Sunday, March 13, 2011

Four O'clock Teas

I'm not a big fan of tea, I can do normal tea, green tea, and occassionaly mint but generally I don't bother unless their is no decafe coffee about, that said who can say no to free.

This product give away was again at Union Station with the morning crowd getting a green tea and green mint tea blend and the afternoon crowd getting Chai and a organic chocolate flavored spice tea. I pushed these products off onto the tea lover I know who claimed both of the afternoon teas were excellent. As obvious from the multiple packages I did go in circles to hit all the different people handing out these tea packages.

McBreakfast wars

For 2 days in February McDonald's was giving away its new breakfast sandwiches the center piece being egg/cheese/sausage on a biscuit just like Tim Horton's. This looks to be in response of Tim's bringing out a breakfast sandwich on an English muffin just like the Egg McMuffin.

Now imagine the worlds smallest McDonald's kiosk in the bottom of Union Station surrounded by several hundred, 200 pound vultures demanding free food now! Damn it was ugly!

I admit I got in line just so I could take a picture of the sandwich and I did take a bite which I should get some kind of award for because it was disgusting. I like the Tim Horton's offering mostly because I only get egg and cheese, no meat, the added sausage patty from McDonald's was a slimy thing with a horrible flavour.

On the health side consider that this puck sized lump of grease has 590 calories and 37grams of fat representing 57% of your daily requirement. Salt content was also disturbingly high at 1140mg or 48% of your daily allowance. I know people who order several such items when having breakfast out,, eewwww! Makes me want to find an insurance company and take out a dead peasant policy on them.

Anyway I took my picture, took one vile bite and tossed this piece of crap out..

What is the value of something you got free and could not force down your gullet?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dentyne Ice on ice

How appropriate they were giving away Dentyne Ice on a frosty -15 day on the corner at Bay and Front. I'm not much of gum person and I think the blast of Arctic air to my face was all the icy feeling I needed, still free is free and the other members of my house will appreciate it..

This Dentyne Ice is certainly neither a new product nor a new flavour but it appears they are promoting a claim that their flavour now lasts 40 minutes, perhaps it does but my jaw usually get sore or I bite the inside of my mouth long before 40 minutes is up so it's probably not a factor for me.

Why does no one make licorice flavored gum anymore? I think Beemans did at one time but I've not seen a pack of Beemans in 30 years or more.

mmmm Kozy Shack Pudding

Wed night on the way home the good people of Kozy Shack were handing out a variety of single serving puddings including regular and no sugar gluten free types, they also make soy based puddings which I would have taken if I had known at the time.

And of course what's not to like with pudding? yummy fat, sugar, chocolate and other tasty flavorings. Yet if you read the ingredients on many brands it looks more like a chemistry set or a bottle of shampoo than something you'd want to eat.
The pleasant thing about these puddings are the ingredient lists largely composed of things I recognize as real food.

Now pudding is not health food by any stretch of the imagination but as pudding goes Kozy Shack gets a pass from Free Crap in Toronto.

By the way they also gave out 55 cent retail coupons.

Sunday Banking????

This Monday TD bank was at Union Station giving out reusable bags flogging their new Sunday Banking hours for some branches. While I can always use an extra shopping bag (or three) I don't understand the need for Sunday Banking hours. Is there really a need for this?

Maybe they should open the last 4 Sundays before RRSP season ends each year but all year? I don't get it. I sure as hell won't be banking on Sunday let the poor slobs who work there have a guaranteed day off.

I think that should be a new social movement, no shopping on Sunday, I don't do the religion thing but surely we can have one day for family and community.

Oh yeah,, here's the TD site and a tool to identify which branches will have these new hours

Monday, January 24, 2011

FUZE, A Horrible Trend in Potentially Dangerous Products

I received a bottle FUZE (owned by Coke) on Bay Street the first week of Jan but held back posting about it for several reasons.

1. I'm generally suspicious about these designer vitamin drinks and wanted to do some research about them.

2. I won't drink anything melon flavored, even if you water it down with copious amounts of vodka/rum/gin etc.

3. My guinea pig didn't drink immediately it after I finally got around to taking the photo

4. I forgot!

I'm glad I forgot because now I can reference this article from the Ottawa Citizen on how vitamin drinks and other products are both unregulated and potentially dangerous because the government has given them exceptions to testing because of backlogs in licensing.

The example given in the story is actually about a FUZE product

If you down one Orange Mango FUZE Vitalize in a day, you'd be well advised to avoid milk, eggs and other animal products that day. The fruit drink is boosted with so much vitamin A, some nutritionists say it could be risky for your health to consume any other items that contain the nutrient.

The amount of vitamin A in Coca-Cola's fruit drink is well above Heath Canada's recommended daily intake. In fact, it hits the government's tolerable upper intake level for adults. That maximum daily level was established after evidence showed that consuming more of vitamin A in the retinol form -- the type contained in this drink -- may cause liver abnormalities and, if consumed by pregnant women, birth defects.

Great product, Mango Flavored Birth Defect drink,

I don't know who I'm more pissed off at, the Government for giving out exception numbers to products like this or FUZE for selling a potentially dangerous product.

This stuff is not a medicine, it's a beverage. How many people would even notice the warning to consume no more than bottle per day, let alone read it? I think its an unreasonable expectation. Worse, 1 per day is till more than a teen should consume and nearly twice the limit of a child. Are vendors expected to warn children from buying it?

Face it people, it you want to be healthy eat properly, exercise a bit and don't self medicate massive doses of vitamins in pill or beverage form.

Untasted by me, I give FUZE a fail.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Quaker Oats and Alexandre Bilodeau

With temperatures dipping to -26C in Toronto, Today's Union Station freebie from Quaker Oats was a most welcome one. Quaker gave out packets of instant oatmeal and if you ventured outside the station they had a tent where you could also get a cup of hot oatmeal already to go and meet Canadian Olympian Champion Alexandre Bilodeau who won a gold metal in Freestyle skiing at the Vancouver 2010 games.

The flavor I got today was Maple and Oatmeal.

Serving the Oatmeal, Alexandre in the back

Alexandre Bilodeau with Jennifer Valentine of Breakfast Television

I didn't bother staying for a closeup or a autograph, why get in the way of all the kiddies waiting in line.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Josh Groban in Toronto

I realized today that this blog needs to have a little wider focus in order to include free activities and entertainment in addition to the consumer crap. I came to this revelation due to the mayhem at First Canadian Place where Josh Groban was present to sign autographs.

I readily admit I have no stinking idea who this guy is but apparently he sings, signs, and is very popular with the ladies thronging about the stage.

First Canadian Place has a fair number of events during the year, I've seen Burton Cummings, the Wild Strawberries and a few other acts I didn't know over the years. I've also missed many others because I rarely leave my desk at work.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pass the Juice

The yearly deluge of freebies started on January 4th and 5th with 400ml bottles of Simply Orange. The juice was available both mornings in the lower level of the First Canadian Place, given out of course by the mandatory bevvy of pretty young ladies:)

Being 100% real juice, NOT from concentrate and pulp free made Simply Orange a nice quality drink. That said, there are a lot of other quality juices on the market so beyond giving Simply Orange away how will they differentiate it from the other brands and break people's existing brand loyalty?

If you check out their web site you'll see they also make Lemonade, Limeade, Grapefruit and Apple

Saturday, January 8, 2011

1 Year of Free Crap

Over the years I've seen a lot of free products handed out in the business district of Toronto, entire cases of bottled water, bars of cheese, bagged breakfasts, pop, juice, milk, gum, candy, one bag frozen dinners and pizzas. Its not just food either, I've been given hardback books, magazines, reusable shopping bags and the daily deluge of newspapers from companies trying to artificially pump up their distribution numbers. I suppose its because this area contains both a relatively affluent demographic and a target rich environment with tens of thousands of potential customers herding themselves into and out of the core every week day.

Over time I've seen people run, line and push up for some bit of free food like they've never seen any before when just seconds earlier they ignored real poor people asking for food/money on the street. I've seen same people hover about, circle around and visit more than one lineup in order to fill up every pocket they have with free crap.

Occassionaly in great acts of stupidity companies have given out the same product in the same location, several times a week for several weeks. Coming into work the next I would find people who had 7 or 8 bottles of Frank's Red Hot sauce on their desks. I'm not talking about little tiny Tabasco sized sample bottles but 3-4 ounce bottles of both wing sauce and straight Frank's Red Hot sauce.

The entire thing just irks me!

The insanity of giving people frozen Thai food containing chicken just before they commute for an hour is only slightly less than that of the people who took the Thai food, knowing they faced a one hour commute in 32 deg celcius weather.

The inhumanity of giving out an entire truckload of free frozen food to employed people without bringing a couple lousy submarine sandwitches for the people who live on that street corner day in day out.

Its quite bizzare that I constantly see new products for the first and last time when they offer it to me free. I don't know much about marketing but considering how many of these products seem to fail I don't think handing it out free is really that effective. Never have I received something so good that I rushed out and asked my local store to stock it. "Not bad for the price" is about the average for these products.

At this moment I'm unsure if I should act insane for the sake of the blog and see how much stuff I can accumulate in a 1 year period or just photgraph each occassion I see a give away. Let me know what you think.

View My Stats