T.a.n.s.t.a.a.f.l. in action. "Free" stuff you have gotten

Well, I could not help but notice a poster named tanstaafl posting in cafe society. His name made me think, and furthere more, tickled me pink. What sort of things have you, the reader, personally gotten for free. Did it turn out to have a hidden cost? Just curious.

P.S. There ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

Obligatory link explaining what gospoden Scott Plaid is referring to.

Heh, I knew the TANSTAAFL acronym but had to google gospoden.

I got free mainfloor tickets to a sold out concert once. I was already there, and had paid for upper balcony, so free is sorta relative. Met a very distraught girl in the t-shirt line who was mid-fight with her boyfriend, she got so upset she decided to leave and handed me her tickets.

My friend and I happily took the great seats and when the boyfriend came looking we just looked at him and said “Oh, her? She said to tell you she’s leaving, if you want a ride home you’d better run quick and catch her!”

Which is probably made more difficult when I mispell it:

It apparently means “mister” or “sir” in russian.

A golf club. A single golf club. I was the sports editor of a small newspaper at the time, and every now and then freebies would come my way.

It’s some kind of wedge, to be specific.

I got free passes to a movie a while back. Getting to the theater, then to work after the movie (it was the first show at 11 AM - I worked at 3) cost a lot.

Recently I got a free bag of Pampers, a great diaper bag, several baby blankets, a little pink wash basin, a book on nursing, a squirt bottle, a pink ice bucket and a matching cup and a few other things.

The downside was the eleven thousand dollar hospital bill, but hey, they also gave me a BABY!

In just the past few years:

a free brand new HP computer back in 2000
a free Epson color inkjet printer
a free Panasonic plain paper fax machine
a free 100watt guitar amplifier
a free week-long trip to Denver to see my family (from a client)
a free copy of Acid 2.0 music software
a free copy of Acid 3.0 music software when they upgraded
a free coffee maker with 5# of gourmet coffee
a free set of speakers and amplifier for my computer
a couple of free snowboarding trips to Utah
at least 20 free T-shirts a year
other stuff I can’t remember right now

I can get almost anything for free, if I just decide that’s how I want it. And no, I don’t steal things. I just convince people to give me stuff for free. Been doing it since I was a teenager.

I got free backstage passes at a Pantera concert back in '01. Didn’t get to meet the band but I DID get to brush shoulders with Rob Zombie and was thisclose to Dimebag. I got the tix because I had a bad case of intestinal distress, and met a woman in the bathroom that had the passes and wasn’t going to use them.

Oh and both of my cars were free. First one was bought brand new by my parents, then my mom had it after they divorced, then my sister had it, then my mom again and then me. The engine died on it six months later so we dropped a new one in and it kept going til the tranny gave out. We put a new tranny in it. I still drive it.

Then the Saturn. That was bought brand new by a friend of ours, then my in-laws bought it from him, then they gave it to us. No meltdowns on that one yet.

My digital camera was free although it’s pretty much obsolete now. The same friend that had the Saturn gave it to us. He also gives us lots of computer stuff (he runs a comp. building and repair business). Most recently a TV tuner card – along with the digital camcorder he’s lent us, it’s made for a good deal of filmmaking fun (nothing dirty, ya pervs!).

Outside of the Board’s Secret Santa, T-shirt exchange, coffee mug exchanges, etc, which I consider free lunch, since the sender was not obligated to drop anything in the mail (they would have been shamed into doing so, but there was really no obligation), I have received the following items, among others:

–A US flag flown on a combat mission in Afghanistan
–2 pair of Penn State football tickets
–3 pair of Scranton Wilkes Barre Penguin (minor league hockey) tickets
–An occasional Pocono 500 ticket
–Ticket to the final Southern 500 at Darlington
–A titanium driver
–A not inexpensive evening out at the Chelsea Beer Brew Pub in NYC. I knew the bartender from Scranton, and she refused to take any of our money. We forced a healthy tip on her, but I don’t consider that a hidden cost.
–And my favorite, a kick ass Mizuno firstbasemans mitt.

I get free stuff all the time. I’m on Freecycle. Of course, I also give away a lot of stuff.

I think the OP had wanted to hear about free stuff that turned out to have a “hidden cost” perhaps making the free thing not quite so free…

In that vein, one of our research scientists called up from a vendor convention all excited that he’d gotten a great deal on a “floor model” of some processing equipment (if anyone cares, it was a twin-screw extruder of German manufacture). I don’t recall the exact numbers but it was along the lines of a $500,000 piece of gear for $150,000.

Got it back to Canada and was informed by accounting that we would need to pay various duties. Was informed by Engineering that the bulk of the wiring would need to be reworked in order to function on this side of the pond. Was informed by various safety agencies that pressure safety and electrical safety certification would need to be documented in house, from scratch (something that is quite time consuming and normally handled by the vendor, and hence built into their price.)

The unit ended up costing us 25% more than if we’d bought it brand new at list from the NA sales rep, and took 8 weeks longer to prepare than the longest delivery time quoted by the vendor.

They really tightened up on signing authority after that. :smiley:

Ooooh, you’re gonna be payin’ for that for a long time! :smiley:

Thanks for trying to help, but I was actually being ambiguous on purpose. You see, I wanted this thread to become just what it is. Tales of people gaining free things, and as well as stories of “free” things.

Thanks guys, very nice thread so far.

Urk. Sorry 'bout that.

I won a $500.00 digital camera in a humour contest at a site that no longer exists.

I win door prizes all the time when I go to different conventions/seminars.

Got a free months rent for a referal.

Somebody once gave me a pick up truck.

Bought a box of misc junk blind at an auction. It had a Leica IIIc in it. Working. Sold it for PROFIT!

BTW, it seems to be genetic, like Teela Brown’s genes. My Dad and brother also win free stuff all the time with little effort needed other than writing down their name or taking a ticket at the door


I won a $1500 floor length beaded formal cape by C’est Simione at a National Railway Historical Society fundraising banquet. It’s beautiful, but I’ve only worn it 2 or 3 times.

Absolutely, positively, nothing. At least nothing of any value.

Once a year I attend a convention that gives pretty cool doorprizes (TV’s, electronics, etc). Two years ago I won a dozen cookies and last year I won two tickets to a local Civic Theater for a date that I couldn’t attend. <sigh>

I keep an eye on the circulars in the Sunday papers for specific stores – mostly for computer stuff. The ones that offer “Free after rebate” deals. I do those a good bit, and I always send off the rebates immediately. So the actual “cost” ends up being sales tax and the stamps for sending the rebates.

But in this way, I’ve picked up:

  • ethernet cards
  • modem cards
  • various software titles (some games, some multimedia software, other various things)
  • keyboards
  • power supplies
  • power strips
  • telephone
  • other various and sundry things

(And in these, I’m not counting the “free after rebate when you buy item X” kinds of deals – these were solo items, no other purchase required).

When my logic board in my iBook went bad, Apple replaced it for free (it was under recall), and they upgraded my OS from 10.1 to 10.2. Then my harddrive bit the big one. Had to pay for a new one, but when they installed it, they shipped it back with 10.3 installed.

Now that 10.4 is out, I lie awake at night worrying about what horrible hardware failure is coming down the pike.