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How Companies Profit From Your Free National Coffee Day Joe

Monday is "National Coffee Day," which means some business are giving out free cups of joe. So how are they making any money?

By Mikah Sargent | September 29, 2014

It's Monday, which means it's time to get back to your daily grind. And while that's usually no cause for celebration, here's something that's sure to perk you up.

It's National Coffee Day, and businesses around the nation are handing out free coffee!

Dunkin' Donuts is offering up its new dark roast coffee — you can get a free medium-sized cup to celebrate the holiday. 

Krispy Kreme will give you a free 12-ounce cup of coffee or a 12-ounce mocha, latte, or iced coffee for $1. It even has signs and eCards to advertise the one-day promotion. 

And National Coffee Day marks the last day of McDonald's two-week promotion for a free small coffee during breakfast hours. 

That's a latte free coffee! And it got us wondering — why would companies want to give away the caffeinated beverage for free?

CNN says it's all about the marketing. "Of course it's a stunt, a marketing celebration of the juice on which America runs."

And a writer for The Street says free samples are a great way to overcome a difficult challenge in product marketing: "Getting a customer to even try a product is the biggest part of the battle ... With the free sample, a company gets the customer to try a product without putting up a price barrier."

TIME suggests free things are a great way to make sales on the spot or turn an opportunist into a loyal customer. The article quotes a psychologist who says, "why does this work? You’ve been given something, seemingly for nothing, and now you feel obligated to reciprocate by buying the item."

So you enjoy that hot cup of joe. And then drown in the caffeinated guilt when you drive away without buying anything; it's what the marketers want, anyway.