A while back, my husband wrote a blog about the swag that I have received. In my last job, besides being the system admin/network admin/database/admin I was also the main purchaser of ... themed items...so I am on the list with several companies as an active buyer.
Most of the time, I get samples from the 4 or 5 companies I used the most. Most of it is stuff I would never have chosen to buy, because it didn't suit the mission of our non-profit program. Lately, however, I have been receiving swag from companies I have never even heard of. They know of me, because it is always addressed to me (and my former organization). I guess one of those companies I used sold the list of their customers.
At first, I was a bit ticked, after all, I hadn't given approval for them to sell my name, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that whichever company did it (sold my name) has a horse's bottom for a head. I mean, if *my* business were to sell a bunch of personalizable stuff, and I found a customer that would buy some of it a couple times a year (the same number of times each year, for a few years in a row), I certianly wouldn't give their name to my competitor. That just sounds like poor business sense.
Regardless, it means I have another pen, flashlight, infrared pointer, carabiner, etc for me to use as I please. I suppose there are benefits to being the geek who researches and buys stuff. So, at the next staff meeting, when the boss suggests that the company needs to give away ... frisbees with the company logo on it, and is looking for someone to "spearhead" the project, go ahead and volunteer. It not only gives you the freedom to spend hours just browsing the Internet, but you may get some cool swag out of it too.