I am starting to understand how addictive online shopping can be here in the US.
(Feebly) Beating the system, one freebie at a time.
The country is such a huge land mass (spanning across four time zones--excluding Hawaii and Alaska--and almost the same size as the continent of Europe); you can only imagine how challenging it is to distribute a product around the country. If you want to buy something that isn't available within your vicinity (whether it is a brand from the other side of the coast, or a store that isn't franchised in your local mall), you would have to resort to purchasing the product online.
Retailers have made online shopping as convenient as possible--which is both an advantage and a disadvantage to the consumers:
- Online sales happen almost every month (major sales happen on season highlights)
- Payment can be done via debit or credit (or PayPal, to be more secure)
- There are options for free shipping (either purchase at least $N worth of items, or sign up for a premium service)
- They accept returns/refunds for a product you don't like (they can provide a prepaid return box, or you have to shoulder the shipping cost)
- They even replace a damaged product for free
Being a homemaker, I have a LOT of free time to browse around (as you've noticed based on the frequency of my blog posts nowadays), and that makes me the perfect candidate for online shopping addiction. I admit that I haven't been strong sometimes, but now I'm trying my best to "beat the system" by subscribing to sampling boxes.
What is a sampler box?
Similar to subscription boxes, a sampler box is a service that sends, well, a box filled with samplers and coupon to a person who signed up for the service. It may be recurring (if that service is generous), or by chance (if there are a limited number of samples to be given at a certain time), but the process of signing up is pretty much the same:
- Provide information that will build their demographics (i.e. gender, ethnicity, household income, age range, etc)
- Provide contact/ delivery information to ship their product (which is also risky as--unless explicitly stated--they may sell this information to telemarketers)
- Answer product-related survey to build your consumer profile (i.e. brand preferences, whether or not you have kids or pets, etc)
- Provide feedback once you received the sample (with disclosure that you got the item for free). The more active you are, the more freebies you can get in the future
- If possible, engage in social media... like what I am doing now
I've signed up for a couple of sampler boxes already, but so far only one has sent me an actual box: PINCHme.
By building your member profile and participating in marketing campaigns, you are rewarded with more samples, and at the same time helping to eliminate sampler wastage (such a first-world problem, I know). Ideally, this business model also helps the brand to receive positive feedback about the product--provided that the PINCHer (yes, that's what we are called) are honest when answering the surveys.
|A PINCHme box contains a mix of actual products, and discount coupons to try out online.|
For the actual products that came in the box, I got a deodorant, a toothpaste, and a salad dressing.
1. Gillette Endurance - Cool Wave
The sample size I got, I think, is equivalent to a travel-sized tube, which is not bad at all. Unfortunately, I won't be able to try this out as this product is marketed for men. But I do remember liking the Cool Wave scent, and Gillette is a trusted brand, after all. This sample also came with a $1 off brand discount.
2. Sensodyne - Deep Clean
I also got a travel-sized tube, and tried it a couple of times before stashing it back into the medicine cabinet again for future use. Like the other Sensodyne toothpastes I've tried, this toothpaste doesn't have that strong minty kick, but unlike the other Sensodyne toothpastes I've tried, this doesn't have that bland, numbing after-effect. I actually liked it.
3. Hiddlen Valley-Simply Ranch Dressing
I don't have a favorite brand of ranch dressing, and honestly, I only use it as dipping sauce for buffalo wings and/or celery/carrot sticks. This brand claims to be free of artificial preservatives, as well as gluten-free, so I was actually surprised that this tasted... well, like ranch dressing. A bit less tangy, but nonetheless decent-tasting. Should I decide to purchase a ranch dressing for the pantry, this brand is definitely an option.
The other items in my box are coupons--a $30 discount at HelloFresh, a free 8x8 photo book (excluding shipping fee) at Shutterfly, a $100 wine voucher at Virgin Wines, and a free snack box at Graze.
Of all the coupons, I only tried out Graze as it is the only offer I can get for free (i.e. free not discounted, with no additional shipping fee). More on that in my next post!