Free pen

Today (Wednesday), the British Red Cross sent me a small packet.



This packet includes 2 greeting cards with envelopes (free), 1 bookmark (free), and the most amazing of all, a pen (free). Of course, it also comes with a letter asking for donation.

Here is the dilemma: a FREE pen from the Red Cross, sent to me by post. Should I use the pen to sign a cheque or give out my direct debit details? Or, does it make me a very bad person if I use this pen to doodle? Or even worse still, what if I chuck the pen — since the pen is not my kind of pen. I prefer Japanese gel ink pen such as Uniball Signo, or Staedtler Triplus fineliner from Germany.

I tried to discuss my dilemma with my 12-year-old son. “Ben, do you think the British Red Cross should spend/waste their money and send everyone FREE pens and FREE cards? Do you think FREE pens will attract more donations for the Red Cross?” My son replied, “Mum, you asked the same questions last time. Why are you repeating yourself?”

Sometimes I just cannot get over things like that. Over a FREE pen.

The free cards I received added to my trauma. “The design featured on the front of this card has been taken from one of the panels from the Changi Quilt, made by women imprisoned in Singapore during the Second World War.” Perhaps I should send this card to my Singaporean friend Vera from To Dad With Love? Would she like that idea?

Because I don’t send enough cards, whenever I do send a card, I tend to send a reasonably nice one. I would make my own cards, or I would buy cards with an improved texture, a bit of layering and bling, a butterfly here and there, enhanced by a ribbon. However, the British Red Cross gave me these free plain cards to send to the people I love. I simply cannot do that to people. The quality of these cards is equivalent to those you get from a cheap card factory and I dare not send a card of this quality to my mother in law.

Free bag

Free bag

What should I do? I feel ungrateful for not liking my freebies today.

If I give a small donation, I can also get a Free Humanity Rose shopping bag from the British Red Cross. Another Free item!

Now, regarding my dilemma, I would like to ask what you would do if you’re showered with freebies by the Red Cross. Please kindly choose an answer and leave your comment to explain your choice.

Perhaps you can help me solve my dilemma.

7 thoughts on “Free pen

  1. ShimonZ

    For them, it’s a marketing trick. That’s all. And it works for them. But you are an individual, and it is your right and your obligation to choose where you will send your presents or your charity. I would not let these ‘free’ gifts influence me.

  2. The Laughing Housewife

    It is a well-used marketing trick to guilt you into giving them money. The same with cards and address labels.

    As I understand British law, you are entitled to keep anything sent to you as unsolicited mail – without guilt.

    You could always use the pen and cards to write a letter saying that you abhor their business practices and will never donate to them again, but to a charity that doesn’t try to make its donors feel bad.

  3. anexactinglife

    I am always getting address labels from charities and I throw them out. Like zeudytigre, I don’t appreciate it when charities spend our donations on mailing out freebies that people don’t want.

  4. Opalla

    If you want to donate, free gift or not, just donate, but also be prepared to be bombarded by incessant donation requests with or without free gifts. If you don’t want to donate, I susgest simply “return to sender” and hope that this may stop therm.

  5. e

    I hate junk mail. If I want to donate to a charity, I will find them and donate on my own. I stuff everything back in their envelope and send it back to them, so they have to pay postage. But I admit I have kept the pens, even though they are rubbish and don’t even have a lid.


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