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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Information: Start a freebie spreadsheet.

Some of you have commented to me, "I filled out offer XYZ and it never came," or "How long will it take to get ABC rebate?" Sometimes I know the answer offhand, but most of the time I don't, because, let's face it, I sign up for a lot of freebies due to this blog.

I try to post only ones that I personally have tested the sign-up for, or that are vouched for by sites I trust, but there are a lot of reasons why you might not get the freebie you asked for. Sometimes, these freebies are designed for a small audience (like targeted email), but then go viral and the company is faced with either spending WAY more than they intended on the promotion, or looking like jerks and angering consumers by not fulfilling the offer. Sometimes (think of any of the fast-food free food promos) the offers come from Corporate, and the individual franchisees can't or won't participate. Often, they have a certain number of free samples to give away, and when those are gone, that's that - only you have no way of knowing that on your end.

So I finally decided to put together a spreadsheet, which I should have been doing all along, to track the freebies I send off for and keep an eye on when/if they are fulfilled. If my ultra-scientific method shows that a certain company has burned us, then the next time they post a freebie offer, SCREW THEM. Stick it to The Man!

Here's what's on mine. If you do a lot of mail-in offers, I encourage you to set up a log like this, so you'll know what you've got pending instead of just a vague feeling that you sent away for something and it should be here by now.
  1. Company sponsoring the offer
  2. Item/discount offered
  3. Contact info or URL in case of questions/problems
  4. Date ordered
  5. Date received
  6. A "Done" check box
If you have questions about whether a certain freebie offer worked for me, feel free to get in touch. Getting discounts and freebies should be fun, not a bummer, so I don't want you to feel ripped off about what you send off for. But remember, free is free, and you get what you pay for.

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