Asking for freebies/samples

I get a *lot* of people asking for free stuff…… seriously A LOT.   Ranging from legitimate requests for pads to review, to “I’m too poor so can you give it to me free” to just “can I have a sample” requests.  Now…. I know everyone likes free stuff (including me 😀 ),  But I would like to point out a few reasons why I am going to say no – and why some of the other padmakers will also refuse to send freebies and samples.

 

  • Do you go into a department store and ask for a free tshirt just because you don’t want to have to pay for it?   Do you go to a restaurant and ask for a free sample of a dish before you decide to order it?    I assume you wouldn’t.   If you wouldn’t ask them for free stuff, why is it ok to ask a padmaker for a free sample?  One who is a much smaller business and who is much less likely to be able to afford to give out free stuff all the time.  Or to put it another way, would you go to a local farmer’s market – where you know the person standing there made that homemade jam and is at the market to try and earn a living – and ask them for a free jar of jam, just because you can’t afford to buy it.  (I hope not)  Asking for pads to review is one thing, asking for free samples….. is another…..  It’s basically saying you’re not prepared to pay me for the time and materials that I’ve put into creating it – you just want it without having to pay for it.  How is that fair?

 

  • I (like most padmakers) am a very small business – it’s me, sewing in my spare room.  I’m a “Work-at-Home-Mother”, sewing pads so I can stay at home and not have to go out and get a job away from the home.  I’m not a big business who can afford to give out free stuff to all the people who ask.  The pads are not made by machines, they are hand made.  There’s multiple layers of fabrics to cut out and sew together, it can take half an hour to make 1 pad.  So there is the “wages” for the time it takes to make the pad as well as the cost of the material that went into making it.  Then also postage – that all adds up. What you’re asking for is for us to work for no pay, and give you something that would cost us money to make for you.

 

  • I already donate pads and money to charity organisations and fundraisers (eg “Days for Girls“, Shanti Uganda” etc.).  So when I decide to give away free stuff – I generally pick to give it to those types of charity,  so that it goes to people who *really* need it. If you’ve e-mailed me, that means you have access to the Internet and electricity – which is a LOT more than some people in the world have.  So while you may be doing it rough, and I’m sorry to hear of people who are (I’m not exactly loaded myself) –  if I’m going to choose to give free stuff away, I’d rather it go to the people who are doing it even rougher.

 

  • Pad makers talk 😛  We also get sick of being begged for freebies, and we often ask if other padmakers have been contacted too.  So if we see someone send around the same e-mail to multiple other pad sellers, we’re all more likely to say no… There’s a limit to the amount of freebies one person should receive….. and I can’t say I condone people mass e-mailing a bunch of pad sellers, so they can get a heap of free pads.  I don’t think that’s very fair on the pad sellers and I don’t think that’s fair on all the other pad users in the world who have bought or made their own pads instead of getting a bunch of freebies.

 

  • If you e-mail a padmaker to say you have a blog/youtube channel and want to review the pads – include a link to your site!    How can you expect a padmaker to want to send you stuff without proof you are actually using them to review (and not just after freebies because you don’t want to pay).  So at least include your link so we can go check it out.   We’re not checking to see you’ve only given good reviews, we want to see if you’ve actually “reviewed” products in a meaningful way.   I’ve had people in the past wanting freebies to “review” and then not actually reviewing them.  An “unboxing” is not a review.  That’s not helping people to know what brands of pad are good quality…..  So while yes, showing a pad brand in a video might give the brand more advertising, I personally would rather those free pads go to help keep a schoolgirl in Africa in school – than to be shown off online and maybe bring a few more people to my store.

 

  • And lastly… While I do appreciate reviews and feedback.  I personally feel that it is better for the cloth pad community if people can all post their reviews somewhere like the Cloth Pad Reviews forum, rather than spread out over multiple places – so that it’s easier for people to find lots of people’s reviews – as sometimes multiple reviews of the one product will give a greater overall picture of the product than one person’s review alone.

I also feel that a review from someone who has bought the product and reviewed it, has greater weight than the review of someone who asked for a freebie to review.   As a viewer, I feel there is likely to be more honesty in a review done on a purchased product rather than a free one.  You don’t know if the reviewer is going to have a different opinion on it if they didn’t have to pay for it, if they are going to feel honour bound to say something nice about it….. and ultimately, if someone liked the look of the product enough to buy it in the first place, then I think that speaks a lot for the product right there…. and if they still like it after the review – if they consider they got their moneys worth, then I think that speaks highly for that product.

 

Following on from the topic of pad reviews….

When you do “reviews”, think about why you’re doing them.  Are you doing them just to justify people sending you free loot?  Or are you actually providing a valuable service for the cloth pad community?    …… Really…. be honest now…..

Think about what you want to achieve, what sort of things would your visitors find useful in a review.  Holding up a pad and saying “This pad is made from flannel and PUL, it’s 7 inches long, and it’s really pretty” – is probably good for the seller, but it’s not helpful for anyone else…. That’s information they can find out from looking at the pad listing online, they don’t need you to tell them that.  If they are reading/watching your reviews, you should be giving them information they can’t get from just looking at the seller’s store.  You should have already tried the pad.  Looking at a pad and talking about how it looks, is different to having actually tried the pad and being able to talk about how it actually worked.  The sorts of things you should be talking about are how the pad fit (fit well or not, did it bunch, did it move about in your undies), how it feels to wear (comfortable or not, does the shape work for you, how does the fabric feel), how you found the absorbency, how did it go with washing (compared to other pads you have), how did you like this pad compared to others you have, why would/wouldn’t you recommend it to others  – stuff like that….. that’s the sort of stuff people are wanting in your reviews.  Being able to answer those types of questions shows you know enough about cloth pads to be able to make a good review, and you are giving people the kind of information they will only find in a review (not just a pad listing on a store somewhere).

… also…. when reviewing, it might be a good idea to look up the information about the pads before you start – so you know what they are made of and all the relevant details, so you can avoid making any mistakes.  Be knowledgeable on the subject – as people will expect you to be, so you have a certain amount of responsibility to do the job well.   It’s also helpful if you include links to the online stores of all the products you review so if anyone does want to check them out, they can do so easily.

If you’re just showing off your stash, that’s different… you can just say “I have this pad and it’s pretty” and that’s fine – but if you’re attempting to “review” something, it’s more helpful if it’s a proper review.  if you want a free pad just so you can add it to your collection and show it on video – that’s not very fair.

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