It is rather odd how people have come to treat the word “free” in that some of them really believe that a promotional item doesn’t cost something. Many people remain obtuse to the idea that, truly, no man-made product is free. It either costs you something in the form of time, energy, or information given, or it costs you something in that it becomes a possession of yours, however briefly. Plus, it also cost somebody else something in the form of capital invested and/or marketing moneys spent etc. But there is no thing made by man that is free….. period exclamation point!
People, particularly Americans it seems to me, are so often duped by this ploy. “Free valet parking with your meal” the sign says… Oh really, do you really think those boys running back and forth and parking your car just do it for fun? You must know they have insurance right? Well, it is included in the price of the meal, you say – duh. Or maybe you’re the cheapskate who doesn’t tip them, but someone else (a big spender) will over tip and you really “got away with one” eh? Folks, any time you see “free” on something associated with another product, be it a meal, or a conference center bag full of goodies, stop and realize that you are being played. And if the steak at the restaurant with “free valet parking” costs $1.00 more than the competitor chain that has no such service, for heaven’s sake realize it.
Just the words “yours” or “mine” imply possession which implies a sense of property which obviously entails a connection with you. If it is “yours” or you refer to it as “mine” then it is no longer free at all. Now you may have the freedom to discard it quickly, or to “give” it to someone else and likewise dispose of it, but it still occupies space in your world and as such has value, no matter how infinitesimal that may be. If you make an experiment and tell yourself not to accept anything free for 1 week, just see how long you last. But so too, enjoy re-setting your compass to true north on this issue. And the next time you have free valet parking, give the kid a $5er so you’re not the douchebag.