Monday, July 1, 2013

How Nice is Free Stuff?

My wedding's coming up in less than two weeks and I'm excited for many things: a beautiful ceremony, great music, starting a life with my terrific wife-to-be, all that great stuff.

But do you know what all my guests should be most excited for? The bag of wedding favors they'll get when they check into their hotel. Party favors are the best, as free as free can be. It recently struck me that the material things we value most in life are the things that don't cost us anything. Think about it. We love goody bags, open bars, Christmas gifts, and complimentary drinks.

When I was in high school, my buddies and I used to say we got "prizes" whenever we took anything from restaurants and bars. I guess "prize" sounded better to us than "stolen merchandise." Prizes included miniature bottles of wine, coasters, beer glasses, and framed photographs. Oh, and those little plastic menu-holders:

The best prize ever was a huge Guinness mirror my buddy Ken stole (prized?) from a bar in Manhattan. Ken walked out the front door with the mirror under his left arm, and he high-fived the bouncer with his right hand as he left. That prize ended up being a birthday gift for his dad, who still has it hanging above the bar in his basement. Not even parents question free shit.

While my friends and I use the term prizes, many people also say SWAG. With all of his SWAG, Michael Scott basically decorated his entire apartment for free.

From the beginning of life to the end, people are searching for free merchandise. When I used to go to the hospital for the birth of a sibling, I would get a free pin that said "I'M A BIG BROTHER." (With six siblings, I've got a few to spare.) And when mourners go to a wake to celebrate someone's life after it's ended, they're given a mass card free of charge.

My friend Chris's dad always says, "You can't beat a Free-O." He's absolutely correct; by definition, there's nothing cheaper than something that costs nothing. You literally can't beat the price of a Free-O.

That is, you can't beat a Free-O that actually is a Free-O. Think about baseball stadium giveaway nights. "All fans in attendance will receive a free Yankees calendar." So I get a $2 calendar for free, and all I have to do is buy an overpriced ticket? That's not a Free-O.

But let's not dwell on fake freebies, as this blog was intended to be a celebration of the best (read: most free) things in life. Enjoy them whenever they are given to you, and steal them if you must. Just don't call it stealing, because you deserve all the prizes you can get.

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