What’s the Best Freebie You’ve Ever Received at Work?

A friend asked this question at game night tonight, and there were some fun answers, so I thought I’d pose the question to you as well.

I’ll try to think of mine job by job, post-high school:

  • movie theater: Free popcorn! I love popcorn, and it was quite delicious at the theater I worked at after high school.
  • restaurants: I worked at 2 restaurants during summers in college. I liked the free Andes mints at the Olive Garden, and their breadsticks. The bread was also good at Crab Louie.
  • publishing company: I worked as a project managed at a medical textbook publishing company after college, and I actually can’t recall getting anything free there.
  • university facility: This was a nonprofit, so there were lots of free perks! We had a big fundraising event each year, so I got a “free” meal at the Ritz (which I didn’t have time to eat at the event, but still, leftovers are awesome). And sometimes people donated office furniture that we didn’t need, so I was able to take home a very comfy desk chair that I use to this day.
  • Stonemaier Games: I’ve gotten some interesting free perks from running Stonemaier Games, including some special advance copies of games (Mechs vs Minions, The 7th Continent, and the recent Terra Mystica expansion).

What about you? What are some of your favorite free perks you’ve received at work over the years?

14 thoughts on “What’s the Best Freebie You’ve Ever Received at Work?”

  1. Best (most expensive) thing I received was the new iPad 3 a number of years ago – every employee received one (about 15 of us).

  2. I’m A facilities manager so we get a lot of free perks from vendors. Most recent and probably best was a yatch party with free booze and entertainment. I enjoy the baseball games and once a hockey game too. Also get the occasional unwanted furniture and the best part, free maintenance work at home if needed 🙂

  3. Hands down free cable when my husband worked for TCI/ATT/Comcast. So nice to not have to pay that bill!!!

    For me personally, I have been self employed/family business most of my life so I would have to say getting to travel, especially days off in NYC.

    In employment, I did work as a candy sales rep (I know, right?) and gots lots of free candy that was destined to be thrown out but that seemed routine. I also got a lot of garbage picked stuff from other jobs (I sill have paper and envelopes from my time at the paper store 25 years ago LOL) and jobsites (working at the malls at night around dumpsters was pretty cool – I still have Hallmark gift wrap and ribbon from a HUGE haul that I earned about 3K when I sold it at the flea market – paid for my wedding!).

    The most special was when I was working for Manpower as a temp, and was surprised one day with a gift! It was assistant’s day or something similar. They brought a card and a little silver necklace from Tiffany w the Manpower logo along with a handwritten thank you card and maybe a balloon or something. They delivered it in person to the worksite. It made me feel a part of the company even as a temp. I think it also sent a nice message to the employer, so was a pretty smart move.

  4. When I worked at Carrabba’s years ago, each of the cooks could have a meal to take home at the end of the night before the grill closed. I loved it. I’d take home a stone oven pizza or a chicken marsala every night. They were cold by the time I ate them, but still fantastic.

    Currently, working for a multi-billion dollar company, I have occasional access to stay in beautiful properties owned by the company/CEO and supported by a hospitality staff who far exceeds what you’d think an elegant hotel would provide. It’s difficult to fully describe, but it’s a wonderful perk.

    PS – I also loved when you worked at the theater and I could sometimes come in for free popcorn!

  5. I worked for a news organization that was owned by a cable company…one of the perks was free premium cable.

    The health plan was also good….but come on….FREE PREMIUM CABLE!!!!

    No idea why I ever left that job……

  6. My company gives perks at various tenure levels that are nice.
    3 years – handmade popcorn bowl or coffee mug filled with meaningful items that your team leader chooses for you.
    5 years – a monogrammed leather portfolio or bluetooth headphones.
    10 years – you make ceramic handprints that get hung up on a wall at the headquarters.
    15 years – either a weekend getaway at a B&B or some sort of lessons of your choice (music, SCUBA, dancing, etc…)
    20 years – Make a wish – request something you’d like, getting as creative as you want. People have gotten art for their office, giant monitors, guaranteed window office forever, a week off of work, etc…
    25 years – reserved parking spot or free lunch and coffee for a year.
    30 years – a medallion for your 10 year handprints.

  7. Well, the military left me with a complete set of ballistic armor, a sleeping bag with a wet-weather cover, a deep cold cover and mosquito netting and about 8 pairs of unworn boots.

    When I worked in off-broadway theater as an electrician, tickets and passes to other shows were constantly being passed around. Most of us never took advantage. Worst case; one of my best friends was married to the Prop Mistress for the Lion King, and we never went once. (Dating myself on that one)

    Free food in restaurants was always nice. Sure, you get tired of the menu, but then you break through the other side and always get some obscenely doctored version of a dish and all the cooks know it’s your personal meal. (Which can present a danger if you weren’t smart enough to stay friends with the people who actually MAKE the meals). I still remember working at an italian place and I would get their Rigatoni with vodka sauce. But here were my instructions:
    -No mush(rooms)
    -2x ck (chicken)
    -2x Red Pepper flakes
    -2x Scallions
    It was delicious, but the cooks hated the scallions order because they had to go into the cooler to get them and cut them fresh, and they just generally resented any 2x, particularly protein (it was only a 1.00USD upcharge, so I was getting nearly 16oz of chicken for 2 bucks)

    My best fringe benefit was working for a company on the NYSE (this is back in 2001) and they bought all of the employees their own top-of-the-line personal laptops, and at christmas the smallest bonus check anyone received was 8k. That place is just a smorgasbord of over-priveleged finance douchebags. Present company temporarily included.

    But my favorite fun fringe benefit was working at a Dave & Buster’s knock-off as a bartender. There were 5 of us on shift every friday and Saturday, but only 2 closers. We all drank well liquor throughout the shift, then helped each other with closing duties and drug it out so we would all be there at closing. Then we would hang out with the managers and drink for a few more hours and run off hundreds of dollars’ worth of gamecards and play the arcade games all the way to completion. It was meaningless, but so much fun it was criminal. Actually, it probably WAS criminal, since we were consuming alcohol off the books and several of the people would play games that dispensed tickets, and then would drunkenly demand the appropriate reward for said tickets…which the managers gave them.


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