I know many who’d say FREEBIES it is. That’s it. (Oh! A freebie incidentally includes an extra of the same product, discounts, practical stuff like a glass jar with a Bournvita beverage pack etc.) I can understand why. As many homemakers would proudly proclaim, it’s quite a smart buy. Who will otherwise travel that extra mile (using up extra fuel) to a Big Bazaar (BB) that could be quite away from their home? Isn’t BB the ultimate retailer who indulges the smart buyer in each one of us??!!

That has been the norm even before retailing became an organized sport. It’s a sport isn’t it? One against the other, negotiations, survival of the fittest, the winner gets them all etc. I can’t grudge the ladies on that emotion. But in the recent past, I’ve seen quite a few men also joining this brigade. They have quite an eye for discounts too. I suppose they are well trained by their wives & the growing-up influence of watching their mothers shop. It undoubtedly plays easy on the monthly budget.  Besides, for most of us (irrespective of gender) it’s survival of the smartest.

With that age-old truth safely tucked into shopping behavior I’ve noticed another more exciting ‘joy factor’ emerging. I’ve simply labeled them ‘DELITEBIES’ (i.e. freebies, that are absolute delights). They come from superseding expectations where there exists little, which makes the deal so much more clinch-able. They often come at you with no prior intimation or then you possibly know a bit about it and that’s enough to create anticipation for the product or service.

So here’s a list of a few DELITEBIES that creates nice feelings. Am sure you’d relate to a few or all of them.

  • Like the spontaneous business class upgrade when you are booked on economy class.
  • A spa voucher when you check into a hotel, given as a top up
  • Shopping in bulk & possibly being asked to pick up something the personal value of which, could be more than the discount given
  • Eating at a restaurant a few times & being invited for the World Cup football quarter finals (that they televise on their big screen), with 1 hour of beer on the house
  • Being booked into a business hotel & getting access to the lounge for your guests, despite not being a esteemed member of the hotel
  • Walking in your hotel room & 2 bottles of wine are complimentary (happens in foreign travels sometimes, especially if it is a wine country)
  • Travelling on a holiday with family & your 8-year old kid is gifted with swimming classes for the duration of stay
  • Taking the regular local airline to your regular local destination & the pilot spends a good 20 minutes telling you about the land he is flying over, in the most interesting way (Journeys in India really need that. There is so much storytelling in every city/state)
  • A food store in a hypermarket that you visit often, that gives a famous chefs cookbook complimentary.
  • You are at this quaint restaurant & having a glug of ouzo (raki / sake…any other knock-out local preparation) and the chef sends you 2 more glasses, just like that.
  • Extra two dollops of whipped cream that you get on in your hot chocolate, just because…

Believe you me, all of the above is factually correct & true. It has happened. And simply these little DELITEBIES has kept the memory of the brand lingering on, long after it was over & done with. Of course discounts work…they are tangible. You see them in your wallet. But one that is couched in a value-add, brings joy and possibly builds a deeper relationship.

So it didn’t surprise me that some brands have gone all the way building their entire product around it. Of course it is a brand for kids. It’s unusual to expect that in an brand targeting grown-ups??!! After all surprises is so kiddish no?

KINDER JOY (Children ask for a 3-in-1 joy from their mom 1. Surprise. 2. Play thing 3. Sweet something)


If I ask myself what are the moments that stayed back in my mind, they are often the ones filled with l’il surprises. So I doubt if as adults we are any different. We pretty much have a built in system from our childhood days, that expects & hopes for DELITEBIES or an unexpected gift.

So now there are many of us who have always been in love with FREEBIES and there is within that ‘many of us’, a new pleasure seeker who loves the pampering. The soft emotions. The experiential leg of the freebies. Unless I am really broke, I’d love the DELITEBIES any day. Yes, over the freebies.

What about you?

Tell me about some of your DELITEBIES. The ones you really enjoyed. The ones that surprised you. Would love to know.

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  1. I agree.

    Allow me to fall back on my favorite theme of human behavior. Brands & people signify similar things. If one refers to consumer behavior in a marketing context, the other refers to human behavior in a relationship context.

    Free-bees are always from the initiator’s perspective. This is what I’m going to give you if you live up to my expectations. This is what I think you deserve if you stay loyal to me & contribute to my brand image.

    The 1st couple of times, free-bies make you smile because of that something extra that you get; but once you observe the link that says `conditions apply’, free-bies lose their charm. What you are getting may not be what you want.

    In a relationship context, it may translate as a phone-call, or a gift, or a holiday – because you have just done something so nice that you deserve to be appreciated. But, fact remains, the appreciation is conditional.

    Delite-bees on the other hand are simply given to you for just being yourself, for just being there. It just says we are so happy that you’re part of us, and we hope you will continue to delight us with your presence. It doesn’t matter if you don’t give us anything in the moment, but for all that you have given us, we love you.

    In a relationship context, it may translate as an unexpected moment of gentleness, or tenderness, or concern, or tangible demonstration of emotions – at a time when you may have done nothing special to deserve it; or better still, at a time when you may not be feeling or even looking your best.

    Free-bees are more like wasps, you have to chase them way after a while. Delite-bees are those honey-bees that can create nectar in any flower.

    • Thanks Anu. It made for a very interesting read. I really enjoyed the ‘bee’ family allusion too.

      The thing with freebees is that we are somehow suckers for it. I dont know if we would really let go, but yes at some stage, (if done often) the value slips in our heads. But we still love it.

      Delitebees grows on you. And we miss it when we dont have it. From a marketing practice POV i think it would work mostly with high value products & services.

      Somewhere, it is also a transaction I guess wrapped in honey & cream. It is like the difference between these two pick up lines …’Would you go to bed with me’ & ‘Your body is a wonderland’. Both work. Just depends on how hot the one who propositions is!!!!

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