Just got back from the regional home and garden show at the convention center. I have goodies aplenty from generous businesses interested I making me a customer. A couple of reusable shopping bags, two new reusable bottles (recyclable once I’ve killed them), a weekly planner (nice one), several pens and catalogs and coupons galore. I only took things from companies whose services I am actually interested in, I can’t rationalize taking freebies from places whose products or services I will never use. I leave those to people who will use them. A couple of the companies I routinely patronize and made it a point to go to their booths and tell them how pleased I am with their services. In every case they were truly appreciative. First to hear that someone likes them, and second (probably) because here was one person to whom they didn’t have to make a pitch!
I love home and garden shows, not primarily for the freebies, but mostly for the opportunity to get information about service companies without having to invite them into my home. I get to get a feel for the character of the company by meeting the people they have to pitch their product. If they are super pushy, it’s probably not a company I’ll be comfortable dealing with. Roofers, and HVAC, and window companies all need to be let into your home so they can make their pitch. This was a stress free way to find out about their products and the company, get some information, and decide for myself – without a salesperson hovering over me – whether I want to deal with them or not.
I’ve been on both sides of the booth. Admittedly the sales side was in college, trying to pitch my organization to uninterested students, with pens, buttons, and bracelets to give out. That’s actually one of the reasons I don’t take things from companies I’m not interested in. It used to annoy me when people very obviously had no interest in your organization and only wanted some free stuff. I had people actively oppose the mission of my organization and then take a pen and whatever else we had. I leave the free stuff for people who are going to want something to remember the company by.
I highly recommend going to whatever version of a home and garden show is in your area. We actually had the flower and garden show in February (mostly garden centered), and this is the home and garden show (more home improvement) as Spring rolls around. I love them both. And, there are several vendors whose products are usually mail order who show up at these types of events. Local artists, local food companies, Tupperware consultants and all sorts of home selling party business representatives are generally there. And you might find some sorts of businesses that you didn’t know were around. Who knew we have companies doing geothermal systems in our area? Cool!