Debra – I’ll take that deal!

I travel a lot.  Before you get all envious or eye-rolling on me, please consider that this weekend I’m going to Rochester, NY.  I’ll see the airport, the hotel, and the airport.  With maybe a restaurant or two thrown in.

I normally travel on time-sensitive trips, which require careful planning to insure I have “backup” flights in case the first flight has a mechanical or inbound weather problems.  I never take the travel voucher when they’re begging folks to get off the plane.  I can’t.  I have people depending on me to get there.  You’d have to sandblast me out of my seat.

On the way home on Sundays, they only ever seem to offer the $200 voucher.  I’m tired.  I’ve got mountains of work waiting for me.  I’m not getting off a plane for $200.

Two weeks ago, the airline hit $400 for a voucher.  I thought a second, and opened my mouth to say, “I’ll do it!” and wave my arm at the steward.  But that second was a second too long and some guy with superhuman speed was racing down the aisle.  Normally they ask for volunteers before you get on the plane, but apparently this was a weight situation and they had to get people off the plane once it was loaded.  I sat in my seat mentally kicking myself, because I’ve got to fly my husband to NY with me for the RWA National Conference.  That $400 voucher was his fare!  And I let a little thing like being tired get in the way of a bonanza.

I fumed.  Cursed silently.  Then put it behind me and reached for my magazine.  When all hope seemed lost, the steward began coming down the aisle counting passengers.   I struck instantly this time.  I stopped the poor boy in the middle of his count.  “Excuse me!  If you need another, I’ll get off.”  He gave me a withering stare as only a steward can give when you’ve interrupted him in the middle of his count.

“I don’t think we’ll need another.”

“Oh.  Okay.  But I’m willing.”  ::big smile::

He went back to counting and I gathered my things.  Just call me an optimist.  Sure enough he needed one more.  I left the plane feeling very clever.  I beat the system!  I got something for nothing.  I’M BRINGING HOME THE BACON!

It is absolutely ridiculous how excited I was to get this plane voucher.  Apparently, even though I travel, I “don’t get out much” so it takes very little to impress me.

Why are we so excited when we win something?  My sister has a huge network of sites she visits to get freebies.   She gets free samples of something in the mail every single day.  She’s gotten coffee pots and action figures and movies.  Toothpaste, drink mixes and books.  The list is endless and she never gets tired of finding the “free.”

How about you?  Do you love a bargain or freebie?  Do you like gaming the system?

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25 Responses to Debra – I’ll take that deal!

  1. Laney4 says:

    I too get things almost daily from the Internet web sites, like makeup, gum, chocolate, pain relievers, body lotion, air fresheners, sugar, toothpaste, shavers, yogurt (via coupon), laundry and dishwasher detergent, allergy medicine, light bulbs, coffee, etc. – and this was just part of my April/May list so far!
    My two high school girlfriends and I collect stuff from the Internet, plus one has a time share and gets shampoos, etc., and the other picks up street vendor freebies. (I don’t wear makeup, plus I’m allergic to lots of cleaning agents, so they get lots of Internet freebies from me.) We get together three times a year to share our finds (we live two hours apart), and then we contribute a bunch to teenage mom or abuse shelters. When I am done reading my books and magazines, I pass them on to my GFs, and they in turn pass them on to their parents’ retirement homes.
    I also have a list of recycling items I save, and over a dozen friends give me theirs to pass on too. For example, Girl Guides get entire Campbell’s soup labels (re a cash for education program), pop can/pudding tabs (they get money for the metal), and cancelled postage stamps; our local Legion gets bread/milk tags; our local YMCA collects outer 4L milk bags so that mats can be crocheted for Third World countries; egg cartons are reused by our local food bank; and metal is given to our local Sea Cadets so they can redeem for cash.

    • debradixon says:

      Laney–

      That is awesome! My sister hasn’t quite gotten to the “green” part of freebies, but we all get the “freebie basket” at Christmas.

      I love the idea of getting together to do swaps. What a fabulous guilt-free girls weekend away! It’s all for the betterment of the world. (g)

  2. Linda Morgan says:

    I love freebies! I retired from AA and know the oversold flight situation too well. I do love my free flights for life. My older daughter is my companion and we leave a week from today for Puerto Vallarta for 8 days. My airline ID got us a suite in old town for $43 a night. On the negative side, we fly standby and we only get on if there are unsold seats.

    AllYou.com (magazine) has a link to sign up for a daily e-mail for a free sample. Some of it’s good stuff, often it’s a decent coupon, too. I still use the Sonic Toothbrush I got years ago from StartSampling. I quit smoking 3 years ago but still enter Marlboro’s
    contests and have won quite a few things, the biggest was a boombox. Free is fun.

    I just recently did my first discount offer. I paid $15 for a $30 voucher for Proflowers through Mamapedia. It was a good deal, and now that I am no longer a virgin deal consumer, I will probably do another soon. I used to love to do the timeshare spiels to get a free treat while on vacation. I did one 3 yrs ago in Puerto Vallarta. The catamaran cruise to an underwater national park was great, the breakfast was good at the timeshare, but the closer guy should be in jail. I haven’t wanted to go through that punishment again. Sometimes it was hard to get the free item, but if I sat through it, they’re coughing up the prize.

    • debradixon says:

      Linda– Free flights for life? Oh, man, is that sweet deal. I’m trying not to be envious and chanting $400 to keep myself calm. (g)

      I ‘ve only done one timeshare deal. That was in Hawaii and OH MY STARS! I think they’d have reeled my husband in if I hadn’t been there.

      I’m going to go sign up for AllYou.com. You guys are inspiring me to do more sampling, freebies and discounts. To be a predator. (g)

  3. michele says:

    Deb, I would have been darned excited to get that $400 freebie. Airfare is insane right now. But yes, even the little free things make us feel ridiculously joyous, don’t they? Nothin’ wrong with that at all. 🙂

    • debradixon says:

      Michele– I concur. There is nothing wrong with joyous! No animals or people were harmed in the gaining of my voucher so I’m allowed to be joyous!

  4. Are you kidding, Deb? I would have leapfrogged that guy for a a $400 voucher. Other passengers would have appreciated a little entertainment on an otherwise ho-hum flight.

  5. debradixon says:

    Kathy– LOL! Don’t think I didn’t consider tripping him and leaving footprints on his back! But then I remembered my mother’s training and I didn’t.

  6. Here’s my freebie story from last night: Local grocery story offers “fuelperks”–5 cents off on gas for every $50 you spend. This is the one couponish deal Clyde truly loves. On Saturday the system failed to give me credit, so when I stopped in shortly after 8:00 last night for, like,2 things, I planned to get a correction at the service counter. But it was closed. Got my 2 items and asked the cashier if she could make the correction. She didn’t know how, and she said they’d started closing the service desk at 8 pm. Only one person in the story would know how to do the service, and she would be on break for 15 more minutes. The woman behind me in line chimed in–she needed the service desk for a return and was told no one else could do that either. We were the only 2 in line.
    That settled it. I told the cashier that I realized this was not her fault, and I asked for the MOD. She said he wouldn’t know how to make the correction, either. That was just plain ridiculous. It wasn’t like it was the middle of the night. I said I wanted this taken care of now. She called the MOD, who must have told the one person who knew the ropes to walk the cashier through. I got my corrected receipt. Another 5 cents a gallon off on the next tank of gas in Clyde’s pickup. What a wife. Hey, we’re up to 70 cents off. I deserve a free trip!

    • debradixon says:

      Kathy– Our grocery store has that deal too! Hubby loves it. Come wagging in his gas receipts like he’s gone out and killed/skinned and butchered elk for the winter. LOL!

  7. That’s grocery *store*. And I see I made another short story long.

  8. Linda Morgan says:

    Today’s AllYou sample is a free quart of Glidden Paint, but evidently the site crashed because I can’t get their with the All You link or Glidden.com. The paint deals are great – you choose a quart of ANY color they have. My daughter got me a hot pink and I got a turquoise and did accent areas in hot Mexican colors. I have a purple-gray sample from Valspar right now – a sample with a mini tray and roller. Their site might still have it. One of my daughters went nuts with a quart of black sample from Glidden – frames, chandelier, barstools, etc.

    Not long ago I saw on the news that passenger rights are being improved (from the passenger standpoint). Bigger payouts on missing/lost baggage and definitely a better deal on oversold flights for the passengers. I worked in the department for AA that called people on oversold flights to see if they’d be interested in switching flights up front for upgrades to F and/or a voucher. I also spent time in the dept dealing with passengers whose luggage didn’t arrive with them. And I just lost a gate checked stroller on a flight from El Paso (unexpected change of planes from Burbank to DFW due to winds and the captain running out of legal flying hours). Arrived in DFW to a closed ramp because of thunderstorms (far in the distance). My fault – I know I should have had a name tag on that stroller. Lucky it was the lightweight cheap one.

    Maybe other readers will share their freebie sites. I owned the local freecycle site but took the group independent when that organization started forcing groups to switch to their one website. It’s great – I have a teacher coming this afternoon for two big trash bags of items that can have a new life – one’s clean margarine and sour cream type plastic containers with lids, the other is clean baby food jars with lids. She said she and the art teacher can make great use of them and I can only use so many…I just hate throwing things like that in the recycling can.

    And then there’s Paperbackswap. I know it’s probably not an author’s favorite site, but it’s an awesome way to discover new authors and get the older books. I always run out and buy the new books by my favorites and then offer them on Paperbackswap so I can get a book free (although with postage prices they aren’t really free). If anyone wants to sign up, I’d be happy to have the referral credit (Lindina2@aol.com). My daughter just started bartending and I ordered her 3 different books of recipes yesterday for free. She’s a Bartles & Jaymes kind of drinker so she has no idea what people are ordering or how to make it.

    • debradixon says:

      Linda! You are veritable FOUNTAIN of freebie information. It’s a “culture” I think and you have to find the gatekeepers. The ones who really know how to “freebie wisely.”

      The paint deal is awesome. We (hubby!) is painting this weekend. A extra quart goes a long way when you have lots of trim to do!

  9. cindygerard says:

    Oh. My. I need to be better informed.
    Deb – you KNEW that when the flight attendant was counting heads that meant they were going to ask for someone to leave? I’ve been in that situation. Missed it completely. And I’ve NEVER, once been offered a travel voucher on any flight I’ve been on. Wrong time, wrong place, I guess.

    I’ve been haunting expedia and priceline for deals to new york. NOTHING is shaking loose. I’m hoping that maybe today as I’ve been told that Tuesday afternoons are the best times for price breaks. we shall see

    • debradixon says:

      Cindy– Often when they’re counting, they’re estimating weight loads, especially when they’ve already mentioned free vouchers. There are some golden rules for getting lots of free flights. You book airports known for heavy loads, etc. The time of day you fly has something to do with it. I’ve never paid a lot of attention but I think I might do some research! I’ve been bitten by the bug now.

  10. lois greiman says:

    Yeah, it’s funny. I’d pay a lot to win something for free. 🙂

    • debradixon says:

      LOL! That’s usually me. I spend more trying to get the free thing than the free thing is worth. But I’m taking note of the posts today. We’re getting insider info!

  11. catslady says:

    It’s kind of addicting. Actually isn’t that what gambling is at the casinos – you give away your money in hope that you will get more money (which is rare lol). My sister and I did couponing 40 years ago when after putting a stamp on an envelope and sending in proof of purchase – you got anywhere from $.50 to $1.00 sometimes lol. I use to do one of those shoppings where you go in and get a cart full for free. Now adays it’s a lot harder but I still do some. I also do some freebies. I figured I get about 40% of what I send for but it’s over the internet so doesn’t cost me anything but my time. My two girls especially like their freebies at Christmas lol. And of course the most important freebie of all – books!!!!!

  12. debradixon says:

    ((I use to do one of those shoppings where you go in and get a cart full for free.))

    Seriously? I am humbled when I see that on TV and I always think it can’t be real but they tell me it happens all the time.

    My sis does “freebie baskets” at Xmas! 🙂

  13. Kylie Brant says:

    I do like getting something out of the airlines because I feel like we’re kept hostage to their increasingly hostile business practices. We took a voucher home from Mexico and got a lousy $100 a piece. Never again. We were 45 minutes later getting back than if we’d stayed on and it took another 45 minutes to track down our luggage, which they can NEVER get off the plane with the passengers. Like it’s science.

    My current b**** is with Delta, who consistently *takes* the reservation, only to change one of the departure times a couple weeks later to the 6 AM flight. Grrr. Why can’t Southwest fly everywhere???

    • debradixon says:

      Kylie– I hear so many people praising Southwest. They’re supposed to start flying out of my city soon. At least I’m pretty sure I heard that. I’m looking forward to trying them.

  14. Keri Ford says:

    free stuff and cheap stuff and I am there!

    if I’m traveling alone, and on the way home when my schedule is flexible, then I’ll get off. I tried last time, but I wasn’t fast enough. I usually have computer (and charger!), kindle & phone with me, so I can certainly keep myself busy to pass time.

    • debradixon says:

      I’m taking a trip overseas this year and for one part of the “journey in a journey” I can only take 35 lbs. So part of the luggage stays at one hotel and a duffle goes with me. I’m currently asking, “Um…does that count what I carry on my person?” ‘Cause I have lots of gadgets!!

  15. WyNtEr ApPlE says:

    im tyring to, my daughter is really good at it, sort of like on the extreme coupon. but im just not getting that part, but yes i sign up for freebie and samples

  16. Betina says:

    Deb, I want to meet your sister, sit at her feet, and take notes.

    I occasionally get a goodie, but I could used a few pointers. And –hey– I ought to check out the freebie sites on the web. Duh. I never even thought of that!

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