Day 188 Product promotion cluttering

How many of you have gone to the supermarket with the innocent intention just to buy something like a set of replacement blades for your razor. You get to the section of the store where the razors are stocked and discover that there is a product promotion offer where you can get a set of 4 replacement blades and a SHINY NEW handle for only $4.99 while a set of eight replacement blades are $9.99. It is so tempting to buy 2 packs with 4 blades which gets you 8 blades and 2 SHINY NEW handles for only one cent more than the 8 blade pack.

This is a very tempting offer for those of us who like SHINY NEW things, whether we need them or not. The problem is easy to spot though isn’t it. Now you have three razer handles when you only need one. At best you will throw away the old one, which really is still quite functional (which isn’t very environmentally friendly)and keep the two new ones (one to use and one to clutter up your vanity cabinet). Or you may use a new one and clutter up your vanity cabinet with the old one and the other new one.

There is no end of these types of promotions or even just bulk buy packs that, even though they can make economic scence, cause a great deal of clutter. Now don’t get me wrong I LOVE Costco it is bulk buy heaven but I have been back in Australia for three years now and I am still using up rolls of sticky tape that I bought at least a year before I left. And what is wrong with that you say, well nothing really except they have to be stored somewhere.

There can be so much environmental waste going on here. Take into account the resources necessary to produce these “complimentary” items in the first place and then you have the landfill created by trashing these items when you realize you don’t really need

  • 5 laundry detergent power balls when you only have one washing machine
  • 3 razor handles when you only use one hand to shave your legs
  • a free wine glass with every two bottles of wine (I already have 2 extra sets of wine glasses I don’t use)
  • a free plastic Coke cup with a big mac meal (like all that packaging isn’t harmful enough to the environment)
  • $100 gift voucher (to buy unnecessary accessory items) when you buy a leather lounge suite ( just take the $100 of the price of the lounge instead please and I will be a whole lot happier)

My pet peave is… a free enviro bag with every purchase of $50 worth of groceries or some such offer (I don’t know if enviro bags are just an Australian phenomenon but I have twice as many as I need now because companies keep giving them away with purchases. They probably take much longer to break down than normal plastic shopping bags so you need to use them about 5,000 times for them to be really environmentally friendly.

And I sat down tonight wondering what I was going to write about. Where did all that come from.


No need to explain these items I think

Shaving Impliments

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. How do you dispose of these without throwing them out?

    • Christy,
      I wish I knew the answer to this but I am going to investigate it. I have just found it doesn’t answer the question but it at least explores other options. I am so glad you asked this question it has given me a great idea. Stay tuned.

      After 5 more minutes I found this gem….. Razor Saver… the only thing that bothered me was the buy one get one free deal. Exactly what I was ranting about in this post. I am pretty sure if we wanted one in our household we could all use the same one.

  2. Can’t help with the razor recycling sorry, but I did notice in Coles they are collecting enviro bags to turn into school furniture. Well they were last time I was there anyway! I never know what to do with them either – especially the ones that are broken

    • Hi Jo,
      thanks for joining us here at 365lessthings and also for your info about Coles recycling the bags. I will check it our if any of mine become unusable. I will mend mine so I get the most out of them before I send them for recycling though. I must be quicker and refuse if anyone tries to give me any more of them in the meantime.

  3. Colleen – super duper excellent post! I’m happy to discover I’m not the only one sick of all the “free” crap being shoved at us from all directions. Here’s the thing though – that stuff isn’t really free. The cost of the “free” stuff is added into the cost of the stuff we do buy, along with the guilt of how to responsibility use or dispose of it. Open any junk drawer in the free world and there is probably a half dozen cheap or free trinkets in there that the owner doesn’t need or want but feels guilt about just tossing in the garbage.

    While I’m ranting, here’s one of my related pet peaves…coupons that try to force you to buy more of something, or a related product in order to get the savings. $1.00 off FOUR boxes of cereal. Get 5-lb bag of sugar free when you by TEN!!! packages of Koolaid. Why can’t I get a 25 cent off coupon on one box of cereal? Or 50 cents off the sugar? We don’t drink Koolaid, and my 19 month old could not eat 4 boxes of cheerios before it goes stale if I fed it to her at every meal. Makes me crazy!

    • Hi Donna,
      great rant! It really does make your blood boil sometimes doesn’t it. I must admit it isn’t quite as bad here in Australia because with a smaller population the competition isn’t as fearce and there are far less manufacturers so they don’t need to use much in the way of enticements to sell their products. There is a problem with that though because where in America at supermarkets when a product is say 3 for $5.00 you can buy one and get it for $1.66 here is Australia you HAVE to buy all three to get the discount. They really haven’t caught on to the coupon thing here yet either. Like I was saying to Willow the other day, compitition can be a good and a bad thing.

  4. I just attended the Lilth Fair, a wonderful concert. But here’s the promotional junk that I brought home, thinking it could be useful:
    2 samples of “body mist” in orange blossom/cranberry (a very odd aroma combination)
    An ob tampon holder, adorable in tourquoise, holds three, but I’m a little past that time of life.
    A key chain for breast cancer preventer’s “I am the cure” race. The key chain itself has five different dogtags and two jump rings.
    A mini magazine that entertained me for ten minutes before hitting the trash.
    A washcloth emblazoned with sanitary napkin brand names.
    A handful of samples of powdered ‘water flavorer.’
    These are all good things to support and could be useful to some of us at some times. But I hate to think of the waste of all those promotion dollars. . . The best promotion by far was an iTunes card for 20 free Lilith songs.

    • Hi Lisa,
      I now where you are coming from FREE is just so enticing until you get it home and wonder why you bothered. Can you imagine for a minute the amount of wasteful packaging alone involved in distributing tiny little product samples. My everyday recycling volume is bad enough and I wish there was a way to reduced that.
      I use a little change purse in my hand bag which actually has advertising for a condom band on the outside. Luckily it is a brand we don’t have in Australia so no one would notice but I love the purse and at least it is getting used.

  5. Where I live, our enviro-bags are recyclable with our other stuff. Have you checked the manufacturers’ tags on them? If yours aren’t, then yes, I’d do like you do and just refuse them.

    • Hi Jo,
      I really will have to look into that. I hope you are right though because the whole idea of them would be defeating the purpose really otherwise. I will check it out pronto. I do try to remember to use mine whenever I go shopping and if I forget I punish myself by refusing to take a bag at all and juggle my purchases back to the car.

  6. I’m really enjoying reading your blog Colleen 🙂
    I’ve started refusing things like this that I really don’t need. Sometimes I won’t take that ‘buy one get one free’ or ‘3 for 2’ offer in the supermarket, or I’ll refuse the freebie if I really don’t need it or want it. It is a comment on our general culture that I am seen as the oddball for doing this. Society is just so set up these days to think that free gifts/added extras/price deals MUST be a good thing.

    • Hi Lesley,
      you are powering through the archives it seems. There is nothing wrong with being an oddball. I am an oddball and proud to be so if it means I am a bit more thoughtful about waste than others.