I know what you’re thinking: How can free stuff ever be terrible?
There are a few cases of terrible free stuff. Like the leftovers from meetings held near our offices. Sometimes they’re great, like yogurt or a fruit cup. And sometimes they’re delicious, but dreadfully bad for me, like the brownies and cookies I’ve gotten at plenty of meetings. Blogger friend Budget or Fudget had a similar issue of being surrounded by free but unhealthy food from meetings or coworkers. She had to remind herself that healthy is better than free. And once we apparently got to the leftover sandwiches a bit too late, and ended up with food poisoning. Even the most delicious things can be trouble!
And last week, someone had a lunch meeting, and a few of us hovered around the conference room waiting for leftover Bertucci’s. And I was among them. And then I ate an entire meal and then some of food. After I already ate lunch. FAIL. And then the next day was Pi Day so our admin brought in two pies for us. And I ended up trying both of them. Double FAIL.
Then there’s the other freebies. I’m still a sucker for free stuff, so I’ll often register for the free samples that are aggregated on sites like AllYou, or mentioned on other blogs. This usually results in me wasting time chasing stuff I don’t need, and then having no good place to put the stuff. I’ve also joined in on BzzAgent and Influenster, sites that give you free or discounted stuff and encourage you to share your experiences with others. Sometimes the free stuff is great, but then you feel weird about mentioning the products in casual conversation. (If you’re interested in either of those sites, I can invite you! Or you can probably just sign up on your own. Keeping in mind what I just mentioned…)
I also try to enter giveaways hosted on other blogs. I’m super glad to have won a few in the past. But I’ve started to get a lot more selective with entering giveaways. I don’t need to waste time going to sites to try to win things I don’t even need! I’ve narrowed it down to only entering contests for blogs I read (or find out about on twitter), and then only for products that actually apply to me.
I definitely don’t mind doing reviews for websites once I’ve had a chance to try them out for a while. This has been the case with many financial websites I’ve reviewed in the past. And I wouldn’t mind reviewing fitness gear (shoes, clothes, electronics, etc.) or other experiences (I’ve done two fitness experiences reviews so far). But I only want to share stuff that I think friends/readers would actually be interested in. Either way, I’ll always be upfront about what I got for free, or how I came across the item or opportunity. But you know that already!
Regardless, I need to become more selective on what “free” stuff I get. I don’t need the extra calories from the unhealthy snacks, or the stress of finding a good way to naturally discuss a product that isn’t related to my interests, or the clutter from all the extra “stuff” I don’t need.
How are you when it comes to “free” stuff? Is your cabinet cluttered with stuff you don’t need? Do you find yourself browsing the “seagull table” (as we call it at work…all us seagulls hovering around for scraps)? Have you gotten a bit of a reputation (like I have) of being the first at the table for free food? Do you spend hours entering giveaways? Or are you able to resist? How do you convince yourself to stay away from those tasty treats coworkers offer up? How do you weigh the cost (in time, calories, space) versus the benefit of getting something for free?