Last night I went to a neighborhood ice cream store opening party and got a FREE yummy taste of some coconut gelato. It got me to thinking of the way people behave around freebies and the etiquette of the exchange.
For the magazine I decided a nice "freebie" would be to have a custom blend of Eastern Wildflower seed packs imprinted with a nice message on the front: "May all your weeds be wildflowers" and our logo plus subscription information on the back. Mostly I give them out at local garden events I have a booth at such as the Baltimore FlowerMart or the Leesburg Flower Fest. This past weekend I did a booth at the Brookside Gardens Children's Day and gave out seeds to kids who participated in a seed matching game I made up.
So far I've given out hundreds of packs and maybe gotten 2 subscriptions out of those. (I track my subscription sources pretty closely but sometimes if a sub arrives in the mail with no card or ad, it is tough to tell where it came from -- could be the radio guest spos, web site, or other sources.) Will I be repeating this next year? I'm not sure.
I believe in Karma and sending out positive energy into the world. On the otherhand, some of the behavior and grabiness of the seed receipients has started to turn me off. Not everyone is badly behaved, a few even ask to pay for the seeds, but the few rotten apples just make me sad for all of humanity.
Like the lady who came back and grabbed handfuls of packs "for her mother and sister." I was to stunned to react but wanted to say,"Why don't you just open my purse and help yourself to me wallet as well."
I've considered making a sign that says: "Please take ONE." However, the implication is that everyone SHOULD take one and really I'd rather save them for those who actually come up, show interest in the magazine, and at least engage in a bit of conversation before departing with their "freebie."
My favorite seed grabber so far was an older gentleman who swooped past me, grabbed some seed packs, walked away briskly, then stopped as he read the pack, turned around, marched back, threw them on the table, and said with utter contempt and disdain, "These are MIXED seeds!" Okay, then...