(USA TODAY/WTSP) -- Here's a Tax Day stumper: Would you rather pay your taxes — or eat a cookie?
Pay your taxes — or get a massage?
Pay your taxes — or sing for your supper?
Oops. Did we forget to mention that on April 15, these all will be free?
Tax Day means lots of things to lots of people, but to most folks it means giving, not receiving. Which may explain why a parade of companies have embraced Tax Day freebies, deals and promos.
To brands looking for a star on which to hitch their marketing wagon, almost nothing could be easier than this. "Everyone hates sending money to the government," says brand guru Allen Adamson. But everyone loves free stuff. "It's a theme that unifies." And, just as important, he says, tends to drive social media buzz. Which may help explain this Tax Day loot:
• Free dinner. Got a song in your heart? Perform a complete song between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. local time on the live music stage at one of 40 Hard Rock Cafes on Tax Day — and you've just sung your way into a free entree. The chain expects to give away "thousands" of entrees valued at up to $14.95 each, says John Galloway, chief marketing officer.
• Free cookies. For those with a bitter taste after filing their taxes, Great American Cookies has a sweet reward — a freebie chocolate chip cookie. OK, the limit is one per person. But no purchase is required, notes Vice President David Kaiser, "nor proof of completed taxes."
• Free massage. You need to sign up in advance, but free mini-massages are on tap April 14 through 18 at participating HydroMassage locations. Since the tradition began six years ago, the chain has given away almost 500,000 free massages "in this traditionally stressful time of year," says Paul Lunter, president.
• Free shredding. For those with super-secret tax documents to shred, folks who print special Office Depot coupons can shred up to 5 pounds of papers between now and April 29.
• Free sandwich. Well, there's a Tax Day catch to getting a free sandwich (The Original) at Schlotzsky's — you have to buy a 32-ounce drink and a bag of chips. But, hey, that's a pretty small price to pay for deli sandwich.
• Free fries. Arby's will hand out snack-sized curly fries free on April 15 for guests with coupons from Arbys.com or Arby's social channels. But you won't be able to print the coupons until April 14.
• Free chips and dip. At California Tortilla, you can get free chips and queso dip on Tuesday but only if you tell your server these secret passwords: "Taxes Shmaxes."
Here are some more freebies on or around April 15 for the Tampa Bay area...
- Boston Market — 2 Half-chicken meals for $10.40
- Cinnabon — 2 Free Cinnabon Bites (6-8pm)
- McDonald's -- Buy 1 Big Mac or Quarter Pounder, get another for a penny on April 15
- Great American Cookie Co. — 1 free chocolate chip cookie on April 15.
- Spaghetti Warehouse — Buy 1 lasagne, get on free (plus free cannoli.)
- Sonic Drive In — Half-price fountain drinks & slushies all day.
- Sonny's BBQ — Irresistible Rib Special (half-price rib platter.)
- Wawa — free coffee on April 16 (for 50th anniversary.)