Wednesday, December 14, 2011


One of the perks of living in a predominately Islamic country is that there is often plenty of alcohol to go around. Although the price of alcohol may be high, there are far less people who like to indulge than in your average western country. Nowhere is this more evident than when bars or pubs have anniversary nights. These usually consist of copious amounts of free beer for the masses. Yes, you heard me right, free beer.

To me, the concept of free beer is completely foreign. If they gave away free beer where I'm from, it would be absolute chaos. I cannot even predict how many people would show up, but the numbers would no doubt be staggering.

The other thing about this is that it is not 2 free beers or a free pitcher. It is as much beer as you can drink for an average span of 2 to 4 hours. Trust me from experience, you can drink a lot of beer in that time, even more than you think since there is this constant underlying fear of the beer running out.

At the most recent free beer soiree, there was an insurance company doing a lucky draw at the door. Really, this was just a marketing tool designed to get phone numbers so that they could try to get you to buy their products. I entered anyways. After going inside and running into many familiar faces who I often only see at free beer events, I thought twice about whether I should have given this insurance salesman my phone number.

Sure enough, the calls started a week or so later, then text messages. As I was busy, I ignored them for the most part. Then, one text message indicated that I should get in touch with them as they had some "good news" for me. I was still convinced that this was some kind of pitch and that the "good news" was going to be how much money I could save if I purchase their life insurance package. Finally, tired of the pestering, I picked up when they called me.

To my pleasant surprise, they informed me that the "good news" was that I was indeed the winner of a free iPad and that I could pick it up any time I wanted to. I excitedly agreed to stop by their office for a photo op a couple of days later. The agent also slyly persuaded me into looking into health insurance since I was coming in. I found it hard to say no since they were giving me a no strings attached piece of expensive electronics.

After hearing his health insurance song and dance, I told him I would think about it, as it did seem like a good package. I then got my new iPad and have not stopped playing with it since. To add icing to the cake, my office is considering changing our health insurance policy to the one presented to me, which means I won't have to pay for it.

So as it turns out, it pays to drink free beer. Keep that in mind the next time you say there is no such thing as a free lunch.