I love free stuff, don't you? Perhaps it's my cheapskateyness, but my day can be made if I get a free sample in the mail (my whole WEEK can be made when one of you wonderful people sends me ephemera - but you probably knew that, judging by the posts). The way I look at it is, if I can save some money on quotidian items like shampoo and toothpaste (or these amazing deals like free food coupons on Facebook!), then that means more money for art supplies. :D
But even better than the free stuff are the premiums that stores give out in exchange for the free stuff! Of course, herein lay the quandary - do I keep the premium, which is ephemerally awesome, or do I give it up and get the free item?
Thankfully, I don't have to worry about that with these amazing premiums (or would the plural be "premia"? Tee hee!). Even better? We get to visit Canada today! :D
This first premium is truly a gem to me, one that'll never get used (I don't think - but I do love the Scotsman!). I received it in an ephemera pack from wackystuff (or Jeff, former owner of a store called Ephemera) in a swap on Flickr. For those of you who may not be familiar with Canadian Tire, it's a fantastic chain of stores akin to our Lowe's or Home Depot (or for you Midwesterners, Menard's). Most of the stores I've seen have been in the newer parts of Toronto, outside the city proper (if you're familiar with Toronto, the biggest one I've ever visted was out by Ikea). I was impressed by how "Canadian" it was! So many times when I'm in Canada I'm disappointed by how many U.S. things I see. Canada definitely has its own culture and in my opinion, should opt for the "Canadian" version whenever possible (i.e., Timothy's instead of Starbucks, Canadian Tire instead of Lowe's, Zellers instead of Target, etc.).
Sorry - got on a tangent there! Back to the premium - I wish you could feel it. It is actually embossed! All this for a 10 cent coupon?! It's also printed in Canada, which makes me think that it's got some age to it (maybe early 80s?). Oh my goodness - I just discovered that these premiums have their own Wikipedia page! By all accounts, this appears to be the most lucrative loyalty program in North America!
These next premiums are decidedly more vintage that the Canadian Tire bill - this "phoney mazuma" from Arcade Magic & Novelty Store in Toronto (24 Yonge Street, to be exact!). I just Googled this location and it appears that condominiums are being built (or perhaps are finished now) on this site. Judging by the rather poor printing quality I'm going to say that these are from the Fifties, maybe? It's hard to tell. I got these from our pals at Old Stuff Only a while back and I don't think they're still available. I got a bunch of different denominations - 25, "only Fifty", 100 and 200. Aren't these wonderful? I may use these in a mixed media piece - I don't know when, of course; I create my collages the same way I write, which is completely off the cuff. I'm just happy that I own these.
P.S. I learned something new today - the slang "mazuma" is taken from the Yiddish word "mazumen", which means "cash". It's also closely linked to another slang word, "messume", which means "counterfeit money". Unless you already knew the Yiddish word, you learned something too! :D