There can’t be a correct way to spell it – is it chotchkies? Chatskies? You know what I’m talking about. Specifically, I’m talking about hotel logo’d swag. I get a lot of it. I refuse most of it. But over the last three plus years in business I have managed to accidentally accumulate an ungodly amount of “stuff”. And living in an urban one bedroom apartment, there’s only so much “stuff” one can possibly make use of. But I’ve found a way. When I walk up and down a trade show floor, I will pick up one of two things. For one, I will pick up a business card. That’s truly the most useful thing a vendor can have readily available for me. And then, should a bout of low blood sugar be upon me, you might see me take a piece of candy here or there. But squeezy stress balls, jumbo paper clips, mini spiral bound notebooks, flash drives in the shape of a dolphin, stuffed animals, business card holders, eyeglass cloths, compact mirrors, mints, pens, pencils, nuclear warheads – I mean, how many can one person possibly use? It isn’t that these items are inherent crap – it’s just that there’s no immediate use for me and certainly not in the sheer quantities I receive them.
Despite my refusing to take the lion’s share of swag I’m visited with on appointments or that I happen upon during my traipsing of tradeshow aisles, I managed to fill two large cartons and a shopping bag of the “good stuff”. And this year, at my client event, I brought said cartons and shopping bag, along with a bag of bags (I get plenty of those too) and played the role of Santa Claus.
I admit I was a bit tentative at first. I didn’t want the gesture to come off as incredibly cheesy. But in the end, it was a marvelous success. Folks relished in these items. They picked them out as stocking stuffers! Or office giveaways! Or who knows what? But it felt tremendous not simply throwing these items out. They’re useful – just not for me. And the whole reason I’m blessed with such a plethora of these items is because of my wonderful clients. And what better way to give back?
Okay, there’s about 1000 better ways to give back, but I’m hopeful I’ve done that too.