About free gifts – Part 2: Absolute tat

As promised, here’s part 2 of my guide to the best and worst free gifts. This part is about the shonkiest, crappiest free gifts. In no particular order, here goes:

HORRIBLE LITTLE MASKS: At around the same time as I was swooning over the free NME poster of gorgeous Neds bassist Mat, my late grandmother was ordering some real junk from the kind of catalogues that used to have quarter-page adverts in Woman’s Realm – such as 5000 hideous birthday cards that all had the same verse inside. With one item of crap that my grandmother ordered, she unexpectedly received a free set of horrible miniature pierrot masks. My mother apparently said “Rachel will love those” so my grandmother showed me the horrid little masks. I did not love these grotesque little things at all so I declined them. A few years later my late grandmother also tried to fob a Westlife CD she’d received free with something onto me.

RINGLESS KEY RING: The magazine Just Seventeen – which I stopped reading when I was about 15 – once gave away a free key ring which didn’t have an actual ring attached (well, mine didn’t, anyway).

NICE LOLLIPOP, SHAME ABOUT THE CONTAINER: At school when I was 5 – in 1979 – one afternoon as a Friday treat my class were all given red lollipops. The lollipop was nice but the jar they were in wasn’t – they were It’s A Knockout lollipops with caricatures of Stuart Hall and his co-presenters all over the jar.

One notoriously rubbish free gift that I didn’t get on principle:

EPIC FAIL: When Prince’s 3121 CD was initially released in the UK, for one day only it came with a free Daily Fail (or Fail on Sunday). Sadly the wee man in purple is no longer with us but the Daily Fail is still published every day – and I see today’s “Legsit” front page is particularly puerile. Some of my neighbours have tried to encourage me to read the Daily Fail, and my aforementioned late grandmother was a Fail reader – I doubt the Daily Fail fuelled my grandmother’s bizarre belief that Tony Blair was a radical socialist, as I don’t think even the Fail believe Thatcher fanboy Blair has ever been left-wing.


About cometorachel

I am a stand-up comedian and writer who has had hemiplegia, a rare-ish form of cerebral palsy which affects one side of the body (in my case the right) since birth. I also have curvature of the spine. I speak German, Spanish and Italian just about fluently, French badly, and am currently learning Portuguese. I have been a vegetarian for many years. I am on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rachel.collinslister and Twitter at www.twitter.com/rcollinslister
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