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My favorite laboratory Freebie

I love free stuff. Maybe it’s because I am from the former Soviet Union, where there wasn’t enough stuff around, let alone free. Or maybe a little happiness about getting something for nothing is universal, but I am still amazed that companies are giving away things – whether they are useful, not so useful and useless.

Top three reasons to get freebies

1)    To save money.  When a new consumable comes on the market, you can run a small lab for several months on free reagents from different companies before choosing the best.

2)    Test a reagent before buying it. If you don’t need much of it anyway, the sample can be enough.

3)    You can present every new student with their own reagent, which induces a sense of belonging and pride. Just don’t mention that you prefer not to risk lab stock contamination.

Types of Freebies;

–       Perishable

*Free samples of reagents you already used, but it never hurts to have some more – enzymes, ladders, kits.

* Free samples of reagents, which claim to be better than the ones you already use. It’s a bit risky, because it might not work, but usually they work at least as well as the old reagent.

–       Permanent

Posters of metabolic pathways – I have always found them more pretty than useful and posters containing useful information – double digest charts etc. However my personal favourites are things, which always tend to disappear in the lab – pens, markers, floaties (New England Biolab reps are usually generous with it), racks and the most useful one of all – the digital timer.

Disadvantages

*OK, I do realise that this is not “for nothing” – in exchange the companies are getting my contact details for spamming, but I think its bargain – I have a lot of spam in my e-mail without getting a penny for it.  Also, as a rational person I am not swayed to buy something I don’t need or not the estimated highest point on quality/price ratio graph just because company A presented me with a mug with their logo on it.

*The reps often want some sort of feedback, which takes time to provide.

What is the best or strangest freebie you ever got?

4 Comments

  1. Molly on May 2, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    Our lab once got a jar of salsa. Very odd.

  2. SBurnaman on January 27, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    Best freebie ever was a computer screwdriver from Fisher Scientific. I carry it everywhere, and it’s been so useful.

  3. bernie on December 11, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Big fan of the t-shirts. I’ll often ask one of our vendors for a couple of shirts and we present them to lab members as “bonus lab karma” for helping keep reagents stocked, etc.

  4. JackBean on December 9, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    However my personal favourites are things, which always tend to disappear in the lab – pens, markers, floaties (New England Biolab reps are usually generous with it), racks and the most useful one of all – the digital timer.

    :o)) Yeah, everybody just loves these! 😀

    I think the weirdest freebies are puppies (?, those furry dolls?, not living of course:)

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