On the New York Times's Freakonomics blog this morning, the freaks examined weird promotional combos—buy X, get Y free. Notable were the taxidermy and cheese and free ham with printer purchase pairings. Readers were asked if they had any other examples. Some of the edible/inedible combos included free Jell-o with gas purchase, spagetti/corn flakes, haircut/rotisserie chicken, gas/beer, and gas/bananas.
But "WB" beat me to the punch, mentioning the Les Schwab* free-beef-with-purchase-of-set-of-tires promo that the Pacific Northwest tire chain has been featuring every February for 45 years now. In fact, a year before he passed away, Les Schwab himself was honored as a "Beef Backer" by seven western-state beef councils in 2006 for his "homage to to the region's cattle ranchers." Unfortunately, the one time I had to purchase tires from Les Schwab was on July 16, 1999**, so the offer was not valid.
Scrolling through the comments on the Freakonomics blog reveals many more strange promo combos—along with a wealth of "two-fer" stores that offer seemingly incongruous products—grave markers/fresh-baked bread, ice cream/yarn, chocolate/eyeglasses. Did they miss any that you know of?
I'm reminded, too of Mo Gridder's, a combination auto shop and barbecue joint in the Bronx that Peter Meehan wrote about in the New York Times after Ed Levine here tipped him off to it.***
** I remember the date exactly, because I was sitting in the Les Schwab lobby waiting for my tire change when the news of JFK Jr.'s death splashed on TV.