Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thanks for coming, have some crap!

When I get to a hotel, the first thing I do after jumping on the bed and opening the windows and checking out the closet and mini bar is head into the bathroom to scope out the wee toiletries. Every morning, I stash the good ones into my bag so the maid will be sure to restock. I have accumulated a pretty decent collection of hotel swag, which is useful for travel and gym bags. My mom keeps a basket on the back of her toilet that features some of the particularly pretty sample sized products that she has garnered from hotel stays.
Mom also showed me the way of the buffet stash. You know, where you take the big red apples from the continental breakfast display and shove them into your purse along with your ready supply of sweet-n-low and individually wrapped breath mints. When I go to a 3 or 4 day conference, I start my collection on the first day and usually end up with an impressive stash in my room of granola bars, yogurt, cookies, bottled water, and enough fruit to construct a hat that would topple Carmen Miranda. So what if this conference includes all meals? What if there's a nuclear war while I'm in an afternoon breakout session?!
Truth is, I just can’t resist a freebie. I take pens and notepads and matches and …. look at what they have in the bathrooms at Seaworld:
It doesn’t matter if I need it or not, if it’s free, I want it. I need it!
My kids inherited this gene. Look at my boy at Costco washing down his flautas with a little iced decaf:
One time when we were going to Costco, my girl asked "will they have compliments?" when relentlessly teased questioned, she corrected herself, "I mean will they have examples?"
We recently attended a fire safety expo, and came home with all this:
And a casino t-shirt big enough for two!

We frequently go to major league baseball games, and our Padres like to give us free stuff. Here is what the kids help me scramble to collect from their rooms before bed tonight:

Did the bobble inspire team spirit when it had a head?


When we went to the game on Sunday, they got another backpack, but the Padres were also giving away memories after that game


when they let the kids run the bases!

Sometimes swag is regifted by good friends. We brought this gem all the way back from Milford:

And guess what? Mark's coming out here for a swag fest conference next week! At a hotel! And he's bringing my sister! We're SO going to a Padre game..


Do you have any good swag stories?


dana wyzard said...

I have every "compliment" from every hotel and now I've noticed that the compliments are getting fewer and farther between....especially the matchbooks.

Pickles and Dimes said...

My husband always saves the soap from hotels. We probably have enough to last the rest of our lives.

The Twins game on Sunday had a backpack giveaway too. I wanted one SO BAD. And we always try to sneak out of the Metrodome a little early on Sundays because it gets NUTS when it's Kids Run The Bases day as well. :)

The best swag I have are probably our Twins bobbleheads. We have our own Bobblehead Wall in our basement.

martyjoco said...

My addiction is hotel stationery, pads and pens; I am not happy till they are all mine. I have been going to a big conference the last few years, the kind with all four ballrooms connected and two giant HDTV screens so everyone can see the Death-by-PowerPoint slides; maybe 500+ attendees. Rows and rows of long tables filling the gigantic room. Complimentary Hyatt stick pens and Hyatt note pads carefully placed on every long table, every few feet, every day for five days. Oh, and don't forget the breakout rooms; they are all stocked up, too. Yep, just like you may have seen me beerily stumbling around the aisles of ballparks around the country after a game, searching under the seats for the expensive souvenir plastic soda cups and ice-cream-sticky miniature baseball hats, I do the same thing in my corporate-casual disguise, roaming the room when it has emptied out, stuffing more stick pens than I can use in one year into my computer bag. I figure everyone I sit next to for the next five years or so will have "Hyatt" imprinted on their brain, so when you are trying to decide where to hold your next incredibly expensive and elaborate conference, Hyatt will be your first choice. I'm just helping out.

Ellie said...

MartyJoCo! With the photo! Nice!

I used to go to Miami for work a lot, and the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables had Aveda hair care products. I was all over that. I have an L.L.Bean canvas-and-leather laptop case, and the only rain gear I own is a maroon hooded pullover rainshirt thing, that says "Bloomberg". I got it right before I was quitting to hit the road. My boss was a self-absorbed Brit who thought the world of himself, who I knew would never wear his maroon pullover rainslicker, so I made him give me his, too.

The swag from the last 8 years of my life-a-leisure include about 30 t-shirts, from 5Ks, jobs, and volunteer gigs; a letter opener we got at the closing of our Texas house; and a black water bottle. Think about that for a second. Think about how quickly cold water turns hot in the summer in a black water bottle.

Beth said...

Oh Elllie, Aveda hair and skin products are my weakness too! The Tabacon in Costa Rica had all sorts of Aveda products, even some nice smelly bath crystals in a miniture container for the hottub. The spa there also had beautiful hardwood combs; they were gift quality -- my girls each recieved one of those.

One "example" that I've not been able to score is the yoga mats that the botox people give out at the annual American Academy of Neurology conference. You have to be a doc, not an exibitor, to get one, but next year, next year damn it, I'm going to get me one.

Weith Kick said...

My Mother-in-Law used to travel a lot with her job and she collected quite the collection of soaps and shampoos. She recently gave them all to the wife and me and now we keep them in our guest bathroom.

Domestic Spaz said...

I am anti swag. The Man is the opposite. He loves the freebies and I'm always ready to throw them all out when he gets home.

Though, I do love a good pen. My gym has a big giant pen container of PURPLE pens there for the taking every day. I take one every time I work out. Now I can write EVERYTHING in purple!

Y'all won the Little Fish award this week, btw. :) http://slackermomof3.blogspot.com/2008/08/next-little-fish.html


Kathi D said...

Oh, I love the freebies. Especially the silly cheapo ones with advertising on them.

My mom had a family friend who traveled all the time for work and couldn't stop taking the shampoos and soaps even though he had enough to stock the world. He started taking them to my mom, who quit buying soap and shampoo for good. The only complaint was from my brother, who always promptly went out to buy a regular-sized bar of soap when he visited. Soap snob!

Anonymous said...

Message for Ellie. My case isn't bad...mine is a piece of cake, compared to many...most...others. I'm almost embarrassed to say I have it...because it's not so bad for me, the way it's horrible for others. Oh. Veinte-Veinte. I hope that tells the story.

Katie Kermeen Swisher said...

My hubby and I were at the St. Louis Zoo recently, and we started noticing all these people carrying around awesome reusable shopping totes. The longer the day went on, the more I saw and the more I WANTED ONE! We finally found where they were giving them away - at a private event. I tried to get up there to get one, but hubs dragged me away and took me home. I'm still pouting about it two weeks later!

martyjoco said...

Wait a sec, El - is there no 'example' from 9 days at the Nogales Motel 6? Not even a plastic ice bucket a.k.a. all purpose pail? What about the vastly superior Motel 8 pool down the road? Nuffin???

Ellie said...

Jacquie, you *SO* win in the swag contest. You've amassed some serious Padres loot. Soap? Stationery? Psssfffwww. I would have taken the Motel 6 ice bucket if it wasn't a piece of crappy crap. Although, I've got to admit, the purple pens are pretty great.

Sarahb said...

Omg what great freebies you've gotten , you've got it down to a science to get it. I work at The Hampton Inn and you have really taught me a thing ot two about grabbing swag, lol. Well listen you should come visit us and grab some great swag too besides we're having a great promotion too. Check it out.

Hampton Inn is offering 10% of their best rate available until 9/1/08 we’re also giving away some great prizes leading up to the TEAM USA competing at the Olympic Games. Good Luck!!


Sarah B


Check out this funny video, called "Ballad of a Traveler", it is hilarious. He totally sums up the travelers experience: