Your Free Gift

Your Free Gift


Read on!


“Free” is the most appealing word in our language.

Admittedly it got my attention on a recent mailer from an area hospital.

“Your free gift is enclosed” it said in big words.

Maybe a coupon for free angioplasty I pondered ripping open the envelope.


Why thank you, I think.


Boy was I disappointed to learn the free gift inside wasn’t surgery at all, but address labels.

Two sheets of 39 labels apiece.

This being 2019, we mail very little.  A few cards here and there.  We pay our bills online mostly.  So I figure these 78 address labels will last us the rest of our lives.




But because you can’t just pitch the labels (I mean they were free, right?), I decided to put them into a desk where I discovered other “free gifts.”

Sheets upon sheets of additional address labels received thru the years.

Address labels from organizations, associations & clubs.

Address labels from universities, societies and God knows who else.


Oh my.

Handfuls of labels.  Overwhelming numbers.

I had to find out how many.  And began to count.

The tally climbed higher & higher with each sheet.

The grand total…drum roll please…was 955, give or take a few loose labels.

Nine hundred and fifty-five personalized, self-adhesive “free gifts.”

How lucky can one man be?


Don’t get me wrong.  I am not complaining about free gifts.

It could be worse.  Much worse.




I mean instead of address labels…in this age of self-driving cars, Roombas and smart phones…they could be sending VHS tapes!












2 Replies to “Your Free Gift”

  1. Having OCD I kept all of my FREE address labels in a Ziploc bag. Years ago, I too realized I pay everything online, and had more address labels than I would ever use in a lifetime. I went through them, kept a limited amount of the ones I liked, and shred the rest. Now when I receive them in the mail, they go straight into the shredder along with the accompanying letter asking me for money. You may not remember this, but I remember back in my high school and college days, and maybe even later, if you wanted return address labels, you had to ORDER and PAY for them.

    On the subject of VHS tapes, I remember probably 30 years ago I won a FREE membership to “Blockbusters” at a fundraiser. I did not own a VCR. I think I probably gave it away to someone else at the table.

  2. Margaret,
    We are like lost souls separated at birth.
    I remember the days when you had to pay for return address labels. Now they are free, proving we live in the greatest country!