Every day something happens which makes me smile or laugh. 

In the main, the latter usually hijacks my mind, as silly and comical situations manifest themselves around me setting off my school girlish quirky humour.  At other times simply brought on by ‘a moment’, it goes public, taking on a whole new life form triggered via an act of unexpected hilarity!

From the pit of my core a common cackle similar to a witch on speed escapes followed by an unbecoming shrill of excitable laughter.  This combined with a variety of odd movements and sounds; my feet spontaneously stomp, my arms wave, thighs get theatrically slapped, torso rocks, tears begin to flow and not forgetting the generous portion of snorting akin to a pig being tickled rounds it all off nicely.

My laughter meter measures from a ‘1’ being lightly touched by laughter to a ‘10’ resulting in a bout of unrestrained raucous belly laughing! 

Today’s little funny exchange was a strong ‘4’, after popping into my local Lidl.

‘Operation Dog Food’ was quickly forgotten, as I made my way methodically up and down every aisle.  The chief objective temporarily on hold whilst I scoured each waist level metal basket with my bionic bargain powers, routing around the ones of interest for potential gift ideas on the run up to Xmas.

After doing a couple of laps round the store, my shopping basket on wheels began to run out of space, with my one and only ‘bag for life’ to hand, the other 5,999 unused neatly folded waiting at home, I made my way to the till.

Dom the checkout dick (opposite to checkout chick used for the female variety), was not only a dab hand at operating the conveyor belt smoothly, but was unbelievably speedy when zapping through barcodes working faster than the blink of an eye causing my shopping to haphazardly pile untidily and dangerously when reaching the final bumper. 

‘Would you like the free kitchen roll?’ 

I couldn’t help myself.

‘Is it free Dom?’

A tumbleweed Tourette’s moment courtesy of my silly sense of humour was out in the open.  To be met by absolutely nothing from Dom who left me hanging, oblivious of my natural quick witty quip and ability to respond quicker than his zapping skills. 

Waiting for him to get it, I could feel my face changing and was nothing short of being relieved when the man in the queue behind me got it letting out a snort confirming my humour had not gone unnoticed!

Dom, mistaking my contorted expression for confusion felt the need to explain why with much seriousness killing the mood, my spend warranted such an entitlement to this galvanising giveaway!

The temptation to cartwheel with excitement up and down the aisles or scream in ecstasy at such news was supressed!

Like the majority of the British public, I too love nothing more than receiving something for nothing!

But I couldn’t hide my disappointment on being presented with the pack of two shrunken rolls squashed together making them look even smaller and more unappealing.

Dom, not only master of the till working robotically to meet his zapping targets showed a more human side in the art of making small talk, unable to resist promoting this humdrum handout.  His gem of advice suggested I could use it at Christmas to mop up any spilt wine.

Poor Dom, still sitting comfortably on his swivel stool, was nonetheless in situ within the naïve teenage years, clearly not fully able to recognise nor appreciate the number of years I had already dedicated drinking wine, with many a glass raised. 

Spillage was simply something that never happened, not on my watch!  Not a single drop ever missed my lips and always made it successfully to its desired destination. 

On accepting the inferior rolls of absorbent cloth, it made me ponder to what it is that makes us take something complimentary, even when it’s not actually something we want or necessarily need and why in the high-tech world we live, do the British still love a freebie?

So, what constitutes a freebie?

You may remember back in day, Argos supplied little blue pens where it was reported it had to order several millions each year just to replace stocks and keep up with the demand!

It was like an addiction!  Why stop at taking one, when there was a whole heap of pens just waiting to be taken.  Convincing yourself those annoying fiddly cheap pens destine to run out on the second time of use were ‘handy’, leaving with supplies topped up sufficiently in your handbag or pockets weighed down and at bursting point. 

This particular freebie would end up everywhere, distributed generously to family and friends or anyone that needed a pen and even though not in circulation for some years now, I can guarantee within every household lies the memorabilia confirming you too were an Argos pen junkie!

Over 80,000 pens from Bookmakers William Hill would go missing every day and the free Ikea pencil became iconic, a must have item, some shoppers only visiting just to acquire them not actually buying anything!   

Many a letter never actually making the envelope and stamp stage was written confessing to such acts whilst using the very same stationery items I had stockpiled

These cases could be seen as petty pilfering or do people mentalities change, like mine if something is out on display in large quantities where you feel the compulsion to just take, on the belief it won’t matter if one or two go walkabouts and straight into our pockets or bags, some ending up on e-bay no less!  We seem to quickly justify such acts because they were free! 

When we see the promotional trolley in the local supermarket what compels us to queue up to receive crumbs of a biscuit about to be launched or drink from medicine cup samples offering the most outlandish and disgusting tasting drinks?

However, it’s not just those items available in large quantities! 

Anyone who has stayed in a hotel should be the first to admit, as soon as they close the door behind them before unpacking the check and carry out a mini audit on the freebies is carried out!

All those little bottles of toiletries lined up, in the full knowledge no one ever uses the body lotion, but that certainly doesn’t stop it from being safely stored out of the view of housekeeping or stuffed into one of the pockets of their luggage by check out time! 

But why stop there, as research shows some customers believe anything supplied during their stay not nailed down quantifies as complimentary!

My unwanted freebie which would never have made it into my basket on wheels through choice was a marketing ploy devised to create loyalty and increase the amount spent.  Annoyingly it worked!