Old Cermudgeon though you may be, I think that leaving with an invite to the Gathering is a good sign.
IMHO, a given number of steeping-samples is not going to be a hard-and-fast rule. It's more a customer-by-customer thing. If I show up at that shop and basically am looking to score some free samples to cure my caffeine jonesing for free, I'm out of line trying to get samples. If, however, you show up with a genuine interest in the different types and need a few sips to make a decision, and spend some time, interest and money there (the time and interest being more important!) don't feel bad if they keep the tea a-pouring.
Be there or be square. Only I can do both!
I've got a cat named Beefeater and a dog named Beefeater, and two goldfish called Beefeater and Beefeater. There's Beefeater my hamster and Beefeater my horse, and my piglet, known as Beefeater of course.
Veteran of the Great Irisch Moos Campaign of 2008-09