In this digitized age, getting physical mail, in its rarity, has become more exciting. And getting packages? One of the best feelings ever. What’s unfortunate is that a majority of that mail is often bills or advertisements.
Imagine, if you will, arriving back at your apartment or house after classes and having at least one package waiting for you everyday. It’s possible.
Welcome to the world of free samples. I discovered this world my sophomore year, when I was really strapped for cash, and wanted a way to check out hair products without buying the full product first.
I ended up getting a free subscription to Forbes magazine, a free makeup bag courtesy of Target, countless free shampoos, conditioners, lotions and coffee samples. Not to mention coupons – and not discount coupons, either. Coupons for free stuff, like oatmeal, Red Bull, detergent, rice. I began signing up for so many free samples that I would have no idea how many or which ones were waiting for me at my house. More often than not, I would return home to a modest stack of small boxes littering the kitchen table, all marked “Sam Bouchat.”
It got to the point that, when my roomie’s parents visited, they would take one look at the table and ask, “What samples did Sam get today?”
It becomes a kind of addiction where you no longer look for samples that you want, but anything and everything that you can sign up for. About 50 percent of the time, the sample doesn’t show up anyway (usually because they run out of stock), so the more you sign up for, the better your chances.
There’s a whole community online who follow free samples, who search for and gather them together into neat little lists that a person can spend hours on, just filling in mailing addresses and occasionally taking a short survey.
I have since moved from a house to an apartment, though I still get samples of anything and everything everyday. However, I did not forward my mail from my old house. I hope the new residents enjoy whatever free samples arrived after my departure. Maybe they, too, became addicted.