Free Gifts - What's The Catch?
These days, you can almost live off free gifts. You can find
free grocery cards, free heating, free diapers. In some cases,
you can even get your gas bills paid for a year, or even your
heating bills paid on your behalf.
In some cases, it could be to promote their products. The
company wants to increase the sales its product. They are so
sure you would love their product if only you would try it. Free
samples are given out, hoping you would love the product so
much, you would buy it the next time around. That is how Estee
Lauder promoted her business decades ago. She would give free
samples of her products. A practice unheard of then. The women
who tried her creams found they really work and then became her
In the same way, free 1 year gym memberships might be given out,
hoping that you like the facilities so much, you sign up as a
paid member when your free year is out. Free magazines might be
given hoping you like the magazine so much, you subscribe to it.
My son came home with a free magazine he won in a contest. We
are considering subscribing to that magazine as it is rather
Not all free gifts are so good. Some come with a hidden cost.
Especially some of the free software or screen savers you might
download into your PC.
Nothing is truly free. Think of it. How would the makers of this
software cover its cost? Such free software is often bundled up
with adware. The ads pay for the software. Download the software
and you see ads popping up on your PC, in some cases, slowing
the PC to a halt. These are the ones I am wary of. Basically,
before downloading anything into your software read that entire
terms and conditions carefully to see if they are going to put
anything else into your PC.
The other type of free software would be the free trials of
software you would have to pay for if you want to use beyond the
trial period. These are usually good programs that after using
beyond the trial period, chances are, you would want to continue
using them so you pay for the cost of that software.
Then there are the unscrupulous companies where the
representatives lure you into their office with the intention of
pressurizing you into buying something really expensive which
you don't really want in the first place. It happened to me
before with a time share company that kept me in there for
hours, with the representative trying hard sell tactics to
pressure us to buy from them. I have since read complaints about
similar companies in the newspapers. In such cases, forget about
the gift and walk away.
Then there are the promotional free gifts used to bring
publicity to the sponsoring company. The goodwill the free gifts
bring is, to the company, worth the cost of the gifts
themselves. These could be small items as door gifts at a party
or they could be huge prizes like a mustang car given to winners
of a lucky draw.
Have you ever answered a few survey questions in a mall and been
given a pen or other gift as a token of appreciation? I love
that sort of free gift. Sometimes, the gifts can be really
Market research is important to a company. For a company to
succeed, it needs to know what the consumers really want. For
that reason, some companies are willing to give generous gifts
in exchange for your filling in some survey forms. These free gifts
are often given in exchange for your survey answers or your
feedback. A sweet deal to the consumer if you ask me. The catch
here is that in many cases the companies may need only a certain
number of respondents. Once the quota is met, the party is over.
The early bird catches the worm, or gets the gift in this case.
By answering surveys, you can get free gas, free groceries, free
perfume, free dinners, free designer handbags, gift cards to buy
whatever you want. Who knows how long this would last, but while
companies are willing to shower consumers with all these goodies
for free, you might as well enjoy it while it lasts. Even then,
freebies should not replace your regular job or source of
income. It is just the icing of the cake, but boy, is it sweet.