When it comes to birthdays, the part that excites most people is the prospect of getting presents. Doesn’t everyone like knowing that someone thought about them on their special day and, in order to contribute to the festivities, got them something? Besides receiving gifts from others, you might feel inclined to splurge on yourself; your birthday comes only once a year, so why not? Unbeknownst to most people, companies want to spoil you, too. Instead of spending your hard earned money, you can receive many free gifts from a variety of places. Granted, the companies have ulterior motives. Nevertheless, you might as well take advantage of the incredible deals by signing up for them online with your name and birthday-after all, finding businesses that give away free goods is quite the rarity.
The most common gift you can get from stores involves food. When you were younger, adults always wanted to fatten you up; nowadays, corporate companies want to do likewise. Almost all large food chains offer have a free/discounted meal or a complementary desert. You have large selection from which to choose. Do you want to dine on Mexican food to celebrate a spicy birthday, or have free pancakes from IHOP to symbolize a sweet celebration? Sadly, most people are unaware of their eligibility because they do not sign up beforehand. It is therefore imperative to do so before your birthday rolls around the corner.
If you want to splurge calorically on a birthday related dessert, head off to an ice cream store. Ben & Jerry’s and Baskin Robbins both offer a free scoop of ice cream on your birthday. These places also offer a coupon for $3 off a birthday cake, but I find it rather depressing to buy a birthday cake for myself. Call me selfish, but I like the old fashioned cake, made from scratch and frosted to perfection by my mother. If you feel parched after your complimentary meal and ice cream, you can head over to Dunkin Donuts. There, you can redeem a voucher you receive in the mail for a free medium sized beverage of any kind. It can be a Coolata or a coffee; it’s your birthday, so it’s your choice!
Now that you’ve gained about ten pounds from all of that food, it’s time to go shopping. Many clothing and shoe stores provide special deals for your birthday. For example, DSW sends a $5 gift certificate in the mail. While that amount will not instantly make any of the regular price shoes dirt cheap, it is still $5 off. Or, you can apply it to a clearance item (as I taught you in the Coupon Craze blog) and get a really great deal! Or, if you are looking to shop for more affordable shoes, you can go to Payless with a 20% off birthday coupon.
Clothing stores that give out birthday promotions include Old Navy, Banana Republic, Kohl’s and Gap; depending on their policy, they might provide a freebie or a substantial discount. If you want an entirely new look, including a fresh face, Sephora gives out a random makeup sample- the downside being that it is often trial size. With all the food and clothing, you will feel like a different person by the end of your birthday, both inside and out.
Why do businesses provide you with all of these free products? Companies are, by nature, selfish and motivated by desire to increase their profits. In fact, these promotions and discounts are simply a psychological business ploy. They want you to think that they care about you, the customer, by contributing to your birthday celebration. In reality, they foster an artificial bond with the consumers, done primarily to gain your loyalty. If you think they treat you as a special person, you will be more inclined to seek out their goods and services in the future. Additionally, by coming in for your gift, you might browse the store and find something that you end up buying-something that, had you not entered the shop due to the promotion, you might not have seen and consequently bought. Businesses use the birthday gift as a loss leader in such an instance, as they lose money through the birthday item but earn money when you pay for something else. Suddenly, the businesses’ not so innocent tactic of attracting the naïve customer comes to light.
Businesses that provide birthday promotions are almost exclusively large companies. They can afford to take the hit by giving away a small item in order to gain a new customer. Small shops, on the other hand, do not have nearly as much financial leeway and must therefore be more careful. That is why Dunkin’ Donuts can give away a free medium sized beverage, while the quaint, privately owned café down the block cannot.
I hope that knowing about all of these secret ways to get many birthday presents will help you celebrate your birthday. While the logic behind it is corporate greed, there is no reason as to why you should not take advantage of these deals businesses offer. After all, they are ultimately trying to take advantage of you. Two can play at that game! So remember: if your family and friends forget to buy you a present-or, if you forget to get your friends and family a present-fret not. There is always a store down the block with an available gift-whether you realize it or not!
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