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Old 10-28-2012, 05:54 PM   #41
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I still love turning pages of a real book.
Me too. (I haver mentioned before -- albeit a long time ago -- that my personal libray has over 16,000 books.)

But don't get me wrong. I am not cheering on the demise of libraries (as we know them). I am merely the messenger.
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Old 10-28-2012, 06:12 PM   #42
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Shopping bags in San Francisco cost 10 cents each. And not just at the grocery store.
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Old 10-28-2012, 06:17 PM   #43
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Wheel alignment checks were free at many auto shops until they realized they were losing billable hours

Still free items that I've found:

- Checks and safe deposit boxes at several banks this year when I hit 50 and will qualify for senior benefits.

- 411.com still gives out free phone and reverse phone information, but I'm sure if the info is private/unlisted, you'll need to pay for it.

- Many auto parts stores and repair places offer free on board diagnostics for your car now that you can buy a cheap reader. Before the readers were available, you had to pay the mechanic to do this.

-Air is still free at Costco and Sam's clubs, but you have to ask to use it.

-Sam's Club had a recent policy change, they will repair your flat tire even if you DIDN'T buy the tire from Sam's Club. They will also test your car battery too.
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Old 10-28-2012, 06:22 PM   #44
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Advice is still free on this Forum... and worth every penny.
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Old 10-28-2012, 06:25 PM   #45
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(On the side: Libraries are kinda obsoleted by, among other things, the Internet aren't they? I haven't been in one for about ten years). Prior to that it was at least weekly.)
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Obsolete or not, I still use it and will continue to do so until they are no longer funded or available. I still enjoy getting free "reads".

If I traveled more I might have to use that Kindle my kids gave me for Christmas two years ago but so far I haven't used it. I still love turning pages of a real book.
No Kindle nor iPad for me yet. I never really care to read books on a computer screen, although I will admit that searching for specific items in a long technical report is great with a pdf file, compared to a printed book. Additionally, archiving and storing them would be a daunting task for a person as sloppy as myself, as well as taking way too much room.

But when it comes to reading a literary work, there's nothing like thumbing through a printed book. We go to the local library often to check out books, and I often bring back home some books that are donated to the library and on sale for $1 or 50c each. Long live books!

I am glad that there are still book lovers like myself, judging from the traffic at the local library.
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Old 10-28-2012, 07:24 PM   #46
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It is now $1 to pump air in our area in LA suburb. I normally go in to tell the clerk that I will borrow the air pump after I fill up my SUV. I get free air that way.

It is no longer tax free to order from Amazon.dom in California.
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Old 10-28-2012, 07:24 PM   #47
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Old 10-28-2012, 07:37 PM   #48
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I like reading actual books and flipping pages, too. My local library provides me nearly all of the books on my reading list, either in their own circulation of through another of the many libraries in our county's library system which are linked electronically. I can look for the books right from home and put reserves on them, even renew books without bringing them to the library first.
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Old 10-28-2012, 09:51 PM   #49
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As far as I know, a glass of water at a restaurant is still free. At least for now.
Here's a thought experiment.

What would happen if you go to a nice restaurant, get seated by the host/hostess, peruse the menu, ask the waiter for a glass of water, consume it over the next five minutes while checking the menu, and then tell the waiter "I've decided to dine elsewhere today. But thanks for the free water!"

Maybe their response depends on whether you've unfolded the napkin or not. But I've run that experiment several times (accompanied by a fussy baby/toddler), and in just about every case I felt obligated to leave a few bucks to tip the staff for their time/effort.

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Last tube tester visit was probably mid '70s. The tester unit was at a pharmacy, which still seems an odd place for electronics.
I wonder if they're at pharmacies because they also sold cigarettes. That's what I seem to recall doing on many a Saturday morning-- playing with our latest electronic project on the tube tester while my Dad was picking out a carton.
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Old 10-29-2012, 05:41 AM   #50
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Here's a thought experiment.

What would happen if you go to a nice restaurant, get seated by the host/hostess, peruse the menu, ask the waiter for a glass of water, consume it over the next five minutes while checking the menu, and then tell the waiter "I've decided to dine elsewhere today. But thanks for the free water!"

Maybe their response depends on whether you've unfolded the napkin or not. But I've run that experiment several times (accompanied by a fussy baby/toddler), and in just about every case I felt obligated to leave a few bucks to tip the staff for their time/effort.

.
My friend owns a restaurant. This happens just about everyday but mostly because his prices are high; people read the menu and walk out after 5 minutes. You can likely go to a restaurant bar and ask for water and get it no problem if the bartender is a good guy.

One lady asked recently if "refills on the Pepsi are free" with her meal. When told 'yes', she said "ok, I'll have a Pepsi".
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Old 10-29-2012, 06:09 AM   #51
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(On the side: Libraries are kinda obsoleted by, among other things, the Internet aren't they? I haven't been in one for about ten years). Prior to that it was at least weekly.)
I just returned 23 books to the library last week and took out 25 more. I love reading to my 4 year old granddaughter and her reading to me. Love the Step into Reading type of books!
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Old 10-29-2012, 09:11 AM   #52
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I'm not really seeing a lot of truly free things that cost something now. Maybe because I'm a youngin?

Free air - No need for me. I bought a $6 portable 12v DC air compressor and a $1 air gauge to top off the tires to the specified PSI as needed. It also is available everywhere my car is because I keep it in the trunk. Obviously this obviates the need for free air.

Free diagnostics - I see signs on shops that offer this, but I'll bet you a shiny nickel they find something that needs fixing that they are also running a special on. My Honda dealer does the free 35 point courtesy inspection with their $30 oil change or any service really. They always find something critically wrong with the car that they can fix for $100-200 and do it quickly. 90% of the time, after I research the issue, I determine the repair isn't needed and their recommendation is borderline fraud. But they are cheaper than the local mechanic that is slightly more trustworthy, as long as you don't fall for the revenue enhancer services they tell you that you critically need. "Free" is expensive sometimes.

I do continue to get great free service at Discount Tires (America's Tires in some regions apparently). Free rotations and balance and flat repair and air refills for the life of the tires if you pay them to install your tires. That one has actually saved me money over the years. But they try to up sell about half the time I bring the cars in for a rotation and balance. It is always something - warped wheel, (barely perceptible) uneven wear, special on tires this week only, we can't rotate because they are worn too much, etc. Usually I can talk them down and still get the "free" service that was part of the inducement for me to continue patronizing their business year after year. It is obvious that they offer the free service to keep you loyal and to bring you in for a valuable customer interaction in store with serious information asymmetry for almost all customers. I mean how can you NOT spend $400 on a new tire and wheel for your wife's minivan when they tell you how bad the condition is on one tire and that if it failed your wife will indubitably crash and burn and die with all your kids in the van? Sometimes they are right, but you have to know when they are just trying to convert a free visit to a sale.

Libraries are great, and ours keeps getting better. They just remodeled ours in the neighborhood (grand opening this weekend!), they just upgraded the online reservation system to make it more e-commercy (with a shopping cart feature). Online e-books check out is available. Tons of fast computers and free wifi. Free kids programs.

I have also noticed a trend lately of businesses sending out totally free coupons. In the last week we received a $10 free coupon to a department store, totally free meal for one to a national chain buffet restaurant, 3 coupons totaling $30 off of $30.03 in purchases at a big box hardware store, and 2 free food items from a fast food restaurant (although they were from something purchased). I'm not even sure I'll use all these free things.
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Old 10-29-2012, 01:42 PM   #53
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I'm always irked by the ads that say "No interest til (fill in date 1-3 yrs DTR)". around here, usually furniture stores, but seeing it for some others.

I would never go to one of these places. if you're giving me a big-ticket item, on credit, "interest-free", for 3 yrs, the interest is built into the price
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Old 10-29-2012, 01:45 PM   #54
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(looks at the Home Depot banner at the top of this page)

even complaining about how nothing is free anymore doesn't come free...
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Old 10-29-2012, 02:04 PM   #55
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When I was (much) younger and needed such advice, everyone always said that to start negotiating the price of an automobile one should make sure they knew you would being paying cash. I am not sure how that helped (and didn't then either) but it was accepted "wisdom" by everyone. I am sure those folks would fall all over a no interest for x months deal... and they are Legion.
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Old 10-29-2012, 06:51 PM   #56
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Corrected to www.heyitsfree.net

Thanks RonBoyd

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Old 10-29-2012, 07:11 PM   #57
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Did you mean Hey, It's Free!?
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"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is." ~(perhaps by) Yogi Berra
"Those who have knowledge, don't predict. Those who predict, don't have knowledge."~ Lau tzu
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Old 10-29-2012, 07:30 PM   #58
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As far as I know, a glass of water at a restaurant is still free. At least for now.
I went to a local restaurant a couple of years ago and few of us ordered water with our meal. Out comes bottled water and we told them hell no, bring tea or something if we have to buy a drink. Needless to say that was my last visit there. Must have angered other customers too as they are no longer in business.
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Old 10-30-2012, 12:17 AM   #59
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I went to a local restaurant a couple of years ago and few of us ordered water with our meal. Out comes bottled water and we told them hell no, bring tea or something if we have to buy a drink. Needless to say that was my last visit there. Must have angered other customers too as they are no longer in business.
Lately it seems like when we order water we are hearing "Bottled or tap?" a lot more often. At least they ask.
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Old 10-30-2012, 08:52 AM   #60
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I drink wine water with most restaurant meals, because I rarely drink soda anymore. Since most bottled water is tap water from somewhere, don't care about that much, although, based on taste, some places fill your glass from the garden hose...

Have a filtered water outlet on my fridge, so no bottled water at home either.
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