The $39 Experiment RSS Feed
This is not the latest update! — I split the older updates into their own pages to keep everything loading quickly. If you're looking for the latest buzz, check the main updates section.
Previous Update - April 17, 2006

April 17, 2006 - Fun in the Sun and Old Cheese

I'll admit it... Freebies arrived on both Friday and Saturday, but seeing as how Chicago was hit with a freakishly warm wave of summer-like weather, I wasn't going anywhere near a computer for a few days. What do I look like, some nerd with a website who spends all day online? Don't answer that. Anyway...

Wyeth (the ChapStick folks) sent over a nice letter, three different sticks of ChapStick, and three coupons good for $3 each. Assuming that ChapSticks cost $1.29 each, we arrive at a grand total of $12.87 in goodies from Wyeth.

Seeing as how I compared ChapStick to "old cheese" in my letter to Carmex, I figured I'd set the record straight on this topic, just to be fair.

I personally prefer Carmex over ChapStick. Carmex just seems to be smoother and spread easier. ChapStick is too... stick-ish... Too firm and too waxy. I'd almost call Carmex more of a "salve" than a balm. I also like the tingle that the menthol and camphor in Carmex offer.

With that said, I can also say that my wife is less fussy than I am, and she likes ChapStick, so this wasn't a loss. I think the important thing here is the personal-ness of Wyeth's letter. It seems that they read my letter to them and were (seemingly genuinely) concerned about my feedback. Thanks to Wyeth for both the letter and the goods.

And call me anal, but I always thought ChapStick was one word. Wyeth's response letter to me consistently presents it as "Chap Stick". A Google search for "Chap Stick" (two words) even comes back suggesting I try "ChapStick" as a single word. With all of the money that companies spend on trademarks and branding, I would think that there would be an effort to remain consistent in all uses of the name. But anyway...

Moving on.

Ah, Avis... One of our original casualities. Finally, a response comes back from good ol' Avis. Avis sent back a very short response letter (two lines) and a $25 coupon for an Avis car rental. Good stuff, right? Well, sorta.

The $25 coupon from Avis expires on June 30, 2006. Talk about short notice. If you remember, Boston Market sent over a book of expired and soon-to-expire coupons a while back... Maybe I should just pick up an Avis rental car locally and head over to Boston Market for some free eats... take advantage of all of my soon-to-expire coupons at once.

What really caught my eye with this one, however, is the $25 coupon itself. "Please accept our apologies". Sure, my name was typed onto the top of the coupon for that quasi-personal touch. But other than that... Does Avis receive so many complaints that they mass produce these "we're sorry!" coupons?

This coupon is really case in point of my initial underlying goal of The $39 Experiment. It would seem that companies are far more "armed" to respond to complaints than they are to letters of praise. Nonetheless, thanks to Avis for the coupon.

Starwood, who owns a bunch of hotels — Westin being (coincidentally) the only one that I wrote to — responded with a letter telling me to join their preferred guest program if I want comps. Borrrrrr-innnnnng!




Freebies Summary
Who? What?
approx. $
Fellowes Four cans of compressed air $32.00
Carma Labs One jar of Carmex $1.29
Stash Tea Nine teabags $1.80
White Castle 19 burgers, 2 breakfast sandwiches, 2 orders of Chicken Rings $12.37
Airborne One free tube of Airborne $5.99
Reynolds Two 50-cent coupons $1.00
S.C. Johnson One free ($3 max.) Skintimate coupon $3.00
Church & Dwight Two $1 Arm & Hammer coupons $2.00
Pfizer Three 50-cent Purell coupons $1.50
Pepsi Pepsi pen, pencil, stickers, and gift catalog N/A
Biotene Free samples of gum, toothpaste, and mouthwash N/A
Burt's Bees Free stick of Burt's Bees $1.87
Dunkin Donuts Book of five $1 gift checks $5.00
Mercedes Benz Mercedes keychain $30.00
Eden Foods Pasta, tea, soymilk $9.54
Chicken of the Sea Two $2 coupons, one 25-cent coupon $4.25
Sanford Four pens $5.00
Gatorade (aka Pepsi) Three 60-cent coupons for Propel $1.80
Nestle Two coupons for Nestle candy $1.00
Max and Erma's A hat and travel cup $15.00
Dairy Queen Three $1 gift certificates $3.00
Del Monte Five coupons for dog snacks $5.25
Celestial Seasonings Three sample teabags, three coupons $5.60
Boston Market 33% of $50 coupon book $16.67
Campbell's Four 50-cent coupons $2.00
Energizer Three $1 coupons $3.00
Frito Lay Two 55-cent coupons $1.10
Nylabone A "Double Action Chew" with "Minty Fresh Center" (wolf size) $9.33
Brownberry Three $1 coupons $3.00
Riceland Three coupons $2.70
Eight in One Pet Products A bunch of free dog snacks $25.00
BMW BMW keychain $18.00
Wyeth Three ChapSticks and three $3 coupons $12.87
Avis A $25 car rental coupon $25.00
34 companies $266.93