by Michelle Kennedy Hogan
Freebies That Are Not So Free
You know, those little freebies companies like to give away, just to say "thanks"...
Here are some of the best little perks that we have found. Now, let us preface this by saying that while there is no such thing as a free lunch, there is also no such thing as a free freebie...in most cases the company not only benefits from having you invest in their company, but benefits by keeping you as a customer. Remember, too, that the more individual investors a company keeps happy, the more diversified the stockholder population, thus preventing a large conglomerate from accumulating too many shares, and then asserting it's power over the company. Please do not invest in a company for their "perk". Use sound investing tools (found in other articles and areas on this site) to choose your stocks (we know you knew that, but we just like to be sure!).
Anyway...here they are...some of the best perks for stockholders...
Anheuser-Busch gives shareholders a 15% discount at the company's amusement and theme parks: Busch Gardens, Sea World, Sesame Park, Adventure Island, Water Country USA and Cypress Gardens. Shareholders who attend the annual meeting usually receive beer and Eagle brand snack foods.
Ben and Jerry's contributes 7 1/2% of pretax profits to various charitable organizations.
Blockbuster shareholders who attend the annual meeting receive a free prerecorded videocassette.
Brown-Forman Corp shareholders receive a 50% discount on certain Lenox holiday china and Hartmann luggage
Colgate-Palmolive shareholders receive discount coupons valued at about $15. There are also coupons in it's shareholder mailings sometimes.
CSX Corp gives discounts on stays at the company's Greenbrier resort in West Virginia.
Dean Foods offers a box of the company's products at the annual meeting.
Disney shareholders receive a 20% discount on membership in the Magic Kingdom Gold Card Program (membership fee for shareholders is $39). In the past, annual meeting attendees have received free passes to Disneyland
Fannie Mae has made free copies of their Remic Master software available to it's shareholders. The software helps users understand the mortgage-backed securities market.
General Mills makes a special holiday package of products and coupons (retail value-$50) available for $18.95
Gerber shareholders receive discounts on baby products and other coupons
Gillette gives out coupons with it's quarterly and annual reports.
H.J.Heinz sometimes includes special deals on products and recipe books in shareholder mailings.
Helene Curtis sends out coupons
Hershey shareholders can order gifts from a special holiday catalog and Hershey will ship the package directly to the recipient.
Dairy Queen shareholders are treated to Dairy Queen products at the annual meeting.
Josten's and Loctite shareholders generally receive a gift at the annual meeting.
Kellogg meeting attendees receive samples and coupons as do Kimberly-Clark shareholders.
Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing (3M) shareholders receive a welcome package of various 3M products.
Newell Co shareholders usually get a new product sample at the annual meeting (the company markets Anchor Hocking and Stuart Hall)
Otter Tail Power Co. has door prizes at the annual meeting.
Pfizer meeting attendees receive a "goody" bag (but don't look for free Viagra samples!)
Procter and Gamble, Right Start, Sara Lee, and Supervalu all receive coupons and "goody" bags.
Rubbermaid shareholders receive 3 free passes to shop at the employee store at the company's headquarters.
Smucker's shareholders usually receive a gift package with 3 or 4 new products or spreads.
And Wrigley sends every shareholder 20 packs of chewing gum every year.
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