trails… The marvel shirts are totally cool too!

  32. What does dental work cost in Korea. I know that in America if you need braces you probably have to pay at least five thousand dollars. I have braces and where I live it only cost my family about two thousand dollars. Does it cost a lot for braces in Korea? And what about just regular dentist check ups?

  33. Hey Eatyourkimchi, I saw your MARVEL shirts and got reminded of a ”kinda” free deal. At one of our supermarkets ”Plus” ( in The Netherlands) you get a MARVEL MINIATURE FIGURE at every 15 Euros you spend ( to promote, The amazing spiderman 2 and Captain America I guess), so it is kinda free because if you already shop there regularly, you just get something fun extra. We often have these kind of deals and that is because we Dutch people love collecting stuff and lot of different big supermarket chains often do these kind of deals. Like with the World cup coming up, one supermarket will prob do the same but then with cute little mascots to support our national team, they had these in the past : http://www.smetty.be/wp-content/uploads/wup.jpg ,
    http://www.digitalmastering.nl/covers/27-06-2008-11-08-09-De%20Welpies%20-%20Alle%20Welpies%20Helpen.jpg , http://cmgtcontent.ahold.com.kpnis.nl/cmgtcontent/media//000639200/000/000639222_003_beesiefoto_pachshot.jpg

    Here is the site to this supermarkets current MARVEL deal I was taking about with all the different characters you can collect: http://www.plus.nl/acties/superhelden http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/236x/70/36/44/70364466a691f789aad2c0670f842348.jpg

  34. I also posted this comment on Youtube, but then I realized it would be better suited for the blog discussion.

    It’s funny that you mentioned Taco Bell. I live in the US and I worked in fast food for about two years, and I actually worked at Taco Bell for one of those two years. As you’ve pointed out with Taco Bell, major fast food chains don’t offer service like that and I’ve noticed that it’s the same for the US. Although here in the US at least, most fast food chains have service surveys that you can do ((service this time as in “how was our service today??”)), and a lot of the time you’ll get something for free just for doing the survey. At Taco Bell, you could get free desserts for doing their survey ((at least when I worked there two years ago)). I also worked at McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts, and usually you could get free desserts there for doing their surveys, like a free cookie or a free doughnut. I’ve noticed actual restaurants having more of these surveys recently, and sometimes you can get a free appetizer or a coupon for such-and-such amount off of your next entrée for doing their surveys. At the Red Robin near me, you can get a free appetizer for doing their survey. My friend and I also got free chips and guac for signing up for their email alert service.

    This is getting really off topic, but restaurants and fast food chains here in the US make a big deal out of these surveys because it’s how they find out how satisfied their customers are with their service. These surveys are also the place where you can easily complain about ((or praise)) a waiter, waitress, or cashier ((even a manager or store owner!)) that makes you angry, and restaurants and fast food joints make a big deal out of what people say in the surveys. If a worker’s ((or manager’s)) name is mentioned for positive reasons, that person will get praised in some way. Sometimes, they’ll get something for free ((at most fast food chains here, workers only get discounts on their meals. They used to get meals for at least half off, but usually workers only get a 10 to 20% discount now)) or they’ll get a prize if their name is brought up enough times. If a worker’s ((or manager’s)) name is mentioned for negative reasons, there are often very serious consequences. Depending on the fast food chain you work for, you could get fired if your name is mentioned in a complaint just once. When I worked at Taco Bell, this was so and I had multiple coworkers get fired because they received just a single complaint. And people definitely take advantage of this.

    Continuing with my original on-topic rant, here in the US even large drug store/pharmacy chains are hoping onto the service survey bandwagon. Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid all offer surveys, and I know at Walgreens and Rite Aid at least you can get some sort reward for doing theirs.

    I´m sorry for the long, slightly off-topic rant! Perhaps major fast food chains would make an interesting TL;DR? It would be interesting to know if Korean fast food chains work the same way as fast food chains do here in the West, or if it’s a completely different world.

  35. Omona South-Korea here I come, I love no I adoooore free stuff, really when I smell free stuff I’m like a beast:)! Here in Belgium you almost never get free stuff,maybe some free samples purfume or make-up (but much less than in S-K) or one free cookie at convenience stores but for the rest Belgians are really stingy! What they do a lot is you have to buy like 6 bottles of coca-cola and then you get 1 coca-cola glassfor free! But I must say this week I got a donut for free, like a REAL donut…for free… I f felt like….

  36. Some of the Korean restaurants and stores in in Southern California will give you service, especially if you got there a lot. Like Koreantown in Los Angeles has a couple of shopping centers where some of the stores will give you service. Do the Korean stores in Canada not give you service at all?

  37. In Sydney sometimes just at the entrance to central train station. There will be people giving out promotional stuff for new products

  38. In America the only time you might get something free in a restaurant is if it’s your birthday they might bring you a small free dessert. Some places sing to you. Others (Texas Roadhouse) will stick you in a saddle while the waiters do a line dance around you. Yeah… I avoid that place on April 12th… ^^ I’m not sure how differently Korea celebrates birthdays (TLDR?) but do restaurants give you free ice cream?

  39. lol nobody pronounces “service” as “Seo bee suh” in Korean in Korea, but it sounds more like “Seo-Beess”. you can listen it more properly through this video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhhFqQKnmWE, from 45sec

    • Hey, Min Kim! Another Min Kim here! ;) Yeah it’s more like Seo-BeeSSS with a really strong S at the and BUT Simon’s pronunciation was pretty close. It sounds like S’s in or only without any vowels. For those Nasties who are familiar with Chinese, it’s close to 四(Si with 4th accent).

  40. I work in a pharmacy in Australia, and we have soooo many samples of things that we just kind of give out. Our cosmetician is always giving people samples, or even brand new testers that she has like 3 of (not to mention all the testers the staff get to take home. SCORE!). And there are just samples floating around all over the place.
    Also, we had this Health Day thing a couple months ago, and my boss just called up all the companies and was like “What can you give us?” and they all sent us like 1 bajillion samples of their products, like, it was insane. We had no room for actual stock in our stock room, it was so full of free samples to give people.

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