Maybe the strange economy of SL might demand such things to stay in customers minds... but... it WORKS! From a consumer point of view it's not only about getting things for free. For me personally, it's more to explore, for me, new stores and catching up with old ones.... AND getting things for free! ;)
A gift is the best business card a store can distribute. The gift can be small, size doesn't matter the least. The quality of a freebie is sometimes the only clue a potential customer has about the craftmanship hidden behind an often photoshopped vendor image, so they are important. Generosity creates a wish to give something back, to show support by joining group and/or buying something/s in the store.
Yet again, to all creators, a big THANK YOU and all my wishes for a fruitful 2012 to all of you!