Free Subscription Offer From Stonyfield Farm Will Cost You Money

Someone needs to explain to Stonyfield Farm that free usually means that you don’t have to pay any money for the item in question. Especially in a case like this, where you’re already having to send in multiple proofs of purchase to prove you’ve “earned” the “free” item. What you find when you peel back the foil lid is some fine print that explains you also have to pay $2 for this free offer. SLR, who sent in this tip, adds, “I wrote to them via their web site asking what part of free don’t they understand, but received no reply.”


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  1. ryan_h says:

    oh man, thats funny.

    even funnier is the one time I had one of their products – chocolate O’Soy. It tasted like this art store my dad used to take me to back in 1985 smelled. I have never tasted anything of that sort in my LIFE.

    their vanilla yogurt is good however.

    • alexburrito says:

      @ryan_h: I’ve never seen anyone else using the analogy structure that I often use, “It tastes like _____ smells.” I’m usually called crazy when I say that.

      Ex: I think beets taste like dirt smells.

      We must both have oddly wired sensory systems!

    • kaycee says:


      I’ve never had that one, but Brown Cow’s whole milk chocolate yogurt is delicious – to me, it tastes like chocolate cake batter. The lowfat chocolate isn’t so great – I took three bites and threw the rest away.

      I make my own vanilla yogurt which I think is better than the commercial kind, but I can’t pin down how to make the chocolate – mine isn’t good. So I keep buying Brown Cow’s. I wish they made quarts of it, but maybe it’s a good thing that they don’t.

  2. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    zimbabwean inflation?
    yeah, there’s a really big difference between free and $2, especially now that you can get a gallon of gas for less than that again.
    but i just have to say i love the addendum for CLEAN lids, where they would prefer that you not lick them clean.
    tell you what stoneyfield, i’ll send you the $2 if you are willing to handle my “licked clean” lids?

  3. Coles_Law says:

    See, if they’d knock it down to an $18.00 value, they’d be good.

    • Chris Walters says:

      @Coles_Law: Or rather, a $10 value. You can get a subscription to Prevention for $11.88 at Amazon, so I don’t know where they’re pulling this “$20 value” figure from.


      • floraposte says:

        @Chris Walters: Prevention turns up as a free subscription fairly often–I got it, unasked for, with something-or-other and had to jump through a number of hoops to get them to stop sending me that crap. It’s kind of the periodical equivalent of the prize you get for viewing a condo timeshare pitch.

    • cuchanu says:

      @Coles_Law: Even directly from prevention the subscription is only $12. However they charge $4 for s&h.

      BTW our baby loves their baby yogurt.

  4. krunk4ever says:

    Many “free” things still advertise a s/h fee. I would presume that’s what this $2 is.

  5. Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

    Last year they were giving away a free subscription to Organic Gardening magazine. It really was free, we got it and enjoyed it while it lasted.

  6. jmndos says:

    Like the saying goes, nothing in life is free.

  7. loueloui says:

    This tactic seems to be gaining ground. While in the mall some weeks ago my wife and I stopped in Motherhood maternity to buy her some clothes. As she was paying the clerk said,’Sign here for your free magazines.’

    When we read the card we found that signing it would have obligated us to a free trial of Parenting magazine, and would be charged to the debit card we just used if we did not cancel. I think this is incredibly sleazy, and I don’t agree with it one bit.

    • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

      @loueloui: FYE does this as well. Or did, at least. I haven’t been in a while, so I don’t know if it’s still common practice.

  8. nybiker says:

    $2 does not equal $0.00. Therefore not free. But then they wouldn’t be able to say FREE if they had to say “1-year Subscription for $2 (and clean lids)”.

  9. HooFoot says:

    That’s disappointing. Stonyfield’s customer service and promotions are generally good and not shady like this offer. I hope it’s an isolated incident.

    • loueloui says:

      @HooFoot: Speaking of their customer service a company I worked for bought their abandoned 800 number. Literally for YEARS people would call us up about their yogurt. Sometimes we would make tease them, but really, who keeps a yogurt container around for like 5 or 6 years?

      • mariospants says:

        @loueloui: You’d be surprised: yogurt containers are really handy for storing small items in. So yeah, if your yogurt tastes like and has the texture of drywall screws, calling the 1-800# isn’t likely to be the solution to what ails you.

    • edwardso says:

      @HooFoot: It’s not really that shady since the $2 fee is printed on the lid, not something they charge for after you have sent in your information

  10. HogwartsAlum says:

    I hate this. Everyone’s doing this now. “Free, with a small handling fee.” If I have to pay a handling fee, it’s not free. If you want to give me something, YOU pay the fee. Especially when you charge me $4.95 to mail me something that costs $1.25 for postage!!!

  11. JulesNoctambule says:

    We saw that on the lid of our latest yogurt purchase and my husband noted the obviously thin woman on the cover next to the cover story ‘Shrink one size’.
    ‘What are they trying to prevent?’ he asked me. ‘Women with decidedly female figures?’ He also makes fun of all those commercials that depict women as diet-obsessed freakjobs whose lives revolve around reduced calorie, nonfat yogurt products. Stupid magazine promotion aside, we both enjoy Stonyfield’s whole milk plain yogurt. Try it with honey dijon Kettle Chips!

  12. Anonymous says:

    The ole time moo went out of Stony’s cows when the company was sold to Grope Danone of Dannon Yogurt fame. Dannon was suddenly faced with the same issue all of us old-timers in the organic food industry had learned early on, before organic food meant (1) hip and cool (1980’s) (2) healthier and tastier than nonorganic foods (1990’s). Organic foods cost the producer anywhere from 45 upto 90% more to produce than non-organic, depending on the food and the growing country’s costs. Organic foods are neither healthier nor tastier than the same foods had they been planted nonorganically at the same gardens. A marginal argument has been made that they’re more ecological, but this is shot down in your first Agronomy course in Ag School if that’s what you’ve chosen to master in. So what’s left? Stony yogurt that tastes equal to or some say lower than Dannon, that costs nearly double what Dannon costs to make, that has no health benefits over nonorganic brands like Dannon, that offers at best the long shot of a miniscule assist to the ecology, etc. So, Groupe Danone is now faced with the same decision all old line nonorganic food packers have at some time been faced with during the past 25 years – do we invest in organic? They said *yes* and are now sorry that they ever did. Are you willing to pay double what you’re paying for Dannon? I rest my case.

    A lot of small company founders like Stony shrewdly sold their company to big kids with deep pockets at the perfect moment – right before the Global Economy went down the tubes like we haven’t experienced since the 1930’s. So, someone won!

  13. TheBursar says:

    Bait and switch?

  14. MrGutts says:

    mmmmmmmmmm Stonyfield Chocolate Underground.. (low fat kind) yummmmmy (drolls)….

  15. traeblain says:

    I noticed this just this morning when I opened a yogurt. Then read this post…good times.

  16. bastion72 says:

    I’m eating a Stonyfield Farm yogurt right now with the same “free” offer. $20 value? More like $22 value.

  17. Eric Rhoads says:

    I guess no one ate much cereal growing up. This sort of marketing practice has been par for the course in the food industry for decades.

    “Free Toy with (4) Specially Marked UPC’s of Kellog’s Brand Cereal”

    Ring a bell to anyone?

  18. AgnesKoliha says:

    I noticed this “Free” subscription offer on my yogurt lids and started saving them up, knowing that I would send in $2. I’m not outraged by the Free vs $2 disparity. I figure two bucks is a good deal for a year subscription to Prevention.