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Nick.giles1 14-07-2013 02:01 AM

Advertisement balloons
There's an RV sale going on near the mall. I can see their giant balloons floating miles away. As I drive closer I catch myself thinking of how I would drive down there at night and steal them. Has anyone stolen balloons before? I admit when I was in high school I stole a bunch of 18" from a car dealership.

benjballoon 10-09-2013 12:02 PM

Re: Advertisement balloons
Hey, i regularly go out (every fortnight) and 'save' balloons from car dealerships and other places. Saturday seems to be the best day for it over here in Australia. But since I work nearly every Saturday, i venture out at night. But on the odd occasion when i do get out during the day, it tends to be a little more successful. They normally take them down and destroy them at the end of the day, so i try to aim to get there 20 minutes before they close and pack up. I just wander around, checking out the cars and when someone approaches me, I chat then end up asking if I can take some home. They are more than happy to give them away. I never hit the same place frequently. (Hoping they forget my face, so i dont become That Balloon Guy)

Ive always wondered if anyone else does this. Or am I the only one?

ballonman22 10-09-2013 09:06 PM

Re: Advertisement balloons
im from uk in kent and i am after advertising balloons are they free ?

PBK 22-03-2019 05:06 AM

Re: Advertisement balloons
Yeah, I admit, I used to steal balloons many years ago. I used to steal them off of real estate agent signs, apartment rental ads and garage sale signs.
Theft is theft and it ain't cool. If it ain't yours and you haven't been given permission to take it, leave it alone. You might be messing up someone's chances of making a sale or directing people to a party or promotion. It's been well over 20 years since I stole a balloon and I don't plan on stealing any ever again.
You know what works just as good as stealing balloons? This is gonna blow your mind....
Simply asking for them.
That's right. Asking for them. 90% of the time I've been successful when simply going up to the business owner or manager and just asking. Sometimes I get a polite request to wait until the end of the day or weekend or whenever the promotion or party is over. If that's the case, usually they keep them aside somewhere instead of popping them and you can fill your vehicle. My wife has been very successful in bringing balloons used for parties/promotions back from her work.
There is the very small percentage of times I ask and get denied. Usually the owner has them promised to someone else. Or they don't give a reason at all. They aren't obligated to tell you why they might say no. When they do, accept it and walk away. Don't beg or be creepy about it.
The 2 strangest reasons I've been denied is "the balloons were blown up by mouth and one of the people doing the blowing has cold sores, so we don't want to be responsible for spreading that" and "we don't want to be liable if someone chokes on the balloon after it has deflated or burst." Ok. I just smile, thank them for their time and walk away.

Side note: I had a Little Tykes sprinkler ball that actually belonged to my kid stolen out of my fenced and gated back yard, and it really upset her. So please don't steal.

BalloonBoyUK 24-03-2019 12:27 PM

Re: Advertisement balloons

Originally Posted by PBK (Post 59579)
Yeah, I admit, I used to steal balloons many years ago. [SNIP] Theft is theft and it ain't cool. If it ain't yours and you haven't been given permission to take it, leave it alone. [SNIP] You know what works just as good as stealing balloons? This is gonna blow your mind.... Simply asking for them.

:) :) :)

PBK is correct! Stealing is immoral, illegal, and just dumb! It paints yourself in a bad light, and it can also paint Looners in a bad light too. :mad:

If it's not yours, DO NOT STEAL IT, no matter what! How would you feel, if someone stole one of your balloons, and it was a Qualatex 24" that was really personally significant to you? You wouldn't like it! So, don't do it to others. There's no excuse for stealing balloons! Ever!

With that said, the best way to get balloons, as PBK said, is to ask. Be respectful, polite and courteous, and most times, you will probably get a "Yes, that's fine". You may have to wait a day or two, or come and collect it/them at the end of a weekend or business day, but that's a small price to pay.

What I do, is offer to make a small financial donation to a charity - whichever charity the business collects for. That way you get the balloon, they get some money for charity, and everyone wins. Don't forget, whether it's one x 36" balloon, or dozens of 12" ones - the company's have had to pay money for them. So whilst they may give them out for free, they're not free in the literal sense. That's one of the reasons businesses don't want to just give you their balloons for nothing. It's financially not in their interests. And yes, it may only be pennies/cents, but that's not the point. If you offer to make a donation, not only does it make you look good, it also shows the company that you are:
1) Aware that the balloons aren't just cheap garbage (even if they are), and
2) You respect the company enough to not just want something for nothing.

So, bear this in mind. Why you want the balloons, is no one's business. However, you will get asked, and if your reason is valid or at least bordering on the sane and sensible, then you'll probably get a "Yes". Just don't get pissy about it, if they say "no". You aren't doing them any favours. In fact, it's the reverse.

So please be respectful, when you ask businesses. Cultivate relationships with the store/business. Speak to management. If they have balloons regularly, let them know that - if they are happy to do so - you are happy to make a donation, and come and collect their balloons - at any time, if they are willing to let you have them.

Make it as easy for them, as you can. Take contact names and numbers. Be polite. Stick to your promises. Don't be abusive, nor abuse the privilege either. If they say "Come by at 5:30pm", make sure you are there, BEFORE 5:30pm. If you can't make it, contact them, explain why, apologise, and see if they will keep the balloons for you, until you can collect them. If they do keep them, again, turn-up when you say you will to collect them, and if they can't keep them for you, say "I'm sorry I wasn't able to collect them this time. Would it be okay for you to take my name/number, and if you have any balloons in the future, maybe you'd kindly call me?".

They may, or they may not. Either way, be respectful. Remember, they don't need you. They can/will just pop the balloons, or give them to their staff, or give them to kids, if they want to get rid of them. So they don't need you at all. So make sure you are as flexible as possible, and you make them feel that by letting you have them, that it's worth their time/hassle to save the balloons for you.

I've cultivated several business relationships in the area I live, and thus, I regularly get free balloons. Great for me, great for the companies (who get some money for charity), and great for the staff, who don't have to worry about popping balloons, or having to get rid of lots right at the end of a business day.

It's a win-win, if you approach the situation correctly!

PBK 24-03-2019 07:48 PM

Re: Advertisement balloons
Yup! BalloonBoyUK said it much better than I could! Summarized it perfectly!
All of those points about ethically acquiring balloons from others are very well put and most I've tried myself. Including offering money and volunteering my time. One year when the parade was on in town during the civic day I drove the parade float for the school band and volunteered to clean up the trailer they were on. The band teacher was more than happy to give me the balloons. She said "take all you want! Saves us the work of popping them, picking up all the pieces and throwing them away". I filled the box of my truck and my SUV with over a hundred glorious, colorful, oxidized, well necked 12" rounds! Some deflated over the course of the day and some popped (it was hot and sunny that day) and some even popped while I was taking them off the float and loading them but I still got a major haul. There were even a few punchballs that they hung by the elastics to decorate the back of the float. SCORE!
One of the other times fairly recently that I got turned down was a St. Patrick's day themed birthday party my kid went to. The lady hosting the party had the place all decorated up with very over inflated 17" (yes, 17s!) green balloons. I don't think they were Tuftex, the shape and color didn't look right. When I picked her up after the party firstly I asked the lady where she got such big, pretty balloons. "I'm a receptionist at (name unimportant) Ford in Calgary. These were left over from a St. Patrick's Day sale and client party that they had last weekend". The sad part came when I asked her if we could have them or even a few. She kind of frowned and said "Sorry, I promised them to my boys. They really love popping balloons with the dog and I said when the party's done they can pop them all! It was hard enough keeping them from popping any until the party. Sorry". Oh well. it was kind of a sad moment but you move on and reflect on the successful hauls.

MetroBalloon 29-03-2019 02:56 PM

Re: Advertisement balloons
I have always loved getting balloons from places that give them out, and I'm getting better at asking for them. In restaurants or such places like McDonalds all I do is look for a male member of staff who isn't busy (and also when there is no one else around) I apporach them and ask them if I can have some balloons, sometimes asking if they can inflate new ones for me. They were always happy to do so.

Car dealerships are also good, and I have had many good times getting balloons from them. Every time I asked one of the male members of staff they always gave me as many balloons as I liked, and once when I got to speak to the manager he blew up some new ones for me. All friendly.

Seasider 29-03-2019 07:59 PM

Re: Advertisement balloons
Snap - we have the same hobby when it comes to asking for balloons!! There is a local ford garage that for a while always had balloons advertising the mobility scheme and I remember asking one of the ladies if I could take some from the cars wing mirrors. To my horror she said she’d ask her manager. She came back from the office with a bag with 20 of them in complete with plastic valves. She even inflated a couple as I said the kids had seen them and apologised for the wait!! Part of me wanted to leg it but I was committed and still have 4 of those balloons left in my collection!!

Loonorm 13-05-2019 01:57 PM

Re: Advertisement balloons
While in my younger days (25+ years ago), yes, I would ‘steal’ balloons from car dealerships, with my biggest ‘prize’ being close to 100 balloons, I learned quickly how difficult it was to drive the 30+ miles with a car filled with the balloons. Could not see, and the looks from other drivers on the road, were not fun. Then getting them into the house without loosing some...well that’s another story. After that, I did get the courage up to ask a very pretty real estate agent for all the balloons from her open house. That netted me 50+ balloons! Again, that was 25+ years ago!! It’s been a very long time since I’ve done any ‘stealing’ of balloons. Late in 2017, I did get the courage, again, to ask another real estate agent for her old balloons. Over the course of a few weekends, I was able to get around 30+ balloons from her.

BalloonBoyUK 13-05-2019 04:13 PM

Re: Advertisement balloons
Always ask, never steal. Imagine how you would feel, if someone stole your balloons, simply because they wanted them?! :eek: :(

I won't repeat what I've said before, but there's NEVER an acceptable reason to steal balloons, no matter what!

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