!!!THE PSYCHOLOGY OF FREE STUFF!!!!

Discussion in 'Battlecorals' started by Battlecorals, Jun 3, 2017.

  1. Battlecorals

    Battlecorals Aquaculturist R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    [​IMG]

    It’s true! I am often as baffled as I am charmed by some of the responses I’ve gotten over the years about the extra "surprises" that people find when they open their Battleboxes. By "surprises" I simply mean: free stuff - primarily a frag or two.

    It’s a strange phenomena indeed. Free stuff can be shrugged off and dismissed, or highly regarded. Sometimes being met with utmost gratitude, other times completely expected, and every so often, flat out frowned upon all together. I have heard it all and I can’t help but be amused by how these good intentions are greeted - be it well or poorly. It was many years ago now, but I will never forget the guy who complained about the size of the free stuff I shipped with his order. I’ll admit, it had me rethinking ever sending freebies ever again, but alas, the notion fortunately faded. I'd say 9 1/2 out of 10 people are very grateful for any extras that they receive, but its still an interesting subject to me.


    Let’s talk about the psychology of free stuff.


    There's something about value and the concept of what I’ll loosely call “virtual value”, that I find very interesting. If a frag is free, even if it would otherwise be expensive, I think that it's value immediately becomes undermined by the fact that it was not only free, but also not necessarily desired or wanted. I think that’s completely normal behavior; however, the intrinsic value of something free may be difficult to calculate and really is ultimately determined buy the person in possession of the free stuff.


    [​IMG]

    Where am I going with this? Simply to open up a discussion on how you guys see and experience free stuff. It's kind of a petty subject really, but let's go there. I remember years ago when the Red Dragon was still hard to get a hold of, but I had lots of it. I would often send out pieces as freebies. The response was usually very unexpected -surprise and questions of possible mix up, followed by extreme gratitude and a little bewilderment upon confirmation that it was not a mistake. Clearly this was an example where the extra frag exceeded their expectations by a lot. For me, the dragon grew like a weed and I had plenty to go around. It was easy to give away even back then when it was a still fetching nearly 200 a frag.


    Normally when it comes to extras I’ll try to tailor them to whatever else was purchased, not just dumping excess montis and the like, but using the extras to round out a pack in a good way. Sometimes I’ll clip branches from better than average colonies I have as well. I like to think that the extras can help soften the blow from any shipping costs, and is ultimately my way of saying thank you for the business. No strings attached. Love, hate or indifference towards them, they are all yours.


    What about those times when a frag or two may come in DOA, but there are a couple nice extras included that made the trip in perfect health. Do they that offset the DOA’s in any way, or are these resilient extras simply seen as valueless tagalongs, even if their actual value far exceeds that of the DOA? As tempted as I have been to do so, I have always held back the urge to say something like "well, I know that two in your original order were DOA, but the freebies I sent should make up for it". Just doesn’t really work that way. And that brings me back to the question. How do we actually value the stuff we get free from vendors? What do you guys think? I suppose in the end, any appreciation or value of stuff gotten free, is truly held by their new owners and no one else.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017

  2. BigKid4788

    BigKid4788 Well-Known Member

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    Nothing but appreciation for free stuff. To answer the question about DOA, it would depend on the amount spent on the piece that came in dead. I had that happen once and didn't say anything because the amount I spent on the frag wasn't that much. If a $350+ frag was doa, I would probably reach back out to the vendor and work something out.
     
  3. kennedpa

    kennedpa Well-Known Member

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    It's funny you mention this Adam. All the freebies vendors send me are dead or dying frags. So with that being said, the incentive to continue to buy product from "generous" vendors speaks for itself. If you send a free healthy surprise of any kind, maybe even a high end piece on occasion for a very loyal customer, that says a lot about your appreciation for the business, and we appreciate your initiative to make us appreciate the hobby more.

    hopefully at minimum, the main order is battle ready like your corals.
     
  4. Kevin11

    Kevin11 Active Member

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    Free frags are always a pleasant surprise and greatly appreciated and it's got that good vibe that comes along with it that's just hard to explain. You rock in this category Adam!
     
  5. mwilk19

    mwilk19 Active Member

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    First of all, free frags are always appreciated but for a quality vendor like yourself, that's not what makes me come back. The first order I ever placed with Battlecorals was a small one due to the fact that even though your reputation preceded you, I had never done business with you before. I was surprised and thankful that I received a couple of freebies with my order. One of them was a frag of Spainbow which quickly grew to become my favorite. The other was Dale's purple. I lost the Spainbow when my alkalinity doser stuck and overdosed my tank. Somehow, that frag of Dale's purple hung on and is now starting to grow out. It just shows that the freebies sometimes become more valuable than the ones that we actually ordered.
     
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  6. BkReefBaby

    BkReefBaby Active Member

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    Free is always appreciated...I think it's down right ungrateful if some one has a complaint about a FREE frag even if it shows up dead or with no color. It was freeee why are you complaiiining?!?!
     
  7. jerburton

    jerburton Member

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    I have never done business with Adam at BC but have had my eye on his stuff for quite some time. Hopefully I will get my tank up soon and be able to get an order in. Regardless, I think that free stuff can be tough subject. When I worked in the hobby, I sometimes felt that customers would begin to "expect" freebies and were sometimes disappointed if they didn't get one/some. Then it became a fairness conversation. Do we just give freebies to favorite customers, club members, people that buy a lot?

    From a consumer standpoint, I am all for free but I have to say I don't like receiving free "crap". By that I mean, manufactured goods that have a very short expected lifespan with little functional purpose beyond marketing - plastic swag if you will. I am becoming increasingly more aware of our influence on this planet I would like to do my part to contribute less extraneous junk into the ocean.

    If the free gift, would otherwise be wanted or have value, then absolutely count me in - especially coral. If it doesn't happen to be my "style" I am more than happy to pay it forward to someone else. I think that it can be a great way to grow the community actually.

    I actually think one of the coolest experiences is getting something unexpected in this hobby and having it turn into a gem. I have been fortunate enough to experience that a couple of times and wish it upon all reefers.

    Cheers!
     
  8. Ssteve

    Ssteve Active Member

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    For me I am very much in the "it helps offset the cost of shipping etc" camp. I know when I got my battlebox I set a $200 budget and asked for 4-5 fast growers for my young tank. I ended up getting 6 frags for $175. That's just under $30 a frag or about $45 each with two freebies. Even at $45 it was under typical retail price. At $29 a frag it's a seriously massive bargain. The one "small frag" I received was still almost an inch and typically sells for $79 per inch frag...... Sooo, if I complained about that it would seriously show some really poor morals in my opinion.

    Hearing people complain about free stuff doesn't shock me though. We are in the era of people expecting something for nothing.
     
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  9. Ty Hamatake

    Ty Hamatake Hi, my name is Ty and I'm a Reefer... R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    I was 100% on the side of free stuff being great... until I got to the DOA part. That is something I have never thought about before and it is an extremely valid point. I have to agree with @BigKid4788, that it is a case by case basis.

    I know you kind of touched on this @Battlecorals, but how do YOU feel about customers sharing/bragging about the freebies they received from you? I always want to, but am always very cautious at the same time. Do you feel that the benefit of people sharing that awesome part of the experience of ordering from you outweighs the possibility that future customers will only order expecting the get some free frags? Either way, I'm going to keep doing it, but how do you feel about it as the vendor?
     
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  10. nerses818

    nerses818 Active Member

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    I feel like there are really very few instances where someone could have a viable reason to be unhappy about a freebie, in general freebies should be greatly appreciated because the vendor is by no means obligated to give a freebie regardless of how much u order or whether ur a loyal customer or new buyer. Obviously the occasional freebie can help to bolster the relationship between customer and vendor but freebies should not be expected, and whenever I have received a freebie I always make it a point to thank the vendor. Just my thoughts
     
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  11. kennedpa

    kennedpa Well-Known Member

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    For what it's worth I wasn't complaining. I hope you were not referring to me. I was just making the point that if it's done to promote business that those situations do not work towards that goal. I don't need or expect freebies.
     
  12. BkReefBaby

    BkReefBaby Active Member

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    I was not referring to you. I kept my post short and to the point. It was more of a generalization.

    No one has to give freebies but if they toss 1 or 2 as a surprise and you don't like it...like some one else said "pay it forward". Some one else would gladly take them especially with the price of some corals today. I've received plenty of freebies from purchases I've made from different vendors. When I don't like the freebies I post them on my local forum as a freebie or toss them as a freebie myself from a pack I've sold.
     
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  13. Ssteve

    Ssteve Active Member

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    Freebies do promote business. Not saying I wouldn't buy from Adam if I wasn't getting a freebie, but she I see another vendor post a nice piece for retail or close to, I instantly think "why would I buy from them when I could get the same thing(or better) from BC and possibly get a sweet freebie thrown in".
     
  14. dankreef

    dankreef Well-Known Member

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    I think it's the perception of free it must be low value? Personally I think it's cool can always pass it on.
     
  15. Silver14SS

    Silver14SS Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I love free stuff, I won't complain if any bonuses end up in my pending battlebox! As a repeat customer, a little something extra makes me feel like my business is appreciated, but I never expect anything other than what I paid for.

    As far as DOA, stuff happens. My pending order is frags picked by you. As long as I get the # of corals I paid for, I'm happy. If there's an issue I know you'll make it right!

    Heck, when i mentioned that a frag didn't make it after it had been in my tank for a few days you offered a replacement right away, no questions asked. I hope you didn't think I was asking for a replacement, I was only mentioning it :)
     
  16. Battlecorals

    Battlecorals Aquaculturist R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    Right this is kind of what i was touching on. Even if a free piece is something extraordinary I think its just human nature to see it as "less valuable". And perhaps that simply because we have nothing vested in it. Makes perfect sense to me actually. "easy come, easy go" essentially.
     
  17. billw

    billw Acroholic in Training R2R Supporter Big Blue Reef Member

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    Another thought is that it is a trained response from a lifetime of experience receiving low value "trinkets" from vendors. A quality freebee from a vendor definitely tells me their head and heart is in the right place and is much appreciated here.
     
  18. Husker

    Husker Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    It is important to note that "free" frags are really part of the overall cost. You could consider it marketing costs on the coral suppliers. Suppliers are either going to make less profit by including free frags or they are going to have higher prices to compensate. Somebody takes a hit. A coral supplier who is a savvy marketer would be wise to maintain the illusion that free frags come at a cost to the supplier for the sheer benefit of the customer. That might not always be the case.

    That being said, I have only placed two BC orders: an order of ~5 frags and a random battle box. The freebies in the first order were incredibly generous and wonderful surprises. I'm not sure if those freebies were sheerly altruistic or a clever marketing ploy (or if the difference even matters). It certainly improves satisfaction upon opening the box, and it makes a return customer out of me. I'm planning on BC being the main source of my frags for my tank upgrade. As reefers are notorious upgraders, maybe the "free frag" strategy of securing loyal customers is a really good long term business strategy.
     
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  19. hartin461

    hartin461 Member

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    I would say that a freebie is a nice gesture from a vendor for a simple "thanks" for ordering from us. I would not expect it by any means, but does make the chances of me returning for another order more likely. Another factor that trumps the "freebie" method would be the price and quality of the product though.
     
  20. justingraham

    justingraham Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor NJRC Member

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    I have bought two battle boxes from Adam both I added a frag I wanted on top of it.

    So basically I gave him full control over picking my frags for my tank. I have twenty of his frags in my tank 2 are what I picked. The rest are his.

    Which brings us to the discussion at hand. Freebies.

    No coral was labeled freebie that I got. So I must not have gotten one. But if I go thru his site and tally up all the coral prices and then subtract what I paid the math doesn't add up. I got way more then what I paid for in corals and more importantly (at least to me it is) customer support. He always replied quickly always answers my questions some quiet dumb I may add but he was always there.

    But none of the bags said freebie on it so I'm kinda mad that Adam didn't give me a freebie now that I know he was giving out red dragons.

    But in all seriousness if he wrote freebie on a couple of the bags it wouldn't have made a diffence to me. I know what I got was on par or if not greater then what I paid for and I didn't need a bag to say freebie on it to feel that way.

    But if a coral was Doa and the word freebie was on it I don't think I would bring it up to the sender but if it was one of the corals I specifically wanted I think no I know I would bring it up.

    But isn't that just the way humans are?

    I don't know but I do know that I don't buy corals or fish from places that give out freebies I buy it from the places that have a great qt program and great customer support and who stand by there product but if they give out freebies that's just an added bonus.
     
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