Guinness finally comes through. Sort of.

Immediately after leaving graduate school, I got a job at little drug store on the Island. For some unknown reason (actually, I do know the reason: because I could read, write, and count, which is considered an exceptional skill set in that particular chain of stores) the store manager put me in charge of the beer/soda/chip aisle. Running the snack section of drug store doesn't really consume a lot of brain power, so I kept myself from dying of boredom by learning a little too much about beer and the beer industry. I stopped working at the drug store in 1998, but I still know a little too much about beer and the beer industry.

Here's one of the stupid things you learn when you know a little too much about the beer and the beer industry: Guinness gives away free stuff online. Just fill out their little product survey, give them your address, and they'll send you some interesting Guinness-related widget. Or, that's the theory, anyway.

A couple of years ago, it was the official Guiness bottle-opener. I filled out that survey, waited a few months, and received... a lame keychain and a notecard saying they had run out of bottle openers. Bummer.

Last fall, it was the Guinness bar towel (as in "the little rag bartenders use to wipe up spilled alcohol"). That offer got posted all over the Web; the Guinness webservers suffered under a load that slowed them to glacial speeds. I barely had the patience to order the towel. Then I waited for the towel to show up. And waited. And waited some more.

The towel showed up today. It took more than six months to get here. Like the keychain, it's not that impressive. Honestly, it's a cheap black-and-white hand towel with the words "Let the Good Times Overflow" on front.

This time the included notecard reminded me that Guinness still has special offers on its website, so I looked at the site again. This time they're giving away a refrigerator magnet that you can use to remind yourself to buy more beer. (This is vastly more useful to me than the bar towel; I don't drink a lot, but I at least have a refrigerator.) So I filled out the survey again, but it rejected me because my e-mail address had already been used for "another offer". Ooh. I guess Guinness is cutting off the flow of free goodies... that e-mail address anyway. I've got total control of five domain names, you know, so a shortage of e-mail addresss is hardly a problem. There's now a magnet ordered in the name of a Michael Bauser who works for some site that doesn't have "bauser" in the domain name. This Swiss-German/Scotch-Irish/Cherokee-American isn't going to be outsmarted by any British beer companies. I've got far too much ancestral resentment stored up to let them get away without giving me my alcoholic-enabling reparations. (Besides, the beer industry owes me for all the time I spent in a walk-in refrigerator for them.) Give me trinkets or give me death!

Posted at 11:42:11 PM EDT on 16 June 2004 from Trenton, MI