Freebie frenzy

There are some elements of sl that, although popular, have never really appealed to me, one of which is that most typically odd sl pursuits – the hunt.

Like so many things that so many of us spend our lives decrying, saying that we hate them, although secretly we’ve never tried them – cabbage, olives, buses… and so on – there comes a time when, by design or error we find ourselves sucked into a vortex of horrifying terror persuaded by the demands of scientific enquiry, persuaded to come face to face with our nemesis; only to find that our fears were misguided and the object of our previous mistrust isn’t so bad after all. Such were the circumstances with me and hunts.

i’m no shopaholic – in both rl and sl i can go for whole days without splashing the cash on some new frippery or foolishness, without undergoing any sort of withdrawal symptoms or panic attacks. Neither am i a sucker for BOGOFFs, special offers and bargain deals – none of which means i don’t know a bargain when i see one – in fact, i’m notorious for finding the real bargains in both worlds; but i’m also pretty discerning and it’s a rare occasion that i’ll buy anything just for the sake of it.

The same applies to freebies: few and far between in the real world, there’s usually some sort of cost. i’ve known people lured in to wasting 20 minutes of their time to watch an in-store ‘revolutionary’ new vegetable chopping system, just to get the free apple-corer at the end of it. (“Oh, and whilst we’re at it, why don’t we get the vegetable chopper too… it’s so clever! What… you’ll do a second one half-price? Gosh that’s another Christmas present problem solved!”). The allure of freebies in sl is, of course, somewhat less easy to resist, particularly since they’re so plentiful, and it has to be said that in my time i’ve helped myself to my fair share of free stuff, although in more recent times, the occasions haven’t been that frequent. With any purchase – freebie or otherwise – i tend to ask myself four candid questions: 1) Do i really want it?; 2) Do i really need it?; 3) Does it look like a freebie?; 4) Will it ever see the light of day again? – in this way, i can usually stay pretty much on the straight and narrow.

You can see why, when it comes to hunts, i’m a bit of a dead loss. Add to that a healthy degree of cynicism when it comes to the participating dealers – they’re not going to give away their good stuff; it’s just a ruse to get you to the store; the freebies are going to be stuff that nobody will buy… and you can understand why hunts have never really appealed, plus do i really want to spend my valuable time traipsing around shops for things i might not want?

Well, yes – it seems so, after all. You see, i’ve just finished my very first hunt and, despite all expectations to the contrary, i quite enjoyed myself! Of course, me being the way i am, i started in a rather unorthodox fashion – well, nobody told me you have to start at the beginning – and my own hunt commenced somewhere around half way through and then expanded outwards. It all started at my favourite garden centre where i spotted a hunt notice – reasoning that i’d never seen a duff item for sale there, i figured that any hunt gift would definitely be worth having – and it was! That’s the point where the sensible hook in my brain became disengaged from the reasoned argument eyelet and great big ‘Freebie’ signs lit up in my eyes… from that point on, i was on a mission.

Mild-mannered Haven became Manically Obsessed Harridan, with just one goal in life: hunt down those prizes, and to hell with anything else.

i’m better now. It was well into my second week of hunting i realised what i’d become… In the beginning, it was fun; i was finding new places, enjoying exploring new stores and merchandise – i even bought a few additional items and landmarked new stores that i wanted to go back to. Then, as time progressed, just getting the goodies became my raison d’être; i found ways to subvert the system, (sounds better than saying i cheated!), and if i spent more than five minutes searching, i wrote the location off as a dead loss. i didn’t stick to my own hunt either… i’d scour the stores for gifts relating to other hunts, and when the freebie fever was at it’s height, i’d grab anything that didn’t have a price tag. No longer was i interested in what else might be on offer elsewhere in the store – for cash – and i didn’t care what i was getting either – all i knew was that my inv. was becoming stuffed full of boxes of hunt gifts.

It was only once i started unpacking them, i realised that my indiscriminate scavenging had caused me to relinquish my four candid questions – Result: masses of things that i really didn’t need, want or care for. The sanity switch in my head flicked back on and i resolved to  calm down and get a grip.

The hunt continued, at a more sedate and lingering pace – once again i found places i wanted to revisit, gifts were scrutinised carefully before grabbing and, suddenly, i was enjoying myself once more. Lesson learned, good and proper.

Thank goodness they don’t have hunts in rl!

s. x

They call me The Seeker
I’ve been searching low and high
I won’t get to get what I’m after
Till the day I die
The Who – The Seeker 

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