The most reliable ways to get free stuff
December 26, 2008 5:42 PM   Subscribe

Where can I get good free stuff, such as USB sticks, phone lanyards, and pens, and also better free stuff, up to flashlights, crappy Chinese MP3 players, and notebooks?

I love getting swag - the kind you get at conferences and so on. I go through lots of pens and can always use good freebies for lots of purposes. Furthermore I don't mind receiving junkmail - it gets recycled by me, I LOVE getting mail, and a lot of it can be used as proof of address for citizenship stuff I'll need next year!

I am also interested in *better* swag - will take the standard stuff, but completely out of the way stuff, mp3 players, headphones, Notebooks, stickers, jewelry, phone lanyards, cellphone socks, etc. etc. is welcome!

I also know lots of nonprofit organisations that can always use the stuff I don't use.

I want stuff that works, that doesn't make me sign up for offers (no iPod promos and so on, although I do covet an iPhone, sigh)

Good forums for this are also welcome.

I've got plenty of free email addresses, and am in the UK.
posted by By The Grace of God to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Other stuff I like: those unbleached cotton shopping bags, I need as many of these as possible

Stuff I don't like: MAGAZINES, cds/dvds with stuff I don't care about
posted by By The Grace of God at 5:47 PM on December 26, 2008

Well, Freecycle has tons of free stuff on it...but almost always second hand.
posted by djgh at 5:52 PM on December 26, 2008

Know anybody in the tech industry?

My dad used to come home from tech conferences ranging from pens, bags, light-up bouncy balls- you name it, just because a company was that desperate to promote their software. Maybe get someone to grab these freebies for you.

Plus anyone who works in the media gets all kinds of crazy crap! I remember when I worked at a radio station in college the range was even larger: from free red bull, free cds, free posters, free concert tickets (boy do I miss that!), free books, to a small leather whip that was packed in a media kit for the movie, "Secretary." Maybe intern at a magazine or radio station?
posted by deinemutti at 5:57 PM on December 26, 2008

Ooh, another thing I almost forgot.
Paper companies are always excited to send samples to people (particularly to printing companies and graphic designers, but they don't discriminate, if they ask just say you're a graphic design student), it's a good way to get some really awesome looking notebooks and calendars! I don't know if they do free international shipping (I'm in the U.S.), but here's some links:
IP's sample order page

Mowhawk Paper
posted by deinemutti at 6:07 PM on December 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

wasn't there a service where you could get a monthly tech swag delivery?
posted by leotrotsky at 6:23 PM on December 26, 2008

It was Valleyschwag, but they're no longer going.
posted by jonesor at 6:52 PM on December 26, 2008

I know that Slickdeals has a section of their forums devoted to freebies. You should probably check that out, its full of people just like you looking for free stuff.
posted by MaHaGoN at 6:54 PM on December 26, 2008

I've found writing to companies and people and asking for stuff works. Well, a lot of times if you are persistent. I got a stay fresh lid from Alpo, autographed photos of Terry Gross, VP Dick Cheney, PM Gordon Brown, the Pope, and Big Bird (and others). I got Coke and Pepsi stickers and a Pepsi cooler. An Apple pen. Lots of coupons, and other crap I'm for sure not remembering.

All because I wrote a physical letter and mailed it. Not sure of this is exactly free though. I had one company send me a 40 cent coupon (2 cents less than what it cost me to mail the letter).
posted by cjorgensen at 7:22 PM on December 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

Go to college open houses. Each department usually has free stuff to lure people over to their display. Maybe it will be a foam foot with the college's logo on it (true!), or maybe it will be a nice pen or calendar or notebook from a textbook company.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:24 AM on December 27, 2008

You can host a house party.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:01 AM on December 28, 2008 is an aggregator that mines free stuff links from the web. It does allow you to filter by country, although I don't know how many offers are available in the UK.

You should try employment fairs. At the ones at my university, I come home with loads of weird stuff, including mini-flashlights and a tiny USB hub once. It's mostly post-its though.

Also, if you know anybody affiliated with the US pharmaceutical industry, they will give you more pens and paper pads and sticky notes than you know what to do with. And they're usually really high quality too.
posted by calistasm at 4:14 PM on December 31, 2008

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