Reader Heather Rene posted a question on one of our daily coupon and freebies post regarding a free sample of Honey Nut Cheerios. She wrote:
How do you feel about people getting free samples for products they already know & love? I feel that free samples are for people who haven’t had a chance to try it (or don’t want to spend money on a product they may or may not like). I know I already like Honey Nut Cheerios, so would it be wrong for me to get the free sample?
Here’s another reader’s take (incidentally, also a Heather) on requesting freebies for products you already like and buy. She wrote:
Whoever wants a free sample should be able to get one. Cereal is so overpriced & these companies make billions.
Heather Rene, I don’t think it’s wrong for you to request a free sample for a product you already love. Here’s why. Though you may think the sample is completely free, companies always ask for something in return. Companies will either ask for Facebook “likes”, Twitter “follows”, your email, or for you to fill out a questionnaire.
Having you like them (or follow them) on social media increases their advertising reach as your friends and followers see you approve of a company and its products. Essentially, you are helping them gain customers by endorsing them. Asking for your email also helps increase their revenue. They can spam your inbox with new product announcements (to entice you to spend), and promos and discounts (Woohoo!). Questionnaires help them learn more about you to further develop a product or create a new one. In the end, requesting a freebie is a trade off.
I agree with reader Heather that customers who want to score a freebie should do so even if they’re already loyal customers — as long as they meet stipulations, of course. If it’s stated that the freebie is intended for new customers only, then it’s unethical to ask for one.
What do you think: are free samples only for prospective customers?
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