“But…It’s Free.”

Gift With Purchase. Freebies. No Obligation. No Questions Asked. Free. Free. FREEEE!

We are surrounded by marketing campaigns designed to rope us in to buying something we may or may not need, just so we can score a free doodad that we almost definitely do not need. Designed to make us feel as though we’ve come out winning. Designed to make us feel good.

How often do you gratefully accept these freebies, only to toss them out months later because, oddly enough, it wasn’t what you were buying in the first place and, shockingly, you have no use for it?

Me too.

Currently, in my bathroom cabinet sits my travel toiletries bag. And next to it sit two hair-care branded travel toiletries bags that I’ve been given. For free. Of course.

Maybe you’ve seen these:

  • Beer glasses free with a case of beer.
  • Branded keyrings.
  • Pens.
  • Squeezy balls.
  • Drink bottles emblazoned with a bank’s logo.
  • T-shirts.
  • Hats.
  • Tote bags.

The list of free things surrounding us is endless.

Only, they’re not really free. Did you know that?

There are resources used in their production, money spent on the marketing campaigns they are part of and wages to pay those who sell the actual products you’re buying.

But there is also a major cost to you.

You paid no money for it, but you store it in your home. It contributes to the clutter that stresses you out. At some point you will have to pick it up and decide where or how to rid yourself of it.

Your time is more important than that. Your well-being is more important than that.

Next time you’re offered something for free, try saying no.

That’s what I did last week when I was buying some face cream:

Shop Lady: “And you get a lovely woven basket for free.”
Me: “Oh, no thanks. I don’t have any need for it.”
Shop Lady: “But…it’s free.”
Me: “Oh, I know. But I don’t need it. Thanks though.”
Shop Lady: “But… it doesn’t cost you anything. I can give it to you right now. You could give it to someone for Christmas. It’s free.”
Me: “No thanks. Here’s my money.”

Then she got a confused, crazed look on her face and chased me out of the shop, shrieking, “But it’s freeeee. Freeeee! You don’t have to pay for it! Give it away!! It’s freeeeeeee!”

*The final part of the story may or may not have happened. (Hint: It didn’t.)

Now, as I’m clearing out, decluttering, sorting and tossing in preparation for the garage sale on Saturday, I find myself wishing I’d said no a hell of a lot more.

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