Cue Card # 172: Describe something that you received for free

IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card # 172

Describe something that you received for free.

You should say:

  • what it was
  • who you received it from
  • when and where you received it

and explain how you felt about it.

[You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you are going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]


Model Answer 1:

I must say that it is an interesting topic. And I’d like to thank you for the opportunity here to let me talk about something that I received for free.

Well, it reminds me of a time when I was visiting a supermarket, and when I was inside a big leather-made goods store, the manager of the store offered me a free wallet for my purchase of a bag for my mother. It was perhaps seven or eight months ago when I got this nice wallet for free.

I bought the bag for my mother and I thought I was getting a fair deal. So, when the manager told me that I would be getting a nice looking leather-made wallet for free with it when I was checking out, I was quite surprised. I asked the store manager whether they were giving the wallet for free with every purchase of a ladies bag, she smiled at me and told me that those wallets are their new product line and they would give away just 10 such wallets for free. So, no doubt it was my lucky day!

I am always happy to receive something for free – even if it is a very small gift or a free item with another purchase. So, when I learned that I would get an expensive, beautiful wallet for free that I would be able to use for at least a year, I felt ecstatic. I also felt fortunate and special to have been randomly selected for receiving a new product that the store was planning to launch soon. They must have thought of me as an important customer to give away a free product and that also made me feel excited!


Sample Answer 2:

Most of us love to receive things for free, and if this free thing comes as a surprise gift or offer, we become ecstatic. This is exactly what this topic reminds me of when I was visiting Malaysia a couple of years ago.

After I stayed in the dazzling city of Kuala Lumpur for a week as a tourist, I travelled to Langkawi and checked into a hotel. I took a deluxe room and paid for two nights’ rent in advance. That’s when the receptionist informed me that I had been given a room upgrade for free! It was great because a room upgrade confirmed that I was getting a bigger room with a far better view. But little did I know that more free stuff was waiting for me! I later learned that I’d been given a buffet breakfast each morning as a free and complimentary gift. It was simply amazing.

I think I can thank the receptionist lady for this generous and free offer. But it would be unfair unless I also thank the hotel management who actually decided on such “free offers” called room upgrades or free breakfast.

As for when and where I received it, I’d like to say that it happened exactly two years and four months ago in Langkawi in Malaysia, and the hotel where I received it was called “Sea View Grand Hotel.

I was so grateful for the room upgrade and free buffet breakfast. It was such an incredible thing to happen to me that I felt quite exhilarated. I thanked the lady and felt special and lucky the whole time I stayed in this hotel.


Sample Answer 3:

Thank you for choosing this interesting topic for me. I would be more than happy to talk about an occasion when I received something for free, and that too when I was least expecting it.

It was about a couple of years ago when I had just celebrated my 23rd birthday. This particular birthday was a bit different from my other birthdays because it fell at a time of the year when I was a bit too busy preparing for my honours 3rd-year exam. Naturally, I didn’t want this birthday thing to take my focus away from the more important exam preparation. But, still, my family decided to invite only some of our close relatives to my 23rd birthday party (well… it wasn’t exactly a “party”; rather it was a gathering of some sort) to enjoy some light moments.

By the way, we had asked all my relatives, who were invited to my birthday party, not to bring any gifts for me because I truly wanted to get over with this birthday thing as soon as I could, apparently because I wanted to focus on my upcoming university test. Thankfully, all of my relatives had decided to respect my wish, and I was soon done and dusted with my 23rd birthday celebration and forgot all about it. Then suddenly, after a month after my 23rd birthday, my oldest aunt arrived at my home with a set of three science fiction books, written by Isaac Asimov, in her hands. Initially, I thought that she had bought them for herself, but then she told me that she rather wanted me to have those books for free, apparently because she couldn’t give me any gift on my last birthday!

Needless to say, I felt very happy about the fact that I got something very “valuable and special” which I always wanted to own, and that too “for free” and unexpectedly! I also wanted to show my deep gratitude towards my aunt who actually cared to remember that I really liked to read books on science fiction.


PART 3 – Questions and Answers

Q. Why do you think most people love to receive free gifts?
Answer:  I think most people love to receive free gifts because they come without any effort on our part, and, of course, they don’t cost anything. However, the more plausible explanation here probably would be that receiving free gifts makes us feel “special” as if we carry some “special value” on us that makes us “worthy” of that free gifts. It could also be that we become ecstatic and happy when we receive something unexpected and most free gifts fall in this category.

Q. Do you think people would value things more when they buy them? [Why/ Why not?]
Answer:  No, I don’t necessarily like to believe that people would tend to value things more when they actually pay for them unless, of course, we are only talking about “material things”. Rather, in my humble opinion, we, more often than not, tend to value things based on how good they really serve our purpose and from whom we have got them. Besides, there are things in this world that money just can’t buy. For example, we can’t buy “loyalty” with money, and yet, we probably value loyalty more than anything else in this world.

Q. On what occasions do people tend to give gifts to others?
Answer:  Well, I think that it all depends on the culture and customs of a group of certain people. Then, even within the same culture, people tend to differ on what actually should be considered as an “occasion”. Having all that said, however, people generally tend to offer gifts on birthdays, wedding ceremonies, wedding anniversaries, farewell parties and graduation days. In many cultures, people tend to offer gifts during different holiday seasons, such as Christmas, Hanukkah (a festival for Jews people) and Diwali (a festival for Hindu people).

Q. Do people buy things without looking at the price? [Why / why not?]
Answer:  Well, the idea of buying things without looking or knowing the price is, in my opinion, very much like driving on a busy road by completely closing your eyes. In other words, I don’t think that most people buy things without looking at their price tags unless, of course, they are already aware of the price with the help of some “magic balls”, primarily because they want to make sure that they are not being “overcharged”. Besides, by looking at the price, they also want to make sure that the quality of the products is consistent with their price tags. However, there are a few super-rich who might not look at the price tags while buying something as the price is not an issue for them.

Q. Some people love to get free gifts with their purchase of items from stores. Why is this so?
Answer:  People like to receive free gifts when they buy something from any store, obviously because they don’t have to pay anything extra or use any extra efforts to obtain them. And I believe, we tend to become happy when we get something for free. Besides, since they, the customers, build up some kind of steady business relationship with the businesses or stores, by doing business with them on a regular basis, they feel that they deserve some kind of “favours” in return from the stores. And if those “favours” come in terms of some “free gifts”, then so be it!

Q. Why do companies give free gifts to people? Do you think that it is some kind of a trick?
Answer:  Well, different businesses come up with different ideas to attract their prospective customers and thus maximise their profit. And offering free gifts to people seems to be just one of those business practices or ideas to me. Therefore, I wouldn’t really call it a “trick”.

Now, as for why precisely companies give free gifts, they do so because it encourages people to buy more of their products and services. Besides, such a good gesture on the part of companies goes a long way to show that they really care about their customers.

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