Wednesday, September 23, 2009

When Free Isn't Worth It

I'll admit it ~ I love pursuing the many frugal websites and I love getting freebies. Just this week I received a free full-sized natural lip balm, some Metamucil samples (not sure I'll use those, but I can pass them to my MIL), a Prilosec sample, a feminine hygiene product, and $20 in coupons for Star Foods (each worth $4 off any amount ~ these are high value coupons). Last week I received 2 free greeting cards which I sent out right away.

In several of these cases I was made aware of a product I didn't know about previously. I really like the lip balm. The case is chunky but that just makes it easier to find in my bag, and I love not having to use my fingers to apply the balm and not being scraped by the edges of a traditional lip balm. I had no idea that WalMart sold 44 cent greeting cards but now I will keep that in mind (I don't always have time to make my own and I balk at spending $2 or more on a greeting card). The Star coupons were sent to compensate me for my time ~ I did a survey for them. I had never purchased Star olive oil before the first coupon they sent me (also for $4) but now it is my go-to brand for cooking.

But sometimes I see a freebie that just isn't worth it to me. For example, Cold Stone Creamery is having a freebie tomorrow night for a 3 oz. Creation in exchange for a donation to Make-A-Wish. Make-A-Wish is a worthy organization however I just don't think this freebie is worth it. For one thing, I hate lines and crowds and I suspect that there will be both. To me, waiting in line with children is torture and 3 oz. of ice cream isn't worth an hour or more to me. I'm also a bit put off by bribing people to make donations. In this case, I am betting the Cold Stone expects a lot of actual sales in addition to the freebie ice cream. It looks charitable and altruistic but it isn't. Charitable and altruistic is Cold Stone making a donation to Make-A-Wish on their own.

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