Richy, Rosie and I were talking earlier today about lucky chairs, freebies and the like (I know, I know... please try to contain your surprise) and, as we were discussing some of our favourite designers who put so much time and effort into their creations, our conversation drifted toward the quality of some of the incredible freebies that are generously given away.
I'd casually mentioned that I am much more likely to actually return to a vendor and buy an item if I have received one high quality item for free than if I've received 30 inventory-clogging (lag, lag, lag!) pieces of junk like poorly fitting (no mod) stilettos that make that classy clicking-on-concrete sound or a cropped t-shirt that somehow doesn't quite cover the lower half of my breasts. I won a shirt like that once. I showed it to Rose who immediately said, "Eithne. Take that off and never, ever wear it again. In fact, delete it. Burn it. I don't care what you do with it. Just. Get. Rid of it!" But I digress. The three of us agreed as we were talking that, while it's wonderful to share great freebies and finds with each other, it's those fabulous vendors who understand the value of giving out one or two top notch items who inspire us to part with our lindens and make a purchase.
Excellent case in point: the skin I'm wearing in the above photo from Belleza. It's the only freebie they offer (one for women, one for men) but, if you're looking for a natural skin, the quality is outstanding. You don't have to wait for hours in a lucky chair, you don't have to join a group... and you don't have to worry about running into a necko version of yourself somewhere along the grid because everybody and her sister aren't flocking to Belleza for this one skin, even though they should be! Have I gone back and purchased additional skins? You bet I have - and they're worth every linden.
Most of these folks who design our clothing, our skins - everything in our virtual worlds - are regular, everyday people who are trying to make a living at what they love to do. Personally, I think one of the best ways we can show our gratitude for their generosity is to return as paying customers. More than 30 million lindens are spent in SL every single month - if you can't swing enough lindens to purchase a shirt, a gown or a skin yourself, talk these vendors up to people who can!