Old Promotional Thumb Drives

I have been seeing folks giving away thumb drives with their logo on them for years. I assume that this means that there are is a huge supply of outmoded thumb drives (64 - 128 MB) out there with other peoples logos, or with the logos of companies who have gone out of business, or changed their names, etc.

I am trying to figure out how to get my hands on some of these to use as one time file sharing vehicles for personal use. I figure a 64 MB thumb drive with outdated advertising ought to be pretty cheap. I just can’t find anybody trying to dispose of them.

Am I wrong that they are out there somewhere? It seems almost certain that there are boxes of these things that nobody wants any more and I would like to track them down.

Anybody have any ideas? I have tried my Google-fu on the problem but there is such a glut of companies who want to print your name on junk, including thumb drives, that any search I do results in hundreds of results for these places.

I had assumed that anyone with a pile of these would turn to eBay to dispose of them, but I don’t even find anything there.

Any leads/ideas would be appreciated.

New small size thumb drives are so cheap, why bother? Plus, one of the problems with older flash drives is a limited number of write cycles. It’s still an issue, but has improved a lot. Why buy an old one that has been written on God knows how many times already?


Oh, you mean a box of unused ones that were never distributed? Well, the first point still applies anyway.

I gave a whole bunch to the Salvation Army.

My firm used to give those away at trade shows a lot. But because they became obsolete so fast, we ordered only the amount we expected to give away in the next couple of months. Then we’d order more and they were usually twice as large as the last batch due to progress.

What we never did was order 100,000 of the 128MB drives then give away 1,000 at trade shows & get stuck with 99,000 obsolete hunks-o-junk.

I’ve gotten them for a conference - we also give away shirts and bags. We try very hard to not overbuy, and when we do we usually distribute them to volunteer staff. Thumb drives, if we had too many, maybe could get donated, but not shirts, since you might want to control where your logo goes.

Ditto here. My organization would order the minimum, probably a gross (144), give them out at a trade show or something, and not order anymore until they were needed.

I have a few, which I still use.

Thumb drives were never cheap to the degree that pens, letter openers or even coffee mugs were. Most of the time, you were still paying $3 or more for each drive. You don’t order a ton of those and hope to given them away eventually like you might with a $0.10 pen.

Also, a company going out of business is more likely to give those kinds of things away to employees. They’re not going to be valued by the estate trustee and “Sorry about your job, but here’s a thumb drive” is the kind of irony I expect from corporations.

It used to take months and months to get swag like this made, so you would order things in large batches, and order more before you were close to running out.

But printing up corporate crap like this got a lot faster. So you didn’t need to maintain a large inventory of swag, you could practice “just-in-time” swag generation. And so you wouldn’t have boxes and boxes of obsolete crap, just small amounts, especially more expensive crap like thumb drives.

And everyone always knew that thumb drives were improving quickly, so unlike t-shirts and coffee mugs that would be just as functional ten years later, no one wanted to be stuck with crates of obsolete technology, so that increased the incentive to only order the amount needed immediately and not accumulate inventory.