In recent not-like-me-at-all scenarios, I have been staying in and spending less. No longer trying to keep up with the Jones’, I wondered what it’d be like to keep up with people who spend as little as possible (their opposites the Senoj’s?). $0 being the closest to ‘as little as possible’ out there, I want to try for the free life. As a beginner though, rather than trying to acquire free trips, gifts and cars (aka living la vida gold digger), I figured I would keep it simple and amass as many free samples and giveaways I could in a day.
Inspired by a coupon cutting, flyer reading, deal-spotting, freebie getting friend who amazingly finds freebies across Vancouver that most others miss; I set out one rainy afternoon to do the same. Minus the coupon cutting and flyer reading. I just want the free stuff with no extra work required. Sure it was raining out and the weather had gotten significantly colder and giveaways are more likely to happen when it’s sunny and busy in the city but I wasn’t going to let something like actual facts slow me down. To the streets!
First stop – the downtown marina concourse. Hopping off the skytrain near the site of the 2010 Olympic flames, I’m hoping there’s something happening today. Here I’ve recently scored many free samples and gifts:
- Speed stick deodorants
- Black Diamond cheese strings
- Gilette brand shavers
But alas, today it’s a ghost town. There’s nothing going on and I’m the only one here. Following the tumbleweed’s hint, I take off from this desolate place.
Free Status: FAIL
Heading nearby to the Convention Centre, I hope for numerous events as they’re a great source of freebies. Most recently at the Flight Centre Travel Expo I scored a few handy re-useable bags and entered to win (but lost) several free trips.
This time, however, as I stroll into the front lobby, a security guard tells me the only event happening today is by invitation only. She then kindly informs me they’ll offer convention centre tours next month and gives me an info card to follow up.
Although a crappy consolation prize, it’s still free and today that’s all that matters.
Free Status: Moderate WIN!
Next, I traipsed over to Vancouver’s famed and always popular Granville Street, where I had recently acquired:
- NO2 energy drinks (think Red Bull with less PR)
- Mini bottles of Vitamin Water (4 flavours)
- XM Radio baseball caps (I gave this ‘stylish’ item away)
- Pantene Pro V shampoo and conditioner packs
Today, on a typical Vancouver day (cloudy, just finished raining, now intermittently raining with a chance of more rain), the crowds are out, the sidewalks are relatively full but there are no booths on the strip, no events taking place and definitely no free stuff or giveaways in sight.
Free Status: Epic FAIL
Now desperate, I go to the last two possible places to get me some freebies in Vancouver:
#1. First stop is the Rogers Arena- where the Vancouver Canucks play hockey. Previously on a random rainy walk by, I stumbled into:
- Free playstation game stations and contests
- Free hot dogs (I had 2 qty. mmmm)
- Free Van Houtte coffees
- Free coca cola brand soft drinks
However, it appears that when the Canucks aren’t playing a game in the arena, there will be no crowds out front and thus no ANYTHING out front.
Free Status: Ridiculous FAIL
#2. Finally, my last chance to score the elusive freebie today lay with the epitome, nay, the shrine of all freebie shrines – Costco!
Heck, there are even Facebook pages and websites devoted to fans who love Costco’s free sample offerings.
Rumour had it too that Costco no longer gave out samples on weekends, as the cost was too high. If this rumour was true, it could ruin my freebie day.
With a deep breath, I walk into the busy Costco store…and right into a sample booth.
- Genuine crab meat on crackers
- Peach jam on toast
- Beef Lasagna
- Mini rib sandwiches (or ribwiches as the kids call ’em)
- Tempura chicken (from the freezer? Really?)
- Yogurt (oh ya, what does yogurt taste like again? I’ll need a taste of that please)
- Sausages with sun dried tomatoes
- Pita bites with hummus
- Shortbread cookies (a cookie? oh I’ll need several samples of this)
- Granola bars
- Doi Chang coffee
I literally couldn’t turn a corner without stumbling over someone offering me a free sample of something.
Free Status: EPIC win
I’ll probably never say this again but thank you Costco! Although I didn’t try any of the free samples (even if I liked it, I’d have to buy the 100-pack!) the long lines in front of each booth were a testament to how good they must have tasted. That or people just really, really like free stuff.
I could have gone on to get free makeup, makeovers and maybe even perfume samples but I consider that a whole other advanced level of free seeking. Still entrenched deep in the beginner level, I had gotten enough of not getting enough. It was time to call it a day and take my sad, empty bags home and try again another time. I figure I’m just like everyone else and want the best things in life.
I just don’t wanna pay for em. 😉