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Used to be Free... no more
Old 10-27-2012, 07:29 PM   #1
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Used to be Free... no more

Wasn't so long ago, I could go to "white pages" or a number of other websites, to do a reverse look-up on a phone number. Tried tonite, and found at least ten websites that promised a free phone look-up with name and location. Turns out, none of them delivered. Just a four step process to get you to a page that says we found your number, and will give it to you for $.99 to $4.99.
Finally found a page... CBS I think that said in effect... "good luck on the FREE part. The suggestion was to simply put the number into Google, and see if it turns up there.

This started me thinking... What ustabe FREE, ain't FREE no more.
Free air at the gas station...
Free Car Check ups... yes... we used to do that... made bundles of $$$ for us. We averaged more than $150 in subsequent Sales/labor charges after our 18 point free checkup that took 5 minutes. Today, the dealership made a point to tell me that after my car crossed the white line on the floor, I would have minimum charge of $95... just to look at the car.

Free legal consult... The 3 minute conversation "Here's my problem, can you help?" Now has a minimum $200 fee.

Free weight scales... Publix stores... still yes... The scale in front of General Nutrition at the mall... $.50... (but it includes a Body Mass Index calculation).

Free Bank Checks (even interest bearing accounts) Hah!... We even had to pay for the "free starter checks" and they froze our initial deposit for 3 days...
no Free checks and .007% interest..

The "free 25% more" in the $3.00 shampoo bottle means the old 16 .oz container is now 12 .oz and costs $3.50.

The third tire FREE, is based on full price, which is 25% higher than the normal every day sale price.

The second canteloupe FREE is based on the never-before-regular-price of $4.00.

One new twist here in my town.... Instead of the "Free" hearing test, our local hearing aid dealer is offering a free turkey...

Anyone else notice notice that true "Free" is disappearing?
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:38 PM   #2
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No product or service was ever really free...but a surprising number of people like to believe otherwise. Sorry...
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:45 PM   #3
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No product or service was ever really free...but a surprising number of people like to believe otherwise. Sorry...
Okay . . . "Things you could get for free that other people really paid for when they bought the item."

I miss the free air at the gas station. Water was always available, too (I'm pretty sure the lawyers and insurance companies made them remove that--too many burns from hot radiators)

Hey, there are still free food samples at Sam's!

Free Blue Chip/S&H Green Stamps. Okay, there was no way to get these for "free"--the cost was certainly built into the price of the products. Mom used to save those stamp books and I remember pawing through the catalogs. It took a LOT of stamps to get anything.

Also at the gas station: Full service was free (because there was no self serve). That included cleaning the windshield, checking the oil, a look at the tires and air if needed.

Free batteries at Radio Shack. Bring that battery card in every month and get your choice.
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:15 PM   #4
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Free air and water reigns supreme in my neck of the woods...
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:44 PM   #5
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true "Free"
Like Midpack says, that seems oxymoronic...

Today when something's "free" I ask for a price breakdown and a discount.
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Old 10-27-2012, 09:01 PM   #6
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I had to buy a can opener the other day to open a large can of pineapple juice.

The simple can punching openers used to be free.
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Old 10-27-2012, 09:19 PM   #7
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I've been getting motor oil for free with sales and rebates. This year has mostly been Nextgen at advance auto onsale with a amex gift card rebate and G-OIL mail in rebate for full purchasr price. Got several years worth of changes stacked in the garage. It really is free other than the stamp to send the rebate in.
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:11 PM   #8
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We still have free air and water at the gasoline station , mandated by California state law , but an "Out of Order" sign is on those goofy airhose boxes at about 90% of the time. At Costco , you just swing by the tire center.

One thing you didn't even get to: The Free Dinner at the Ameriprise Financial Investors Seminar .
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Old 10-27-2012, 10:54 PM   #9
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We still have free air and water at the gasoline station , mandated by California state law , but an "Out of Order" sign is on those goofy airhose boxes at about 90% of the time.
Hmm--I wonder why they don't fix them.
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Old 10-27-2012, 11:00 PM   #10
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Or as Robert Heinlein said: (TANSTAAFL) "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. If you paid for lunch, the beer would be cheaper."

For instance, as people demand lower gas prices the station owners have to stop "paying" for the "extras" and charge the users of them. Competition (capitalism) requires this. That's also the logic behind Toll Roads.
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Old 10-27-2012, 11:57 PM   #11
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One thing you didn't even get to: The Free Dinner at the Ameriprise Financial Investors Seminar .
Yes, and it comes at a very high price...
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Old 10-28-2012, 02:18 AM   #12
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The free clinics where I volunteer sometimes are 100% free. However, patients have to buy their meds when they pick them up at their pharmacy of choice.
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Old 10-28-2012, 06:29 AM   #13
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Apparently this is a regional thing. Many gas stations near me have free air compressors. Not long ago, I needed gas at one of the stations where it cost a quarter. I was out of change, so I went in and asked for change of a dollar to use the air. The clerk said "Oh, you don't have to do that; I'll just turn it on for you from here."

The thing that has always surprised me is how just about every store is happy to give you a free bag ("paper or plastic") for whatever you buy there. Since that's obviously not the case in most other countries I've visited, I keep wondering when we will get wise and require people to bring their own bags.
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Old 10-28-2012, 07:14 AM   #14
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The thing that has always surprised me is how just about every store is happy to give you a free bag ("paper or plastic") for whatever you buy there. Since that's obviously not the case in most other countries I've visited, I keep wondering when we will get wise and require people to bring their own bags.
I reuse the the plastic ones for garbage and waste basket liners, I never buy trash bags.
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Old 10-28-2012, 07:20 AM   #15
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There are lots of things that used to be expensive that are no longer....

I remember way back when people had to spend serious bucks to place a classified ad. Now there's Craigslist.

It used to cost me $100 to make a stock trade, now it costs me $8.

I'd rather take the savings on the stock commissions and pay 25c for the air for my tires, thank you very much!

And I barely use paper checks anymore so don't have to buy more (actually I got the "free" ones), and I use stamps so rarely that I haven't bought any in years (still have old forever stamps), and I get % cash rewards back on my no-fee credit cards where that used to be unheard of.

I get a lot of "free" two day shipping. Shipping rates in general are way cheaper and many online venders throw in free shipping once an order reaches a modest threshold (which keeps dropping).
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Old 10-28-2012, 07:25 AM   #16
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Still Free Checking at the Credit Union - the "price" is you have to have an ongoing direct deposit into your account.

Free electronic bill-pay, if you use it to pay at least 3 bills per month. When it first started, they were charging $5.00 per month. I guess nobody signed up at that rate!

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Old 10-28-2012, 09:15 AM   #17
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The thing that has always surprised me is how just about every store is happy to give you a free bag ("paper or plastic") for whatever you buy there. Since that's obviously not the case in most other countries I've visited, I keep wondering when we will get wise and require people to bring their own bags.
Whole Foods does the opposite of requiring you to bring your own bag--the store gives you 10 cents credit per bag if you bring your own. The (organic free-trade) carrot works even better than the stick for the store.
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Old 10-28-2012, 09:37 AM   #18
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Here in Mass, not only is nothing free, it's damn expensive sometimes!

There's a fee/charge/tax on just about everything except hot air. There's even a charge to pay our property taxes online.
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Old 10-28-2012, 09:40 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
The thing that has always surprised me is how just about every store is happy to give you a free bag ("paper or plastic") for whatever you buy there. Since that's obviously not the case in most other countries I've visited, I keep wondering when we will get wise and require people to bring their own bags.
Eh, in Europe you have to put stuff in the bags yourself too.

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I reuse the the plastic ones for garbage and waste basket liners, I never buy trash bags.
That we also do. However, my sister-in-law who lives in San Diego says she will no longer have that freebie when the plastic ban law takes effect.
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Old 10-28-2012, 10:09 AM   #20
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Free love? ...

Or is a relic (like I am) from the 60's?
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