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The Land of the Free

A bad sign: People expecting free Election Day Ben & Jerry's in Dupont Circle were met with news that the chain's 19th Street outpost is closed for the winter. (Marissa Newhall/The Washington Post)

How did the many offers of Election Day freebies work out? Some retailers, fearing those pesky laws against buying votes, ended up giving stuff to anyone yesterday, not just to those with an "I Voted" sticker. Our quick tour of gastro-democracy in action:

Krispy Kreme, Dupont Circle. Free doughnut. Value: about 80 cents. No lines at midday. Counterman waiting with our swag already bagged. Doughnut not star-shaped as advertised, but we don't plan to register complaint.

Starbucks, 15th and K. Free "tall" coffee. Value: just under $2. Moderate lines. Cashier handed all four people in line the same thing with a glazed look of resignation.

California Tortilla, Chinatown. Free taco. Value: $2.29. Normal line, short wait. Sheepish glances exchanged with fellow voting-stickered patrons.

Gifford's Ice Cream, Penn Quarter. Free eight-ounce hot chocolate, a size not usually on menu. Five-minute wait. Mobbed by greedies still holding their free Starbucks. What is this, trick-or-treating for grown-ups?

Chick-fil-A, GWU. Free chicken sandwich? At some isolated locations around the country, but not in the campus food court, turns out. Clearly, an attempt to suppress the youth vote!

Ben & Jerry's, Dupont Circle. Free scoop! ... except in this neighborhood, where a sign informs us that the store is closed for the winter, "sorry for the inconvience [sic]." Inconvenienced? More like disenfranchised!

By The Reliable Source  |  November 5, 2008; 1:47 AM ET
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