I think everybody likes a gimme. The image of an overall clad farmer sucking a wheat stem with his DeKalb gimme cap on his head is iconic. What a promotional ploy -- give a person something of slight value but everyday usefulness with a logo emblazoned on it and you've got a walking billboard.
That's why I figure some of us go to trade shows. To get the gimme stuff. Something for nothing makes folks' toes curl in delight.
At the trade shows I've gone to, and I suspect most trade shows, the big gimme item is pens. Self-stick note pads are good too. I got a very nice microfiber lens cloth in a little pouch with a clip from Pictureline -- that was totally cool, it stays clipped to the point and shoot camera's case. Another time I got a little Mag flashlight with (I think) Hewlett Packard on the side. A bandana with chili peppers and Schlumberger -- nice, but I don't get the connection between peppers and oil field services. An insulated Nikon coffee cup which the Engineer appropriated. Lots of bags of assorted merit -- everything from cheesy plastic and paper to non-woven fiber to very nice nylon. Some of the nylon ones have become grocery and book bags for me.
But the very best trade show gimme of all time, the one I use the most, is my Compaq laundry bag. I never travel without it.
Sachi likes it too.
Thank you Compaq.