As a high school student, my husband Matt took a job with Baskin Robbins and their famous 31 flavors, a job that was great for the wallet, bad for the waist. He told me the following tale of inventive frugality from his time there:
One hot Las Vegas summer day a customer walked into the store and asked for a free sample of Rocky Road. After enjoying his free sample, he stopped and stared at the tiny pink spoon for a moment. Then came the query, “Just how many free samples can I get?”
“Uh . . . I don’t know,” said Matt.
“Well can I have one of each flavor?”
“Umm,” Matt puzzled with that dumb look teenagers do so well, and a lazy shrug of the shoulders. “Sure, I guess it’s okay.”
“Well, how much is a waffle cone?”
“25 cents. “
“In that case, I’d like to buy a waffle cone and get a sample scoop of each of the 31 flavors.”
And with that Matt went to work. When all was said and done, it actually ended up being about the equivalent of three scoops of ice cream. It took some time to get into every ice cream bucket in the display case but soon the customer walked out smiling from ear to ear with his impressive rainbow menagerie of ice cream, free ice cream.
Friends, there is an easier way to get free ice cream and a bunch of other freebies too. There are hundreds of companies out there, including some of your favorites, which offer free goodies to loyal customers. I am guessing that you already buy their products, so why not take advantage of some extra rewards? These are not subscriptions you have to pay for, or a scheme you get roped into. They usually have no strings attached, no obligation. Companies just want to get their product in the hands of the people and keep them coming back for more.
These rewards can sometimes be collected when you sign up for their loyalty programs, others on your birthday, or on a special day each year such as National Doughnut Day in June when Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ Donuts offer freebies. Sometimes the rewards may come on a significant day for the company—how about a free Slurpee from 7-Eleven on, you guessed it, July 11th? Some companies, like Godiva Chocolates even have monthly rewards. If you sign up for the IHOP email club you get a free meal when you sign up, another on your birthday and another on the anniversary of joining. Three free meals!
In the category of ice cream, take your pick: Baskin Robins, Cold Stone Creamery, and Ben & Jerry’s all offer a free scoop for your birthday. Looking for something a little beefier for your b-day? Red Robin offers a free birthday burger to club members. Applebee’s and Chili’s have free desserts. And for something a little faster and strictly causal, Burger King and McDonald both hand out happy birthday kids meals, even for adults! Relive your childhood or rebel and get that cheeseburger mom never allowed.
Just think about which businesses, restaurants, or goodie shops are your favorites and sign up for their clubs. Loyalty is worth a lot to these companies, so they are willing to give some of it away for free. Offers are posted in stores, on print ads, and certainly on the Internet.
So, my fellow freebie lovers, have you signed up for any loyalty programs? Do you use the rewards? What is the best free offer out there? Do you find that companies make good on their promises in making your freebie dreams come true?