The Key To Free
How To Get More For Free, All The Time
I think it all started back when I was 9 years old. I picked out a pretty floral wrapping paper from the store to bring home and wrap my grandparent’s anniversary gift. How shocked I was upon opening the pretty paper to discover the second sheet, which was supposed to be identical to the first, was a bold black and white zebra-like pattern. I sat down with notepad and pen and my little 9-year old handwriting and described this sudden dilemma to the company. Cutting a small sample square of each paper to tape to my letter and show them, I explained “this is what I bought and this is what I got”.
We celebrated my grandparents anniversary and what must have been a week or so passed, I was on to filling my days with normal childhood adventures. One day though, pulling in our driveway with my parents we all spotted a huge, casket-size box sitting on our front porch. Neither of my parent’s having ordered anything were instantly wondering what this could possibly be. This gigantic box was addressed to little me!
Inside was an apology letter from the gift wrap company along with not only more sheets of various wrapping paper, but entire rolls of gift wrap. Also stationary, gift boxes, tissue paper, note cards, bows… It literally took my family and I years to use all of these supplies! Now there’s a company who obviously cared about what their consumers were getting, how they felt about their products; a company that appreciated customer feedback.
Well, that was just the beginning. Ever since then I have been finding ways to get amazing things for free. I’m not just talking about an occasional free meal because you find a hair in it or something, although this has happened. This brings back another memory from my childhood, dining at a restaurant with my parents. As they often do, the owner came by to greet us and see how our meal was. She asked me in the course of our brief conversation if I was getting enough to eat and I honestly told her no, I wasn’t full yet. She sent me out a whole other gyro sandwich for free! Then there’s also the time around my pre-teen years that we were given some money ($20 or so) to use however we wanted while vacationing in Florida. My brother chose one of the theme parks miniature golf courses. I was not about to spend all my cash on some round of putt-putt. So here’s my family all going to walk around the course while just my one brother plays. The clerk behind the counter, as my brother’s paying and picking out his golf club and ball, asks me why I wasn’t playing too. Once again, my honesty paid off. I looked at him and politely, but affirmatively told him I thought it was over priced and way too much money to spend for a game of putt-putt golf, (character based course or not). He was sorry to hear I felt that way and handed me a golf club and ball and also each of my parents as well. We enjoyed the course and I still had my money to spend on something I felt would truly be of a more lasting worth.
So now in my adult years it’s a little different, but in some ways still the same. Sure, I don’t have the little kid cuteness factor on my side anymore, but just as it worked back then, I’ve found that total honesty to companies really has a way of paying off. The key to free is not to lie your way though a story of a bad product experience, but to be completely honest. For example, my husband and I about a month ago purchased a high-end frozen pizza from a very well recognized company. Having eaten their foods in the past and always enjoyed them, we were of course expecting the same experience on this occasion. Much to our surprise the dough tasted stale and the whole flavor was bland. I found the website of the company on the box and wrote them that night and explained our tasteless experience. They expressed their appreciation for customer feedback and were apologetic for our disappointment. A few days later I received two coupons in the mail, for two new pizzas of our choice!
So how much stuff can you really get for free? Let me give you an idea. I have received all of the following:
- 8 Meals from Captain D’s Restaurant
- Full-Size Bag of Cape Cod Potato Chips
- 2 Glade Air Fresheners
- 2 Photo Books from Hot Prints
- Full-Size Box of Drumsticks Ice Cream Treats
- 15 Customized Ink Pens
- 2 Styles of Avery Label Pads
- 2 DiGiorno Regular Size Pizzas
- Photo Prints from WinkFlash
- More Tampons and Sanitary Pads than I can count
- 8 Uni-Ball Ink Pens
- 2 Curious George Movies
- Hyland's Restful Legs Homeopathic Remedy
- Vista Print Customized Ink Pen
- Shampoo and Conditioner Samples
- 2 Dairy Queen Blizzards
- Surfer 12-Month Magazine Subscription
- Customized Rubber Return Address Stamp
- 50 Photo Prints from SnapFish
- 3 Schick Quattro Razors
- 2 Puzzle Books from Reader’s Digest
- 3 Other Magazine Subscriptions
- High Quality Business Cards from Moo
- 15 Pilot G2 Gel Pens in every color
- DiGiorno Single Serving Pizza
- 2 Arm & Hammer Toothpastes
- Photostrip from Wink by Shutterfly
- 2 Jeremiah Weed Bourbon Whiskey Tee-Shirts
- Customized Magnetic Car Door Signs
- Pack Of 6 Hanes Brand Socks
- 24 Double Rolls of Angel Soft Toilet Paper
So how exactly do I do it? Be aware and observant. Quick point in case, my husband was given a bottle of a favorite whiskey. We both know what the usual sweet, smooth flavor of this brand is like and this particular batch, well, it was good, but just not the usual palate pleaser. I encouraged him to get on their website, find a way to contact the company and let them know about this taste difference. He did and the company representative was very pleasant and promised to look into the flavor letdown. She offered to mail out a tee-shirt toting their company logo and when the package came in the mail, she’d included two, one black, one gray. Companies want consumers to be pleased or else they lose their customers.
Time is money, it’s a worn out phase, but still holds some truth to it. Some battles aren’t worth fighting and that’s just a fact, but if you have a sub-par experience and are willing to use a few minutes to contact the company, this can really be like getting paid for using your time that way. If you receive a replacement item or compensation for your disappointment, then you’ve made the equivalent of cash for your few minutes spent on the phone or typing up an e-mail. Don’t pass this up.
On top of all of this, I frequently scour the web for free samples. Not things that you have to complete surveys for, or be a Facebook member to get, or sign up for multiple credit offers and give your own life story before you receive the item, but real legitimate free samples. The ones that companies are offering just for you to give their product a try. I’m willing to give my mailing address and e-mail address out if I’m receiving something worthwhile. And just in case my name does get sold and I get junk mail or spam, I’m glad that I always use one particular e-mail address for these freebie purposes. That way I can quickly see what’s real and what’s junk without opening every single message in my inbox. My friends don’t know the address and I never give it out for anything important like online banking, so I can easily spot spam and move on.
So in 1, 2, 3, easy steps, here’s the key to free:
- Be Observant & Willing To Contact Companies About Your Product Experience
- Honestly Explain What Made Your Experience Exceptionally Great Or Very Disappointing
- Watch For Daily Free Samples On Our Website
Article submitted by one of our editors at SaveCreatively