Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sometimes The Dollar Store Is Too Expensive

I am a person who is always looking for the best deal. Many times that requires comparing products, price shopping, and adding coupons into the mix. Sometimes I can only employ one or two of these factors and sometimes it requires all three. However, sometimes it just takes a little luck and a smidge of effort in order to get the best price possible… FREE!

As of late, I have been picking up a few items here and there at job fairs which have demonstrated varying degrees of quality and usefulness. This is a great way to collect a mismatched set of plastic cups, travel mugs, and random memory foam stress relievers (best used when you hear the words “we’re not looking for someone with your background at the moment”). All in all, nothing is really worth bragging about (both the item and where you got it).

My wife has also been picking up a few free items lately. She came home yesterday with a grab bag of literature from an all day conference she attended at the Loews Hotel in Philadelphia (the conference was also free which is a find in itself). I was going to attend the event with her but Mr. Sandman was being a particularly persistent bastard yesterday. Anyway, while the information may not be helpful to many it was useful to her and, therefore, a great free find.

My latest two acquisitions are of a completely different free breed. High quality useful items are something I am always looking for and getting them for free is just a bonus. The two items pictured will be used and used a lot… one right away and one in the future.

I came across the free Siddur while browsing through my Facebook feed. A few friends had shared the link for the giveaway and when I saw it I had to claim my copy. This was not a contest; it was on a first come first serve basis. Simply click on the link and fill in the shipping information.

I knew the company, Koren Publishers Jerusalem, and have other Siddurim from them so I had no qualms about sharing my information. A few weeks later and the book was waiting for me at the front desk. Now I just have the simple task of learning Hebrew and this will be a heavily used addition to our library. Like I said earlier, this is the item that will be used in the future.

An item doesn’t have to be fancy to be a great freebie. Sometimes it’s the simple items that prove to be the most useful. A perfect example of this is the map I received from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

The arrival of this envelop was met with some trepidation because usually when you have an envelope in your mailbox with that return address and your registration isn’t due it means bad news. So, when this parcel arrived, I was ready to break out the check book and survey the bank account. I find it both impressive and disturbing the pucker power an envelope can have when the return address it related to a government agency. It was a pleasant surprise to find something useful enclosed in the PennDOT stationary.

With all of the traveling that we have been doing lately and all the trips that are planned over the next several months, this map is something that will be used over and over again. For me, old school maps are a much better way to find those out of the way places that the Maps App on my iPhone can’t pronounce. We often forget that technology has its limits and sometimes the best way to find something or someplace that you didn’t know you were looking for is by flipping through the pages of a book or unfolding a map on the table.

It just goes to show that free stuff (and clichés) can be found all over the place. All you need to do is pay attention and be willing to commit about 30 seconds in filling out your mailing information. Note that some of you may have to take off the tin foil from your noggin to accomplish this. Some of the items are going to be more useful than others but, who cares, it's free. If you really don’t want it I’m sure someone you know will or you can donate to charity (which would, in turn, make it free for them).  

What are some of the items you have gotten for free? What are some of the items you wish you didn’t get for free?