Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day Freebies: Free Food, Coffee and Desserts; All You have to Do is (Not Even) Vote

U.S. Election Day 2008 Special Report

Who says there's no such thing as a free lunch...or dessert...or cup of coffee?

A number of U.S. national food service chains are offering free food, drink and sweet treats today, election day 2008, to voters.

Starbucks, which has cafes throughout the U.S., many of which are very near polling places, is offering voters a free cup of coffee all day today and tonight. Specifically, a free cup of tall, brewed Starbucks coffee.

Starbucks originally announced that in order to get their free cup of Joe, voters would have to show their "I have voted" slips of paper with the smiley face that's given to them after they vote at their local polling places.

However, the coffee chain was told it's illegal to require proof of voting in return for the free coffee offer, so the King of Coffee changed that policy, offering free cups of coffee to everybody today regardless if they voted or not. [Note: If you haven't voted but still get your free cup of Starbucks coffee at a cafe, be advised it's possible the Coffee Gods might just bless your house (or reusable travel mug) with bad karma for the rest of this year. So, vote first -- then get your free cup of Joe at your local Starbucks cafe.]

The free cup of Joe offer from Starbucks is rather fitting for this election since we've had "Joe the Plumber" and lots of talk about "Joe Six-Pack" and the "Average Joe," primarily from the McCain campaign and the news media's reporting on it. Therefore it seems appropriate to end the 2008 election with a "Free Cup of Joe."

And while you're getting your free cup of Joe at Starbucks, do make sure you say hello to "Joe (or Jane) the Barrista" for us.

And what's a free cup of coffee without a free donut to go with it? Voters are in luck. The Krispy Kreme donut chain is giving free donuts to voters all day today.

Not satisfied with just a free donut and cup of coffee. Never fear. The Ben & Jerry's ice cream folks are offering free ice cream to voters at all of its U.S. Ben & Jerry's retail ice cream shops today. That should add a little extra sweetness to voter's election day on top of the free donut.

But it's not just free coffee and sweet treats being given away for free to voters today.

If your lucky enough to life in the southern U.S., and have a branch of the regional restaurant chain Shane's Rib Shack nearby, go there first, before hitting Starbucks, Krispy Kreme and Ben & Jerry's for your free coffee and deserts. Why? Because Shane's Rib Shack restaurants in the south are giving voters free chicken finger dinners all day today as an election day promotion.

The Chik-Fil-A fast food chain also is giving away free chicken finger dinners at stores in selected regions of the country.

There you have it -- a free lunch and more, if you have branches of these food service chains near where you live in America.

Click here for a Web site with a list of election day freebies, along with links to articles about the election day giveaways today.

No election day freebies at Fresh & Easy

Alas, Tesco's Fresh & Easy isn't giving away any election day freebies to voters at its stores in Southern California, Nevada or Arizona today. The fresh foods and grocery chain is holding an election day promotion though, which we wrote about yesterday here.

We called three stores yesterday, one in each of these three markets, asking if the stores would be giving away any freebies on election day. We were told no. However, when we told one of the store employees about the free Starbucks coffee and Krispy Kreme donut, she said there is a Starbucks and a Krispy Kreme outlet close to her house -- and that she just might stop by both and get here freebies after she votes today.

Of course it's not to late for Fresh & Easy to offer a freebie or two at its stores in these three Western U.S. states. As we write this the polls will be open at least another five hours in California, Nevada and Arizona, the latter of which just happens to be the home state of Republican Presidential candidate John McCain.

Perhaps if they read this, the Fresh & Easy marketing department can come up with a fast freebie, alert the stores, and show American voters that a British-based food and grocery chain can offer election day freebies with the best of them.

[Reader Note: If you know of any additional businesses, either national, regional or local, offering election day freebies to voters, feel free to add them to the story using the comments link below.]

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