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Free Slurpee Day at 7-Eleven; more at Starbucks, Chick-fil-A

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You’d think that Starbucks, Dippin’ Dots and 7-Eleven would approach a heat wave with dollar signs in mind. Instead, all three chains are offering cool freebies this week, starting with Free Slurpee Day Wednesday.

To celebrate its 85th birthday, 7-Eleven is giving away Slurpees from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The chain in May began making the slushy bearers of brain freeze more diet-friendly by slicing out the sugar and halving the calorie count.

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In Inglewood, Randy's Donuts is gifting customers with free doughnuts from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday to celebrate its 60th anniversary. The shop, famous for its giant doughnut-shaped sign, is a favorite of Tony Stark's, who visited in a scene from "Iron Man 2."

Come Friday, Starbucks gets in the gratis game by handing out its new Refreshers beverage from noon to 3 p.m. Customers can get a free 12-fluid-ounce serving – or “Tall,” in Starbucks-speak. The energy drink is made with fruit juice infused with the extract of green, unroasted coffee beans.

Also Friday, Chick-fil-A customers who dress up as a cow will get a free breakfast, lunch or dinner. Partial costumes – think cow bells and furry ears – earn the wearer an entrée on the house.

On Saturday, from 7 to 9 p.m., Dippin’ Dots stores will hand out free samples of its new Clusterz ice cream dots to customers who print a coupon from the website. Last year, the company filed for bankruptcy but has stayed in business through the restructuring.

The economics of freebies are fascinating. During one of 7-Eleven’s earlier Slurpee giveaways, the convenience store chain’s Slurpee sales ended up soaring 38% -- even though 4.5 million free drinks were given out.  

Similar handouts at Denny’s, KFC, Dunkin’ Donuts and more have led to record crowds who end up spending more on the side, according to USA Today.

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