What everyone in this threads always seems to miss is that they got to play with [thing] between then (however long ago "then" was) and now. That's what you paid for - the ability to play with that thing then, and not have to wait for a "now" that be months later, years, or never.
If I wait for a new game to go on sale on Steam, I can eventually get it much cheaper, but I lose out on getting to play it now/for however long until it goes on sale.
The value of a thing, ESPECIALLY a cosmetic thing, is always dependent on how many of that thing they are. By flooding the market with free goodies, it devalues the ones that have been paid for.
It's the same with cash. You can turn on the printing press and make more 'money', but you've added no value. You've just made everyone else's cash worth a little bit less.
With all due respect, your argument is based on two assuming things:
a.) It fails to establish any arguable market value to the items in question, but presumes there is one
b.) You're placing a physical connection to a digital marketplace. Everything started for nothing. You're paying for nothing. Cash (supposedly) has an actual gold value to back it up. Arguably, but still an established basic concept we have been using for hundreds of years at least. This new digital currency system for intangible, digital goods has many similarities to a cash-based physical currency, but still very different in known arguable ways.
Based on my (limited) time spent in game, I don't see these as being valuable, as no one is trying to get them, or "hustle" them. They don't sell "fast" in the cstore, if they're available, because no one is rushing out to outfit with TOS uniforms. I'm not knocking them, I'm just saying. Trends are everything to this company now, and don't believe for a second they won't milk it where they think they can get away with it. If you do, then I quit right now. Not even worth the time wasted trying to argue the point, as it's a lost cause.
The argument for trending can be established with a apples-to-apples comparison:
If the item being given away for free were a Jem'Hadar Attack ship, there could be serious implications on the in-game "market" for a while. People would lose faith, quit playing for a while, stop playing out of protest, etc. They will never do that.
It's not a matter of pride when the argument is made, there is no offense intended by anyone when the argument is made:
They're giving it away for free because it was the random winner in a pool of lowest trending sales, to try and perk up cstore sales in general. If you go there to claim it, your mentality (possibly) is that you're getting something for free, therefor it justifies spending a little to get more.
No one is rushing out to buy the TOS uniforms, just a select group of the die hards (nothing wrong with that). But more people will go claim it "just because it's free" - which may get them to drop some cstore pts on another outfit since they are already changing it up.
You don't need a business major to see that.
Not trying to be a ****, just my POV for what it's worth.