Seed Giveaway Reality

03 Mar

During the months of January and February, while snow and ice blanketed many gardens, spring fever crept into my bones. I approached Botanical Interests and asked them to donate seeds which I would in turn (at my expense) mail as part of a Free Seed Giveaway.

I did this for three reasons:

I believe in Botanical Interests, their mission, their product, their family business, and supporting fine folk.

I wanted to share free seeds with you, my readers, hoping to drive away a bit of the wintertime blues.

I also wanted to share my passion about growing food, while partnering the giveaway with telling people about my latest release: Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches. 

Each Friday, I drew a name and contacted the winner. The giveaway came with one catch: that the winner post a picture, or send me an email with a photo so Botanical Interests knows that I am, in fact, giving the seeds away and not hoarding them up in my own house like a mother hen with a clutch of eggs.

This is the second year I’ve given away seeds, so I wasn’t exactly naive when I began the seed giveaway which requires a tremendous investment of time.

In writing blog posts.

In taking, then editing, uploading, inserting photos.

Then sending all of this to social media, twitter, etc.

Or perhaps I was, naive.

As expected, many people commented. They wanted the seeds. I was so happy. I know how I feel when catalogs come in the mail, and then later seeds. My heart leaps! This year I decided to shake up the contest. Some days the giveaway was via Facebook only. Other days, a random name was drawn from those who commented on this blog. While the giveaway was originally slated for Friday, I began awarding more seeds as clouds dipped and the weather turned even gloomier.

We were all depressed with the weather.

The Seed Giveaway became a twice, sometimes thrice, weekly event. All with the same condition . . . that the winner post an image of the seeds, or at minimum acknowledge their winnings by email. (which the blog instructed, and I reminded them to do with a note inserted into the envelope prior to mailing). All winners were contacted via email so they had my email and I had theirs. . . meaning they could communicate with me.

By now you know where I am going. One person. Yes, one person posted a photo of their winning. Another person sent a thank you.

The rest: crickets. Even the school that begged for seeds because they wanted to start a community garden. Nothing.

Two winners actually sent me a LIST of what they wanted to receive. And while I did my best to accommodate their request, neither had the courtesy to send a thank you.

I actually took the time to email them confirming that they did in fact receive their winnings and reminded them to email me images.


An it isn’t because those particular winners weren’t savvy. If you’re posting pics to Facebook, you can email one, or post one to my page.

I hope they sent Botanical Interests a thank you but I sincerely doubt it. So let me say this in all sincerity. Shame. Shame on you. You received ten to fifteen dollars worth of product and didn’t have the common decency to acknowledge the gift!

What is wrong with people?

I would like to understand why someone’s day is so full, so busy, that they can’t say Thank You. Remember now, these are the same people who have plenty of time to leave a comment, yet they are too busy to post a picture. This is what I need to know, moving forward before I determine whether to offer free seeds again next year (which would be my third year of giving away seeds).

Was it too much to ask that winners actually acknowledge their winnings? Personally, I don’t think so. Because here is the reality of giveaways. If the winner does not acknowledge receipt, if the winner doesn’t say thank you, then the contests will disappear faster than a spring snow. Companies will not continue to give away items without results. Companies partner with bloggers like me to benefit everyone. You. Me. Them. We all win, unless you refuse to acknowledge your winnings; and when that happens, we all loose.

Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches; Mountain Memories: True Stories and Half-Truths from Appalachia. A Hardscrabble Christmas. Her first book, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes earned her a SIBA and GAYA nomination. Order signed copies or, email her through her website at She welcomes new friends on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter Here. Amazon readers: Please remember that I receive no compensation from used books purchased on Amazon. Please follow the links highlighted and underlined on this page to order, or contact a local Bookseller for copies.


7 responses to “Seed Giveaway Reality

  1. thesalemgarden

    March 3, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    I share your pain. I think giveaways are fun.. I like to offer them and I like to participate too but their a lot of work. As you said by the time you work out the agreement with a company, write a post or posts, then follow through on the rest of it, it’s very time consuming. When the recipient doesn’t at least acknowledge receiving their prize with a quick thanks, it’s disheartening. I did a garden planning calendar giveaway recently and was shocked at the lack of participation. While my blog is relatively small, I do have a good number of commenters and followers but just a few people commented out of the many views. I thought it was a great prize? Wish I had found you sooner so I could have won some seeds and thanked you!!

  2. latebloomershow

    March 3, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    People are so “selfie-crazy” today I’m surprised you weren’t flooded with photos. I’m not sure what the answer is. Except that, next time, you send free seeds every time someone orders a book. 🙂


  3. ML

    March 3, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Ugh, not much to ask, for a picture! Agree with you, especially in this day and age when people take selfies etc. You do much to brighten and cheer. Hugs, Marianne


  4. Rebekah

    March 3, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    That’s really to bad…

  5. Susan Coster

    March 3, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    This has become, sadly, a society of thankless souls. You would be surprised how many of my friends never think to send a thank-you note, an e-mail or a text when they receive a gift from me–then they wonder why when I stop the giving. Having said that, thank you for the awesome seed giveaway.

    • Renea

      March 3, 2015 at 5:40 pm

      Yes, we have become a society of gimme, gimme, but “thank you” what is that?

  6. cathy

    March 3, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    really sorry for your experience. im new to the blogging, well every thing computerand I know there are certainunspoken rules and this is one you always reply to gifts. we would do so in every day life or at least some do. no matter the cost of the gift and that’s what this is it always deserves a thank you. I want to thank youfor all you do, you don’t have to do it yet you do. thanks for the info, gifts , friendship, and your time


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