The 2000 Free Stuff Awards

by Matthew M. Lug,, Graduate Student, Electrical Engineering

These awards originally appeared in Tech News, Volume 65 Number 5. The complete article can be found at the Tech News on-line archives at or Matthew M. Lug's personal archives at

Best Pen
Winner: Sanders, for their black, gold-trimmed metal pens.
Runner Up: Rational, for their puzzle pens.

Best Pencil
Winner: IBM, for their clear and blue rear-click pencils.
Runner Up: IBM, for their white and black side-click pencils. No matter how you get your clicks, IBM has you covered.

Best Highlighter
Winner: Alphatech, for their two-color triangular erasable highlighters, combining the design of the runners up in 1997 and 1998 with the erasability of last year's winner and this year's runner up.
Runner Up: Texas Instruments, for their yellow erasable highlighters, which won in this category last year.

Best Key Chain
Winner: Watson Wyatt Worldwide, for their carabiner/LED light combos.
Runners Up: BASF, for their thermometer key chains and Stanley, for their tape measure key chains.

Best Note Pad
Winner: C&M, for their note sheet cube.
Runner Up: Stratus, for their large white sticky note pads.

Best Magnet
Winners: and Mercury Computer Systems, for their computer word magnets.
Runners Up: GE, Foxboro, and CDM, for their mood selector magnets, which Raytheon has had in previous years.

Best Stress Ball
Winner: Event Zero, for their small, heavy, gel-type stress balls.
Runner Up: Primix, for their slightly different gel stress balls.

Best Flying Object
Winners: Rational, Cisco, and General Dynamics, for their lightweight discs. Rational had these at the last summer job fair, and Cisco had theirs in five colors.
Runner Up: Factset, for their foam planes.

Best Toy
Winner: Breakaway, Cadence, Gemstar, Teradyne, and Viant for their bouncing balls that light up when bounced.
Runner Up: SilverStream, for its silly putty.

Best Electrical Device
Winner: Raytheon, for their electric fans.
Runner Up: StorageNetworks, for their large flashlights with removable magnetic clips.

Best Beverage Container
Winner: Agilent, for their large plastic mugs.
Runner Up: Schlumberger, for their sports bottles.

Best Candy
Winner: Stratus, for their home made chocolate bars.
Runner Up: Phoenix Technologies, for their Nestle Crunch bars, Hershey's chocolate bars, and Reese's peanut butter cups.

Most Useful
Winner: EMC, for their CD cases.
Runner Up: The Hartford, for their collapsible coolers.

Most Useless
Winner: Natural Microsystems, for their plastic stick figure things.
Runner Up: GE, for their folding cubes that feature the cast of Friends for no apparent reason.

Strangest Looking
Winner: Verizon, for their black and white padded clip things that look like bugs.
Runner Up: APC, for their alligator clips anchored in clear blocks.

Most Annoying
Winner: Texas Instruments, for their plastic clapper noisemakers.

Most Original
Winner: Raytheon, for their electric fans.
Runner Up: NAV AIR, for their beach balls.

Honorable Mentions Allegro, for their coasters. Impress your parents with coasters under every can of beer, er, I mean soda, yeah, soda...
TASC, for their golf ball with five colored tees.
Mitre, for their 6" rulers with built-in puzzles.
SeaChange, for their playing cards.

Person it was strangest to see as a company representative
Winner: M/A-COM: Greg Snoddy. No longer on the WPI staff, he knew enough to make sure I wasn't ignored at the M/A-COM table.
Runner Up: Texas Instruments: Wes Blackstone. After so many years as a WPI student, he finally left and got a job, although he didn't get a shirt to match the other TI representatives.

Tech News Editors' Choice Award
Winner: Clairol, for their bottles of Herbal Essences shampoo.

Most Colorful Assortment
Winner: Schlumberger - black sports bottles, blue bandannas, six-color yo-yos, and six-color puzzle balls made for a colorful table.
Runner Up: General Dynamics - different colored pens, three-color highlighters, blue and purple bendy things, and blue discs.

Best Overall Assortment
Winner: Stratus - pens, chocolate bars, prepaid calling cards, note pads, sunglasses, eyeglass cords, plastic bags - they had a nice variety.

Least Visible
Winner: Microsoft. I don't try to give Microsoft the booby prize every year, they earn it. I didn't actually see Microsoft's booth, but those who did reported that it was easy to miss.

Created and maintained by Matthew M. Lug (Contact Matthew M. Lug)