I buy things for the lab (which may not be a true statement in the near future; we shall see), and some vendors like to thank me for my business by throwing in some item that I didn’t buy but might find useful or enticing. I have gotten t-shirts, beanbags for juggling (or possibly hackey-sack), the ever-useful thumb drive that is 3 generations smaller than what’s on the market (128 MB. Oh, joy), and , of course, office supplies like pens, highlighters and post-it notes emblazoned with the company logo. Often, however, the gift is food of some sort.
I’ve noticed that in the recent tougher economic climate that the companies engaging in this practice had been scaling back or discontinuing their give-away advertising efforts. I’m happy to report that the “lab snacks” assortment we get from one optics vendor, which had been downsized for much of the past year (or at least ours had been), have returned to the full cornucopia. Full recovery can’t be too far down the road.