As we count down the final days till Christmas, I am reminded of a conversation I had with someone this time last year. I was shopping at my local grocery store, excited because I had a coupon stating that if I spent a certain amount of money, I would receive a free turkey. I knew I was going to spend the designated amount of money and anything free always makes me happy– especially around the holidays when I’m feeling pretty cash strapped.
As I was standing at the cash register, the sales associate and I started talking about the free turkey and what a good deal it was. During this brief conversation, the associate made a comment that has stuck with me ever since. She said how surprised she was at the number of people who did not take the offer of a free turkey with their groceries.
“Even if you give away to someone else or a charity,” she had commented.
At a time of year when there is a tremendous emphasis on giving, I’m not sure how many people have ever thought about getting their free offer so that they could give it away. I know I never have.
Over the last year, since that conversation, I have paid far more attention to the amount of free items that are offered in stores. I have also paid a lot more attention to the number of customers who never take the offer because “they don’t need it.”
I realized very quickly that there is a significant untapped opportunity right under our noses to be charitable, not just during the holidays, but throughout the entire year. The buy one get one free, or spend a certain amount and receive a free item, are commonplace practices in our competitive retail market.
While we may not need or want many of these free items, that doesn’t mean somebody else doesn’t. Every year there are more and more people who are finding themselves in a dire situation. There are numerous wonderful agencies throughout the city that help those in need. Most of these agencies rely very heavily on donations.
So my request is this: next time you are in a store, at any time during the year, do not pass up on the freebies. Instead, if you don’t need or want it, donate it. After all, the gift of giving really can’t get much easier than that.