Confessions of a Swag Whore

If there’s one thing I love more than a deal, it’s getting something for free. Last weekend, we celebrated our beloved son’s 19th birthday in Vancouver (our favourite city on the planet.) The city is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year and conveniently put on a party (for us) in Stanley Park – Vancouver’s crown jewel. We attended 3 days of free concerts and saw some of Aaron’s favourite bands – Mother Mother, Hannah Georgas, The New Pornographers, Said the Whale and Aidan Knight.

Hannah Georgas performing - don't you love her dress?

We stayed for free at my cousin’s house (thank you Sonja, Mike, Emma and Jacob!). We used transit, walked and took advantage of free shuttle service to get to and from the venue.

As if this feast of free wasn’t enough, I also got a bunch of free swag (which the Urban Dictionary defines as Stuff We All Get.) Something crazy comes over me when I see sponsor booths. I know they’re going to offer me free stuff and I don’t care what it is, I just want it because it’s FREE. Look at this loot:

I stood in line to get little BC Lions’ mini-footballs and tattoos. I could have had them autographed but as I know nothing about the Lions players, I wasn’t sufficiently impressed by the attractive football players who were doing the signing so I didn’t stand in line for that privilege. For those who don’t know, the Lions are BC’s CFL team (Canadian Football League – different from the NFL; if you care about that,  you can find out the differences here.)

Coast Capital Savings was a sponsor and they were handing out these colourful sunglasses. I got a bunch. This pair is going to Emma and Jacob – to Emma for giving up her bedroom and to Jacob for letting his sister sleep in his room as she did so! The sunglasses are actually pretty good, offering 100% UV protection.

i'm pretty proud of this pic. See the French text reflected in the Olympic quarters?

The Royal Canadian Mint had a booth that showed off some of their new collections. No free coins but I grabbed a free pen, for which I have a particular affection. I don’t know when I last actually bought a pen – all my pens have someone’s logo on them. (I’m also quite proud of this photo – see the French language reflected in the Olympic quarters? Cool, eh?)

Since it was Aaron’s 19th birthday, he is now legally allowed to drink alcohol. Amazingly, he was willing to do that with his parents. Probably because we were buying. We did this at various times in various places over the weekend but the one place where I got something free out of the deal was in the Stanley Park Brewery tent, where I got this cardboard coaster (amber on one side, pilsner on the other.) I also picked up the radio station tattoo and the Vancouver 125 celebration sticker that I’ll probably add to my guitar case.

Okay, so what is it about free stuff? As someone committed to peacemaking – including peace with the environment – I should eschew this plastic/paper/cardboard crap altogether. The sunglasses and the footballs were probably made by underpaid women or children in sweatshops in China. I will never wear the radio station tattoo. So why do I get so excited about this kind of stuff? Is there a legitimate, psychological reason for it? (Gasp!  Am I a Swagaholic? Do I suffer from SMD – Swag Mania Disorder?) How about you? Are you attracted to free stuff? Are you a dumpster diver? (I admit this has always intrigued me.) Ever picked up a used couch on the side of the road? What’s your free stuff story?

I’m linking to two of my favourite blogs – check out their fab finds: Thrift Core and Apron Thrift Girl

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4 Responses to Confessions of a Swag Whore

  1. Anna-Marie says:

    I may not be much of a sucker for swag (minus pens. I go to the CMU career fair purely for the free pens. I will suffer many a conversation with some bank or radio station or something I will probably never work for just to get a free pen) but boy oh boy am I a sucker for free clothes. I revel in receiving free clothes from friends. Being a little smaller than the average caucasian Canadian woman, I fit into all those dryer-shrunk treasures of my friends. And even when I don’t, my sewing skills are that which can alter almost anything. (I recently made a dress from an extra large men’s shirt). My closet and drawers are bursting with clothes, many of which I got for free. I do reciprocate but to be honest, I have far too much clothing and it is a big stressor in my life! How dare I have so much? I constantly try to get rid of some, but there is some memory, some love of a friend that keeps 4 hoodies in my closet.
    Luckily my feet are too small to get any free shoes or I’d be in big trouble.

    • angelika says:

      Hey Anna – it’s a good thing i CAN’T sew or i’d be even more inclined to stuff my closet with excess clothing! sadly, my shoe fetish makes up for that. (but yay for free pens!)

  2. Cynthia Williams says:

    Hey Angelika, Trudy Gortzen’s Daughter Cynthia here. I love your blog. I have recently started Thrifting! And I can not get enough. I love clothes as much as any girl and feel so much better paying so little for them. Not to mention with two kids in the house I use it as “Sanity Time”. Thanks for all the extra ideas you give me.

    • angelika says:

      thanks for the affirmation! It’s always great to hear from people who have discovered the thrill of thrifting. where’s your favourite place to thrift shop?

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