The Gap wants me to be admi(red).

Exams having been been written. I was in a/the Gap store, yesterday. Upon the purchase of two shirts (thermal something or other – although I doubt they’re actually thermal), total price USD32, the teller hands me (or, perhaps, my wife and I) two of these:

gap pins

Pins, related to their Gap (red) campaign.

Now: these pins are nominally on sale: USD1 each, money going to charity. Why did the teller give me two, for free? My assumption is that they would like me to wear them (no chance. I buy everything from ANZAC day pins to red noses to poppies, but I generally refuse to wear them) to push, virally, interest in (a) the Gap(red) campaign, and/or (b) the Gap, itself (since, if I’m wearing this pin on top of some other fashionable clothes, I may well give the impression that said clothes, or my entire ‘outfit’, are from the Gap. Also not likely to be the case).

I don’t flatter myself that I appeared, somehow, to be above the average in trendiness: I am a child of nineties and, most, days, you’d just point to me in the street and say, “I’ll bet he’s listening to Pearl Jam right now” (and you could well be right). No, I’m assuming this store – possibly every store – has been doing this as a practice.

My internal question, then, is this: is the Gap paying in that $1 to the charity? If they’re not, are they, instead, investing in me generating more than that $1, by getting more people interested in the pin, and prompting more people to buy it? What if I just prompt people to go to the Gap, where they buy a shirt and also get a pin for free?

I don’t know how much money this campaign is making. I see a fair few shirts, properly and cleverly logo-d, but I don’t recall seeing the jumpers, sneakers, etc. on anyone I’ve seen in the street.

My moral dilemma is slightly different. I was, at the point of purchase, mostly just interested in getting the hell out of the store. I didn’t stop to work all of this out with the poor bastard working for his hourly wage on a Saturday morning. I’m never going to wear these pins, so perhaps I should return them? Go to a random store and just give them 2 dollars for their campaign? Give 2 dollars to a random homeless person (something I do often enough, anyway)? By now I believe they’re gone, anyway – in fact I think they went out in the same bag with the old pieces from the filter on the turtle tank.

If I had more time and energy, I’d figure out whom to attempt to contact, to get my first question answered. I’m curious as to whether this is a part of some marketing campaign, or whether this store – and/or others – just wanted to get rid of a jar of pins that aren’t selling.

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