While I believe that Christmas is about the spirit of giving, I am also inglorious enough to admit that I will partake in free receiving at American retailers. Corporations are generous during the holidays, whether they know it or not:
Teavana – okay, they do know. We drink their new product varieties at the entrance. This company doles out free tea samples in the hope that a potential customer leaves with a tin of dried herbs at $32 an ounce. It’s all completely legal, their capitalism and my free consumption, as I walk past their emporium.
Lindt – I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything from their mall storefront. Lindt products are a better bargain at the grocery store. Regardless, a walk through the mall includes a trip through this premium candy store because they hand out free truffles.
Mobil Lube – I knew I needed air in my front tire the other night but it was 20 degrees out. Tired after work, I didn’t want to stop at a gas station at night or pull out our compressor when I got home. My solution was to pull into a drive-thru oil change company on the way home.
“I am not due for another oil change yet but can you check the air in my tires?” I inquired with a big smile.
I climbed out of my car and asked how the guys were doing without waiting for an answer. “My red pressure light is on and I still have a long drive ahead of me.” I waited for their reaction knowing my house was three miles away.
“Tires!” one yelled to his colleague inside.
He waved me into the bay and two minutes later, my warm tired self waved good-bye. I turned onto my street and took a breath of fresh air, knowing it was free.
Sears – this added freebie was unintended but I owned my lying behavior. I spent a legit $8 as I checked out at the register. When the key pad asked for my phone number, I started to enter it without thinking. As I got to the last four digits, I realized I don’t usually provide my number or email, to avoid spam. My second thought enabled me to enter four final made-up digits.
I wish the lottery was so easy. A woman’s name from town popped up on the kiosk as the cashier asked, “Would you like to use your Sears credit card today, so-and-so?”
“No, not today.” I too quickly responded. I figured the worst I could do was add loyalty points to her not-so-private account.
I paid with my debit that clearly didn’t match PTO lady’s account but there was no point-of-sale audit. I didn’t feel guilty or like a thief until the coupons started to print:
Let’s just say I bought my husband’s socks – from another register – before I left the store.
Clinique – While I wasn’t between a rock and a hard place, I have been almost out of my facial moisturizer between Thanksgiving and Christmas. In my mind, I had two choices. I could buy more, with disposable money I didn’t necessarily have, or I could wait until Christmas and hope a new bottle showed up in my stocking. I decided to hedge my bets, take the risk, and wait until Christmas…in a conservative, cheap-ass way.
I showed my face at the make-up counter at Macy’s.
“My girlfriend told me I should try your moisturizer for my dry skin.”
The esthetician’s are always more than willing to share their scientific training. “You’ll love it, yada yada, yada.”
“Do you have any samples I could try first?”, I continued, “See how my skin feels in a few hours and try it for a couple of days?”
“Well, yes. I would recommend it. We don’t have any sample tubes but I can make you some.” I continued our conversation as she started to pump out the $40 moisturizer, “That would be great. My girlfriend said I’d never use anything else.” She handed me two small round containers of moisturizer that will last me until Spring. For free.
During the remaining winter months, I am confident that I can take advantage of a lot more Corporate freebies. Before Easter rolls around, I’ll be sure one of them is confession.