I've been a huge fan of Free RPG Day since 2009. I thought it was a great idea, and it was one of the things that drew me back into playing d20 games. I looked forward to every year. Last year I think I finally had had enough.
In previous years I'd done well with getting freebies and scoring some loot on top of it. But, it seemed every year I had problems with the shop owners. For me there is no F in FLGS. There are two in my area that generally participate. Neither is a favorite of mine. The primary store I go to, the staff are all super friendly except the guy who is in charge of the gaming section. For some reason he must live by the philosophy that if he is arrogant enough people will believe all the crap that spews out of his mouth. I just don't like the dude. In previous years I was willing to chance him being there (ironically he was rarely there on Free RPG Day), but not this year.
The second store I rarely visit because the owner latches onto me and he feels the need to show me every bit of stock he has in store, hoping I'll buy half of it. Last year I dropped nearly $100 in his till on Free RPG Day. I scored a lot of good stuff, but he got mad at me when I declined to run a game. "You got all that free stuff, the least you could do is run a game." Yeah, I did get free stuff, but I'd also purchased a few pricey items I could have gotten a fuck load cheaper on-line. I had plans with the wife to go out of town and enjoy the day. Sitting in a room with him for 4 hours was not in any of my plans in any of the multi-universes I may exist.
So this year I read about Free RPG Day and thought about going. Looked at the page, targeted a few pieces I'd like to score, but the day came and went and I didn't go. Here's the reason I didn't go. All of the above that I've written and the fact I think I only visited each store once during the past year. I didn't want to have to deal with either of them. Wasn't worth it.
I'm sorry I missed out on it. Really I am, cause I do enjoy the day. Next year I'm going to have to just take a road trip to a gaming store I've never been to before. Grab some free stuff and see what kind of gaming books they have on the shelves. That's not too bad of a thing.
Plus, a lot of independent publishers are jumping on the bandwagon and produced free items for the day also. I got quite a bit from what was offered on-line.
I'm going to throw this out there, particularly in +Erik Tenkar direction because he's a sucker to do this kind of thing. Have an OSR Day. Have folks offer up samples of their wares just like Free RPG Day, but it focuses on our neck of the woods. I don't know if it's a good idea or me finding another reason not to go mow the lawn.