Freebies

What to do with those items people give away as advertising promotions?

I used to work at boat shows when I was much younger. I would end up with packets of stuff – brochures, pens, gizmos too weird to describe. They would get carted home and eventually dumped in the office or kitchen, where they clogged the drawers and shelves. Then I would throw them out in anticipation of the next round of show freebies.

I don’t bring that stuff home anymore, not even the free pens.

What about stuff that comes in the mail? Do you send for samples, or are on a mailing list? This is especially true if you are a new parent.  The stuff that just comes in the mail is usually disposable, usually expensive once you’ve developed a taste for it.

I don’t ask for samples. I want to make up my mind without being burdened with new products to try. Mostly, I’m going to use an old product that isn’t disposable or has a lot of packaging.

I don’t even try the food samples in the supermarket. It’s usually junk food. Then they give you a coupon. I don’t use coupons – I want natural, whole foods without packaging, and I don’t want to pay for the advertising.

Our bishop used to give us nice pens at clergy meetings. They were a quality refillable product, quite attractive. I did appreciate that. If I didn’t need it, I gave it to a parishioner who might like a pretty little something, or used it as a prize in confirmation class quizzes. The bishop here gives out lapel pins, which would be quite useless to us. I don’t wear any jewelry at all, not even a watch, and Nicholas has no lapels.

Trade show freebies like that – how come no one gives me a really good vegetable peeler?

Acquisitiveness is fostered by give-aways. I think good stewardship leads us to question whether we need something and if it is worthy to take home, or if it is just feeding our greed.

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6 thoughts on “Freebies

  1. Free pens I always take if offered, pens seem to have legs in my house. It doesn’t matter if I paid for them or not, I have lost expensive ones just weeks after I bought them. If I knew how I lost them I could find a way to improve but I do not, they just seem to disappear and never come back.

    As a student at the university I used to help the university by telling high school students about studying and studying teaching in particular at education fairs and school visits. We used to give away tooth brushes which many thought was very funny and unusual. I must admit that I stole quite a lot of them myself and I two years after I finished university I found the last of the stolen tooth brushes and it was used as a travel tooth brush until not too long ago. I would really like to get a free tooth brush but I have never seen any but the ones from our university.

    • I realise that is happneing here. I don’t know where the pens are going! Okay, I found two in my workroom, but there were a lot more. I may have to retract and accept a half-dozen freebies!

  2. Your post really struck a chord with me! My employer gives out so much junk as rewards–caps, totes, plastic note pad covers, mugs. Ack!! Once in a while they will give something useful–a ceramic mug or an insulated lunch bag–but mostly it is useless. Unless it is something I need and will really use, I pass on it.

    • You have a lovely blog! I really admire that rudbeckia.

      Some employers are very gung-ho, think they are promoting employee satsifaction by burdening them with stuff. Your desk/cublicle/office starts to look like a white elephant stall at the church fair. Yes, I wish promotions would make sense. I am so not going to wear a printed baseball cap, and how many coffee mugs do I need? Maybe you could suggest that they give you gift cards to a nearby coffee shop instead. If they are a big enough business, maybe they could have the cards or gift envelopes imprinted with their name as well as the shop’s.

  3. I am on some manufacturers’ lists. I use their one shampoo worth of shampoo and conditioner, ladies sanitary supplies and the like as part of our 72 hour kits. Here in the U.S. federal emergency assistance can take at least 3 days. Hence, having a kit that covers your needs for those 3 days is recommended by the federal government and most state governments. Mostly, in an emergency we plan to shelter in place, but if for some reason we need to evacuate we will have basic needs for us and our pets. Much of our camping gear is mentally included in our evacuation plans.

    I don’t go to trade shows like I did when I was a paralegal, but when I do I look at the freebies offered and only take what I can personally use or pass on to a food bank or homeless shelter. The little samples and such I don’t need cam be quite helpful for homeless shelters, especially Catholic Worker shelters who are not federally funded.

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