Thursday, January 21, 2010

FTC alert: Free stuff. Finally.

Last April someone from a promotional products company contacted me and asked me if they could send me stuff for review, no strings attached. Always quick to take advantage of a freebie, I said, "Sure, you betcha."

Ere long after that little email exchange, UPS delivered a big box to my door, inside which I found the following:

Garden stool
Tape measure
Water bottle

I haven't said anything about it until now because I wanted to use the items for awhile in the garden to see what I thought of them. I was given the option of reviewing one or more of them, and told I could write whatever I wanted. When I opened the box, I immediately had a pretty good idea what I'd have to say about each--mind you, these are apparently promotional give-away products, and so the bar is set pretty low (if it's free...). But I thought, what the heck, I'd give those trinkets a real workout and see what transpired.

Well, brothers and sisters, the time has come to reveal the results of my extensive garden testing. But before opening the envelope, I'd like to pause and take an informal poll. Given what you know about me, which of these did you think I'd like best?

A. Garden stool
B. Tape measure
C. Water bottle

If you guessed B, followed by C, with A lagging behind like a cranky toddler, you win a kewpie doll, since that is exactly what I predicted, too. A girl can always use another tape measure, and this hazard yellow one had the added attraction of being nearly unmisplaceable. And a water bottle that is BPA free?  Seriously? That is so going on my bike for those hot summer rides.

But that garden stool. I mean, just look at it. Anyone can see that that thing is flimsy and unstable. I pictured it getting kicked to the side in my shop pretty quickly.

And now, after months (months!) of dragging things around like rag dolls, leaving them out in the rain like the cake in that song, and jumping up and down on them as if they were a brand new set of box springs--in short, Rigorous Testing--the winner is...

Yes, that is correct. Your eyes do not deceive you. To my complete surprise, this garden stool is adorable, and I know a thing or two about garden stools, having two crabby and demanding middle aged knees to answer to. I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but I have put this thing through its paces, and rather than being flimsy and unstable, it has performed without a whimper. Oh sure, there is a snap that won't close on the other side, and storing cold beverages on ice in the waterproof bag isn't really all that practical (I mean, I usually am only a few steps from my back door and a real refrigerator, so why would I need to do that?), and I have a beautiful, sturdy bag I use to tote my garden tools so I don't really need all those pockets, but people, I love the stool even so. Why? In short, because it is lighter and handier than the two other stools I have taking up space in my shop. When I have a task that needs some sitting time (as in the assembly of the chipper shredder in the photo above), I grab this thing without a second thought. The other stools, including my beloved ersatz tractor, haven't been touched them since I got this. Who knew?

The tape measure? In the end, it is a tape measure, pretty much like any other tape measure. I still misplace it.

The water bottle? It rattles in my bike cage and isn't insulated; I guess those are pretty specialized needs for a water bottle.

However, having said that about the also-rans, if someone gave me these things for free to advertise something, I'd snapped them up and be happy for it.

Oh wait. Somebody did that.


  1. The same company sent me those items for review last year and they have come in pretty handy. I'm using the bag for construction tools for my greenhouse - haven't used the seat much as I don't do much sitting! The tape measure has been use frequently and the water bottle was commandeered by my wife.

  2. Perhaps I ought to take these promo offers that arrive in the mailbox seriously! ...The stool looks very handy! I can see using a light weight one in the garden...thanks, gail

  3. I don't sit, either, but anything that organizes tools is a help. I use one of those organizers that fits in/over a bucket. A measuring device is very handy in the garden.

  4. I had a garden stool, and I stopped using it because I stopped using it. I found myself sitting on an oversize kneeling pad on the ground instead. Maybe my knees would be happier if I used a stool, but I'm still set in my ways.

  5. A lot of these companies don't bother contacting me because I'm up here in the wilderness and they don't sell their stuff here yet, but I did get an awesome pair of gardening gloves late last summer. I'm picky about gloves and wasn't sure about them, but we'll see how they stand up to abuse come spring. Glad you like the stool--it looks handy to me. I sit on the ground on a buckwheat pillow because of my knees.

  6. ;-> that garden stool looks like it would also make a fantastic knitting bag/stool.

    My gardens are terraced and/or sloped so wonder how well it would function in my setting.

  7. Dave--Cool about the greenhouse.

    Gail--It is the very lightness of its being that makes it bearable.

    NellJean--I always say that you can't measure too much.

    MMD--What I like about you: set in your ways. ;-)

    Jodi--What are they thinking? Your reach extends to the whole wide world!

    Wildknits--Hmmmm, I can't see sitting on it to knit unless you took it to a curling match or something...

  8. Ah - but I live very near to the (or one of the) worlds longest sandbars and an "Inland Sea" - knitting on the beach can be problematic. Add in soccer games and this stool could be a knitter mothers dream accessory.

    It was just a thought as the stool looks very similar to some fold up knitting bags I have seen - with the added bonus of a seat 9and apparently a cooler?!?).

  9. Wildknits--Well that makes a lot more sense now. I pictured you trying to sit on it next to the fireplace and knitting. Figured that an easy chair would be a lot more comfortable. ;-)

  10. Fireplace?!? I wish! And the sauna is too hot for knitting ;->

    Nope - having knitting, will travel. Even comes with me backpacking (and was featured on a news video unbeknownst to me).

    Probably not what the inventors envisioned for the stool... now to get them to donate one to me to try out and review ;-> could open a whole new market for the things!


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