Welcome to a new section of The Life called “Free Things Thursday.” Inspired by the many “Three Things Thursday” posts floating around the internet, I decided this would be a way to handle the free stuff I’ve received that I’d like to pass along to you. I realized that I need to make a plan for this when I found a coconut rotting under my desk at work two days ago.
So, back in December, I received a huge box in the mail from a PR company. I opened it, saw that it contained another huge box talking about a new type of coconut water, but then…sort of forgot about it. Now, admitting this makes me feel like an asshole. I got something free and I didn’t even care. I know how that sounds.
The thing is, when someone offers you something for free, you want to accept it, because they’re so excited about it, you feel like you should be too. And I spend enough time at my job feeling desperate for the right influential person to write about us and working with our PR team that I really feel for marketing and PR people. They truly don’t understand why someone wouldn’t want free stuff and I feel bad being the one to tell them that. But it just feels like there are going to be strings attached as soon as I say, “Sure, send the honey-flavored granola water on over!” Then I’m going to have to write about it even though it sounds like something I’d hate.
It’s like, I got the memo that just because a guy buys me dinner, I don’t have to sleep with him (and I actually used that as an out once!) but I need to get better at the whole “no means no” thing when it comes to PR companies. Especially when I remind myself that I don’t accept dinner dates with guys I have no interest in dating. I generally always avoided the “well, gee, thanks for dinner!” [kiss on the cheek] point at the end of the night because I never wanted free food that badly. I really should take the same approach with PR people.
Anyway, so I didn’t open the box because I just haven’t ever really liked coconut water, and I was afraid that I would try it and I wouldn’t like it, but I’d force myself to write about it here because I’d think, “Well even if I didn’t like it, maybe someone else would, so I should at least share the wealth.” But then I’d get kind of pissy about how PR people sometimes think that their new crap is The Best Thing Ever even when it has absolutely nothing to do with my blog, and how it’s basically free advertising, which is kind of not what I want to be giving away if I want to be taken seriously. Maybe shilling possibly-lame free stuff on my blog is my new “No one is going to buy the whole cow if you give away the milk for free” (although I do give away the milk for free too, so to speak…to Eric, not to you guys). But then days ago, I started to feel guilty about my fear of feeling guilty and felt even more guilty about not giving away free stuff to you guys and pretty-much-free advertising to a company I didn’t care about, so I decided to open the box. (I’m really your classic “whore with a heart of gold.”) And…that’s when I discovered the rotting coconut.
Apparently, this PR company wanted to be clever and rather than just send me three bottles of flavored water, they also included a real coconut with the samples. So…that was why the box was so big. The coconut was now rather soft and moldy and musty and I was amazed my whole office hadn’t started to smell. And then I felt even worse about the whole thing. I mean, I may not have been interested in the water, but I totally would have taken the opportunity to hack into a whole coconut if I had known I was getting that for free too.
My point is, free stuff and giveaways stress me out, and admitting that makes me feel really spoiled, which also stresses me out, but, well, now it’s out in the open, and my new plan to handle them here once a week (ish) makes me feel a lot better about the whole thing. As does giving away stuff I’m truly excited about it, which I’ve been trying my best to do (because not all products and the people who make them are bad!) and I will be doing more of next week!
But tonight, on our inaugural Free Things Thursday, I simply have some winners to announce.
The winner of the Mason Jar Cookies giveaway (yes, from a month ago…I told you giveaways stress me out) is Aleksa!
The winner of the Serve giveaway is Lizilla!
The winner of the CultureMap Fashion on Sale giveaway is Cathy Showan!
Ladies, I will e-mail you tomorrow morning with details on what to do to collect your prizes.
And to the company who sent me the free coconut…I’m sorry that this is the best I could do in writing about your product. Next time I won’t be such a tease.
Please tell me what you guys think of free stuff on blogs and giveaways! I’d love to hear your thoughts.