Who does not like free stuff? Almost everyone on this planet is a sucker for free offers and that is why all those irritating ads abounding on the internet announce ‘You are the 100000th visitor to this site. You have won a free iPad. Click here!’ There are a large number of websites who are devoted to helping people locate ongoing free offers. There is even something known as ‘freebie marketing’. People love their free samples, free ecards, free quotes, free trial versions and they also love their tax free and gluten free. I am no different from the general populace and I confess that I love freebies – especially ones at the workplace. Well, some of you might say a freebie is a freebie is a freebie – what does the workplace have to do with it? Ah, you see I am amongst those who do not love their work too much – we just keep at it for the sake of the pay check at the end of the month. So when you get free goodies at work, it definitely helps sweeten the deal for us. It does gives me some additional motivation to haul my ass out of bed on a rainy cold Monday. Now if you ask me, I would rather have frequent pay hikes and bonuses as my motivation – but let’s face it, that ain’t happening! So I will settle for whatever I get.
Now the funny thing is my own firm does not give away anything for free. Oh, no! No! They are one of the Big Four consulting companies who cheerfully rip off clients in the name of providing quality advice (incidentally their recommendations most times are totally useless or things that a ten year-old with common sense could come up with). The unspoken mantra in the consulting world is charge as much time to the client as possible. Be they lunches, coffee breaks or loo breaks, charge one – charge ’em all ! So they definitely are not the type to distribute largesse. However as part of my job, I have to regularly work at client sites, dishing out aforementioned advice. Some of those companies are an absolute delight when it comes to the free benefits they offer their employees. Of course, as externals we cannot really avail all those ourselves but clients are generally kind enough to let us take our share of all the free stuff being distributed on office premises.
For instance, right now I am doing a piece of work for a major diary and drinks company in Australia. In their offices, they have well stocked refrigerators on all floors that hold attractively sized portions of gourmet cheeses, 12 different varieties of flavoured yoghurt, 5 to 6 types of fruit juices, plain milk, flavoured milk, soy milk, puddings and other desserts. All of these are of course the company’s own products and they let employees enjoy these on the premises. Yummm – I so look forward to raiding the fridge each day!
My husband is also a consultant working for another firm and his life is far sweeter than mine. He has been working for a particular client for quite a while now and they are one of the largest chocolate manufacturers worldwide in terms of gross revenue. So his workplace is always littered with all kinds of chocolates. The company in question also regularly gives away all things chocolate-y when they have special promotions or major holidays. For instance, the week before this Easter, each employee there received a big goodie bag filled with a dozens of Easter bunnies and eggs. Well, I can tell you, we sure had a sweet Easter.
However my personal favourite remains the company that I had once done some consulting for in the UK. This organisation was a large multinational which owned some of the best known household brands in the world. There was a shop inside the office premises where employees could pick up most items on their supermarket shopping list at about one-sixth of the market value. But the best part was that the office was equipped with large freezers located at strategic corners and these were full of ice creams of all varieties and flavours. Can you imagine a better way to beat the stress of a looming deadline and an irate manager than escaping to a tub of Ben and Jerry’s Cookies and Cream? Sadly my assignment for that particular client was pretty short one and so I was gone before I could have had enough ice cream to feel satiated, which perhaps was a good thing otherwise I would have reached record obesity levels.
Outside the world of perishable foodstuffs, I have not really had much experience with corporate giveaways in offices. Wouldn’t it be awesome if the Louis Vuitton offices had handbags to give away and Jimmy Choo stocked the latest designs in all sizes for their employees to pick up? Maybe those happen already. I just haven’t experienced it yet. Perhaps I should try and angle for a consulting job at the House of Versace as my next assignment and see what happens there. Until then I will comfort myself homemade cheesecake flavoured yoghurt.
Whoever said the best things in life are free sure knew what they were going on about!
Does your office give away free stuff? What corporate freebies do you get or do you want to get? Let me know!