Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Food & Politics Memo: Election Day Freebies USA: Vote, Then Eat and Drink For Free

Election Day USA Special Report

Who says there's no such thing as a free lunch...or dessert...or cup of coffee?

A number of U.S. national food service chains are offering free food, drink and sweet treats today, election day 2008, to voters.

Starbucks, which has cafes throughout the U.S., many of which are very near polling places, is offering voters a free cup of coffee all day today and tonight. Specifically, a free cup of tall, brewed Starbucks coffee.

Starbucks originally announced that in order to get their free cup of Joe, voters would have to show their "I have voted" slips of paper with the smiley face that's given to them after they vote at their local polling places.

However, the coffee chain was told it's illegal to require proof of voting in return for the free coffee offer, so the King of Coffee changed that policy, offering free cups of coffee to everybody today regardless if they voted or not. [Note: If you haven't voted but still get your free cup of Starbucks coffee at a cafe, be advised it's possible the Coffee Gods might just bless your house (or reusable travel mug) with bad karma for the rest of this year. So, vote first -- then get your free cup of Joe at your local Starbucks cafe.]

The free cup of Joe offer from Starbucks is rather fitting for this election since we've had "Joe the Plumber" and lots of talk about "Joe Six-Pack" and the "Average Joe," primarily from the McCain campaign and the news media's reporting on it. Therefore it seems appropriate to end the 2008 election with a "Free Cup of Joe."

And while you're getting your free cup of Joe at Starbucks, do make sure you say hello to "Joe (or Jane) the Barrista" for us.

And what's a free cup of coffee without a free donut to go with it? Voters are in luck. The Krispy Kreme donut chain is giving free donuts to voters all day today.

Not satisfied with just a free donut and cup of coffee. Never fear. The Ben & Jerry's ice cream folks are offering free ice cream to voters at all of its U.S. Ben & Jerry's retail ice cream shops today. That should add a little extra sweetness to voter's election day on top of the free donut.

But it's not just free coffee and sweet treats being given away for free to voters today.

If your lucky enough to life in the southern U.S., and have a branch of the regional restaurant chain Shane's Rib Shack nearby, go there first, before hitting Starbucks, Krispy Kreme and Ben & Jerry's for your free coffee and deserts. Why? Because Shane's Rib Shack restaurants in the south are giving voters free chicken finger dinners all day today as an election day promotion.

The Chik-Fil-A fast food chain also is giving away free chicken finger dinners at stores in selected regions of the country.

There you have it -- a free lunch and more, if you have branches of these food service chains near where you live in America.

Click here for a Web site with a list of election day freebies, along with links to articles about the election day free eats and drinks today.

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