Free gift included*

You may think I’m a grumpy git, but anyway – I’ve been thinking about this for a while.. it’s a small thing in the grand scheme of things, but it still annoys me. The ‘free gifts’ you get with a lot (most) craft magazines.

They bother me because they are not free. You’re paying for the magazine and the cost of that also covers the ‘free’ gift.

It bothers me that there has to be this ‘incentive’ to buy the magazine. Surely, the magazine should be enough in itself? Otherwise maybe they need to rethink their content?

And it bothers me that there’s a gift with every issue of a magazine, so it doesn’t feel special, as a gift should, it becomes the norm. When you expect it, there’s no delight in it like there should be in a (surprising) gift.

But what bothers me the most is that usually the ‘gift’ is of really poor quality. Embroidery thread that tangles just by looking at it. Cheap plastic crochet hooks where the hook end is absolutely useless and will only rip your yarn to shreds. And speaking of yarn, the ‘free’ yarn is usually of the horrible acrylic variety which only has one positive feature: it’s static and will make your hair stand up, so you won’t need any hair gel. ;-)

Maybe someone who randomly picked up the magazine would have fallen in love with a new craft because of a free ‘gift’ of materials, but when the materials aren’t good, I wonder if that actually happens? Or they become discouraged before they even get started?

Say you pick up a magazine with a kit to make a cross stitch greeting card – but the threads get tangled on every other stitch you take – will that inspire you to keep going? Will that inspire you to think “yes, I’ve found a new passion!”…?

Often the magazines will say something like ‘the project made with this (free) kit will make a wonderful present’. Really? Would you really make something with materials which are most likely to fall to bits or rust etc..? That’s not a nice gift to give someone you care about.

Edit: A couple of the comments reminded me of a point which I forgot to add: if those gifts are not useful because the quality is so bad, that means that a lot of people will probably just throw them away. Maybe some elements can be recycled but some of them can’t. So they just add to the ever growing mountains of waste. This doesn’t go very well with one of the core reasons that a lot of people craft: crafting is thrifty and it’s (fairly) friendly to the planet. Throwing things away isn’t…

It would be a better gift to scrap those things and lover the magazine price a bit.

Is it just me? What do you think?

*sorry, no gift included. ;-)



  1. April 21, 2012 / 8:42 am

    I've saved all the free gifts from mollie makes, which to be fair are better than most. I thought I might try and put them all together in a free gift style hack!

    Still, the free gifts off cross stitch magazines are a great opportunity to practise your subversive cross stitch & the crappy yarns are perfect for a yarn bomb :)

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