Sunday, 19 April 2009

Unexpected Freebies

There's a certain satisfaction to getting something for nothing. At home, I'm always on the lookout for free samples and coupons, which certainly works for the companies in the long run - a lot of the things I use regularly, I first tried as freebies.

When my husband and I set off on our honeymoon, my mum advised us to tell everyone that we were newlyweds, and see if they would give us anything. This tactic gained us a small bottle of wine on the train to London:

Honeymoon wine

However that was the first and last time it was effective. Nevertheless, there were a few unexpected freebies along the way which had nothing to do with the fact that we were honeymooning.

The first was on the Rossiya train between Moscow and Irkutsk. In the carriage, a small package had a comb, toothbrush, and other essentials in case you'd forgotten to bring anything. Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of them.

In addition to this, each day we were supplied with a bottle of mineral water and a box full of basic food and drink related goodies:

Rossiya food box

Train freebies

The contents were: a napkin & wet-wipe, toothpick, instant coffee, a teabag, coffee creamer, two packets of sugar, tomato ketchup, crackers, butter, salt, and pepper. We still had all the ketchup left over when we got off the train!

In the hotel in Beijing, the normal sachet of shampoo was accompanied by a selection of other bathroom goodies: a shower cap, a toothbrush with a miniature tube of toothpaste, a very solid plastic comb, a pack of cotton buds, two condoms, and a bar of soap. Each.

Hotel Freebies

Note that we were in the hotel for a week, and every day the whole set was replenished if we used anything.

The most impressive 'free lunch' of the trip, however, actually was lunch.

We wanted to take a coach trip from Beijing to the Great Wall of China, and picked the one which also called at the Ming Tombs on the way back. The sign said "lunch included"... we imagined sandwiches, and as a vegetarian I really wasn't expecting to get anything I could eat.

As it happened, ten dishes were brought to our table, and only three were non-veggie - you just had to be quick with your chopsticks to get some of the more popular dishes. The Chinese tourists who shared our table were highly entertained by the fact that I wanted to take photos.

A Chinese lunch

One even more surprising benefit of this was that this photo then went on to win me a box of chocolate! How's that for a bonus freebie?


What's the best freebie you've ever had?


Kazzy said...

So cool that you went there on your honeymoon? Irkutsk? Wow? Not interested in a warm tropical lying-on-the-beach kind of vacation? :)

Chef E said...

Free advice that I should have not gotten remarried :) Sorry, could not help myself...lately I am getting so much free stuff, but I am spending more on ingredients to cook more!

That is a good tactic when you go out for your birthday too, I have milked it many times! A few times when it was not my birthday, and got a t-shirt...

Jeanne said...

I stayed at a really nice hotel in San Antonio a few years ago and they had the BEST shampoos and lotions I've ever encountered -- lemon verbena scents, and orange blossom. Yum!

Domestic Executive said...

Not sure if this can be classified as freebie but it's a long sleeved polo shirt I was given when I travelled first class with Lufthansa once back from China. I was a frequent flyer in those days for business and had enough points to upgrade to first class. It was a truly memorable experience because of the food. The seats, movies etc were pretty much the same but the food and wines were simply superb. I almost rolled of the plane having eaten so much. That free shirt came in handy as my luggage was lost in the Frankfurt change and I had to wait for a day for my cases to turn up!

Brett said...

That was such a cool post, best freebie i've had from blogging was a tshirt, so far any way.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I love freebies! They can make even the most boring items -- such as soap and napkins -- appear so very, very fascinating! I suspect a bit f childlike wonder may at work here. ;D

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