On the Downsides of Free Tea

One of the things you might find, after you’ve been operating a tea blog for eight years or so, is that you’ll probably be sent lots of free stuff. I sure have been. One of my regrets about operating such a site is that I didn’t keep track of this impressive outpouring from the beginning, just for the fun of it.

Of course, the fine tea merchants who bestow all of this bounty on us tea bloggers are not doing it out of the goodness of their hearts – however good said hearts might be. They’ve got a horse in the race and they want to try to get the word out about their fine products – with our help.

But that doesn’t make it any less exciting when a package of free tea or tea accessories – or even one or three of those fancy high-falutin’ automatic tea makers – arrives in the mail. At least at first. But like most things in life, receiving free tea junk becomes the sort of thing you become acclimated to as time goes on. I wouldn’t go so far as to say jaded, but free tea stuff now is not necessarily as exciting as it once was.

There are exceptions. In my case, that’s mostly for black tea, the type of tea that I’ve become a tireless cheerleader for and one that never seems to lose its luster – whether it’s free or I’m paying the tab. I still tend to get excited when I open a package and find black tea because it’s something that I actually like and I’m pretty sure I’m going to drink it, or at least give it serious consideration.

While I still like most of the other types of tea, the truth is that I don’t drink them much nowadays. So the primary downside of the freebies is when vendors want to send tea – as they often do – that I have no interest in. I’m sure there are worse things that could befall me, but the fact remains that I have to find something to do with all this unwanted tea. My immediate circle of friends, co-workers and acquaintances doesn’t really contain many tea drinkers, so that’s not a good option. And no matter how I try, I just can’t seem to bring myself to throw away tea, no matter how little interest I have in it and no matter how much valuable tea shelf space it’s taking up.

My solution these days has simply been to tell vendors not to send anything but black tea. It’s a waste of their time and resources and mine. Of course, if you’d told me, eight years ago, that I’d be turning down offers of free tea I’d probably think you were loony. But things do change, after all, and it’s for the best.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

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One thought on “On the Downsides of Free Tea

  1. Hmm, I have been sending out samples of really good teas for free in the beginning of my promotional work for teas from north Thailand, but you weren’t on the list by then, and I don’t do this anymore today 🙂

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