We Brits just love a freebie.
It doesn’t matter what it is, or if we’ll ever use it, we all get excited when somebody hands us something we haven’t had to pay for.
Example: hotel products. Now you could argue they’re ‘built into the price of the room,’ but they certainly feel free when we gather them up at the end of our stay. ‘Sure, I’d never go out and BUY a shower cap,’ we think, ‘but I may just need one someday and this wonderful hotel has pre-empted my needs. I’ll return here!’
Last month, on a hen weekend, I was thrilled to receive a bright pink party bag, with my name written on it in sparkly writing. MY name. For ME. Sigh. Somebody had thoughtfully compiled a weekend ‘kit’ that included a party popper, a shot glass, chewing gum, aspirin and a lollipop.
True, I only ate the lollipop and ended up slinging the rest, but the point is, it was free, it was mine and I was thrilled.
I remember once getting a promotional card through the letterbox from a nearby coffee shop, with two complimentary teabags stapled to it. How wonderful! I mean, yes they were camomile and I don’t like camomile but what a terrific thought. I still have them in my tea cupboard, just in case Dame Helen Mirren ever calls round.
And just last week I flew home from holiday with Virgin Airlines and found a little gift on my seat; a small flannel pouch, fastened with a button. I ripped into it with the excitement of a kid on Christmas Day to find an eye mask, ear plugs, a tiny toothbrush and a thimble of toothpaste. I’ve taken the pouch home and plan to keep it, if I can find anything small enough to store in it.
Why wouldn’t I? It’s mine, it was free and I was absolutely (you’ve guessed it) thrilled. Thank you, Mr Branson.