"Free" Stuff

GUEST BLOGGER: Keith Flanagan—keith.flanagan@temple.edu

My shared cubicle at Comcast-Spectacor is conveniently located next to the 76ers sales department. I say convenient only because the endless ringing of telephones and sales pitches combined with a steady stream of coffee tends to keep the average college intern with their eyes wide open. Although my specific responsibilities have little to do with sales, I get an interesting perspective; listening to sales go up and down, being directly next to the company’s financial heartbeat.

I’m always surprised by how much free stuff is created for the purpose of sales. T-Shirts, Pencils, Pens, and Notepads are all staples to any company’s collection of semi-branded freebies. Then there are more upscale collections of free (or maybe free sounds too cheap, perhaps “complimentary” is more appropriate) items, such as branded basketballs, calendars, jackets, and even lunchboxes. This is news to no one, since we’ve all been getting those $0 (plus shipping) items in the mail ever since we could read the back of our Rice Krispies box. I always wondered if those yard sale destined items really worked on consumers or not. It would seem, in the case of sports fanatics, they really do.

Forgive me, for this long-winded story was just my way of getting around to the point of this post. I’m sure this issue has crossed nearly every intern’s mind as they make their way via Septa, car, Vespa, or leisurely stroll to their corresponding internship: “I wish this internship were paid.” I took a class once where a professor commented on the importance of employers providing some form of compensation to their interns, suggesting that this added benefit would give the intern a sense of motivation. The typical response to this comment was “duh.” The humor in a for-credit-non-paid intern is that the student is literally paying to work. To any potential internship providers out there thinking about creating an internship program for your company, I highly recommend (if possible) that you offer something, even the smallest of stipends to help pay for traveling costs. This not only helps interns value the experience, but also helps them feel valued by the company. It’s a simple exchange of respect that goes far beyond the dollar amount being offered to tell interns they are more valuable than “free” stuff.

Paid or unpaid, my internship experience has been going well, and I’m finding the sports entertainment industry to be an entirely foreign yet interesting environment for me.


  1. This is interesting! I almost accidently signed the pledge before I realized I had to be a company and not just a poor college student with the tendency to complain about finances. I’m liking where this pledge is headed, thanks for sharing!

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