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Everybody Loves Free! June 29, 2010
One of my bosses recently told me that there is no communication on earth as powerful as the advertisement of free food. If you have free donuts in one part of the building, it’s almost a guarantee that people will be there within five minutes to help consume them. And he’s right.
People flock to the chance to get at something free. Did you know, for instance, that every time the red sign at Krispie Kreme is lit up, they’re making fresh donuts, and you can go in to sample one for free with no obligation to purchase one? I’ll admit: I’ve done it. I’ve also bought a donut once or twice out of guilt for doing that too.
But what I want to know is if this impulse really is worth it? I know some frugal friends who will search out practical items they need for free. On the other hand, I also know several people who have piles of unneeded “things” just because someone once gave it to them for free. I’ll admit, I’m guiltily one of the highest offenders in the second group. But why?
Take for instance a conversation I had the other night with my mom. She and my dad had recently gone on a cruise in Alaska, and they came back with three tote bags, one from the cruise line and two from the specific cruise that they were a part of. As my mom was unpacking and showing me some of the fun things they bought, she said, “What am I going to do with these?”
When I asked her why she got them, she told me the one was left in their room for them and the other two were given to them at the beginning of the cruise with all of their agenda information in them. I can understand the latter two, but why take the one that was left in their room just because it was left there.
That’s why hotels started charging people for the “freebies” they’d take from the hotel bathrooms. People would take them because they were free.
I think the worst part about all these “freebies” is usually that they are impractical, obnoxious and you don’t have a place to store them. I am hoping to get rid of a lot of them in the next couple months. I wonder who I should pass them off to.
What are some of the free things you have floating around your house that you probably should have turned down?