If It’s Free, It’s for Me!

Posted on 31 March 2011

Everyone has heard of the expression, “If it’s free, it’s for me.”  The word “free” mesmerizes us.  The sheer thought of getting something for nothing gives us a rush of adrenaline.  But for everything that you may think is free, think again, even if you are spending a penny or a dollar for a so-called free item.  Case in point:

I bought a Kindle® a few months ago.  With the purchase, the manufacture offered a lot of free books; most of them were classics or the first published works of new authors.  Well, I got hooked like a fish with a juicy worm.  I took advantage of one of the free books and loved it.  Lo and behold, there was a sequel that I just had to buy; yes, buy.  Even though I understand that the heroine in the tale was fictional, I was drawn in by her story and wanted to find out what happened next.  Because this book was not yet on retailers’ shelves or in libraries, that’s how I got trapped: I paid the asking price.

My next big electronic investment was an iPod Touch®.  Before deciding to make the purchase, I found that the company offered many free applications, including games.  The apps are great inventions, but ultimately, consumers have to pay to access them.  Unaware of this, I downloaded the apps because they were advertised as free.  I received some complimentary coins to begin to play one of the games.  But by the time I was finished playing, I was addicted and wanted to add (read: pay for) more coins to be placed into my account.  It was just like being in Atlantic City.  Oh, the temptation!

It all comes down to buying one game and receiving coins to play another.  And the games are inventive and engaging.  With them, you can build a tropical fish tank or your own zoo, raise butterflies, own a pet salon, or run a restaurant … all in cyberspace, of course.

When it comes to buying things, our greed sometimes exceeds our need.   We stock up on certain products because we’ve been lured into thinking that we can save a few pennies.  When we spot signs saying, “Big Sale!  Buy One, Get One Free!” we can hardly wait to get to the store to shop.  But what do we really get for free?  Most of the time, the coupons the purveyors give you are not valid on the day of the big sale.  While you may plan on spending $25 or $30, you actually walk out of the store having spent a lot more.  Prices are marked up and selections may be limited.  Because we’ve been led by the nose to expect great savings, we’re oh so determined to get them.  So we walk out of the store with merchandise we really don’t love. We then return it (thus wasting money on gas), shove it in the back of our closets, or give it away to someone else.

We also have a wonderful time shopping online, too wonderful a time, in fact.  How often have we found something on the Web that we really wanted, for the low, low price of a couple of dollars?   We placed the items into our shopping carts, checked out, and nearly fell over when we saw the total amount.  Those low, low prices had been pumped up with shipping charges (that are not reimbursed if the item is returned).

Or how about getting a free trial offer with a money back guarantee?  We think, “Hey, what’s the risk?  We can return the product if we’re not satisfied.”  Well, we can but we still have to shell the postage out of our own pockets!

There is always an angle to these special offers.  Restaurants tantalize you with offers of free food and then get you to part with more of your money by ordering other items from the menu.  For that so-called free food, your wallet will be thinner.  You’ll find yourself taking peanut butter sandwiches to work all week for your lunch.

I always chuckle remembering how my father used to say that some people would take birdseed if it were free, even though no real birds were in their homes, just cuckoo clocks.  If you’re one of those cuckoo clock owners, A.K.A. freebie seekers, beware.  There is always some sort of price to pay, even if it’s the cost of a postage stamp for a self-addressed stamped envelope.  Because everyone wants his or her slice of pie, most of these so-called bargains exist for the sole purpose of advertising.

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One Response to “If It’s Free, It’s for Me!”

  1. Editor says:

    Welcome back, Small Town Girl!!! We’ve missed you.

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