Free, Or is It?

A little bit of history to begin this post.

Of course there are EXAMPLES to describe the headline.

Example: Way back in the 1950’s and 1960’s in the downtown of my hometown, and perhaps many more, there would be stationed on each of the four corners of an intersection an attractive female with a welcoming smile giving out free sample packs of cigarettes. I think there were four cigarettes in each pack. She would do this mostly during the high pedestrian traffic times of the morning and evening rush hours during the warmer months of the year.

You would simply go up to her, extend your hand, perhaps offer a civil greeting and back then I am most certain you would say “Thank You”. If you asked, “can I have another”, can I have one for my friend, can I have as many as you can give me”, she would, most likely, accommodate your request. Greedy, yet, discrete folks would cross the street 3-4 times and get free sample cigarettes from as many of the women giving them out. This ritual would present itself for a week or two and then she would not be there. However, you liked smoking cigarettes so much you went to the corner store and made the purchase. Little did we know back then. We usually only consider the short term rather than the long term results. Since we had little accurate information on which to base our decisions we took advantage of the give-a-ways in a trusting way. Time heals some wounds and time wounds some heels.

Example:During this same time period manufacturers of toothpaste, soap, cleaning products, cereals and other household merchandise would send free samples (redundant isn’t it free and sample) to your home via the mail. Often, inside the package was a coupon you could use on your next purchase.

Example: In modern times, especially with food, free samples dominate. If you are of the kind who likes tasting free samples at the grocery store you arrive at mealtime and indulge in the unlimited amount of freebies offered, perhaps, engaging the staff in conversation during your stand-up meal. Here, too, there are often coupons offered for your next pruchase which the company hopes is today after you taste their products.

Example: About fifteen years ago I developed acid reflux (yuck). The doctor prescribed medication but gave me ‘free samples’ that lasted until my next visit whereupon he gave me more free samples. I did not feel guilty taking the free samples since I knew he received the free samples from the company sales representative who was probably vacationing on a tropical island as the sales contest winner for that particular medicine.

Example: Many banks offer free coffee while you wait. Candy, ice cream and beverages are offered at retail locations. The deli will offer you a slice of cheese or meat to see if it is cut at the right thickness for you. Food is abundant and everywhere. Once you know where to go you can go on a double date just the two of you. The double comes from eating free food samples in one or two stores and finding the dessert stores in your area.

Example: On a somewhat darker side, street pharmacists will offer free samples of the latest “feel good” non-prescribed (not over the counter) stuff at clubs, on the corner and at gatherings.

My cousin and I were walking the streets of a large city on a bright sunny summer day. We were followed by a street vendor who provided a non-stop list of his products offering free samples and “special deals” for multiple purchases. Finally, we stopped walking, turned to him and said we were not interested. He left us and proceeded to his next target. Throw enough stuff against the wall and some of it will stick (thanks Pop). I am most certain he made a good, yet illegal, living by doing this direct sales method not caring about his customers health, safety and well being. Sound familiar. Watch the news to find out that some legitimate businesses do the same thing but have experts prepare “written statements” justifying their position while they settle cases claiming no culpability, accountability and responsibility. Thus, no consequences. Not my fault is the cry. How creative is that. Pay a little fine and live off of the ill-gotten gain.  One ship, truck or car is captured carrying illegal stuff and while that vehicle is searched scores of similarly loaded vehicles go on their way and the cycle continues.

Example: The food court at the mall is a good place to dine for free. Get there around 11:30 AM or so and sample the goodies they hope you will buy. Not all the merchants participate in the hand outs but word spreads rather quickly as to who is giving our what. It is quite a spectacle to watch the choreography of those seeking a tasty treat for free.

Example: When we were kids, walking the boardwalks of beach towns, we would go into the many fudge and candy stores and boldly ask for a free sample which we most often received. They were small pieces and after a few free samples, especially the rich fudge, we went about way our playing on the beach and in the water. I”ll bet folks still do this. I know they do at ice cream stores, since I worked at three ice cream stores, with those tiniest of tiny free sample spoons holding what looks like a dollop of ice cream.

I am not too worldly these days but I am most certain you have more current examples of the chase for the FREE which is not really a chase since it is in your face most everywhere you go.

There is no free lunch. Eventually somebody pays something. Usually it is us who pays not only the cost and price but the consequences of falling prey to temptation.

Keep It Simple – Keep It Real

Join (for free) my movement.  No not that kind of movement.


I am so slow I have to speed up to stop. Not a bad way top approach life. Cars, trucks, buses and bikes have gears. Planes and trains have throttles. What do those things do, they CONTROL (from a previous BLOG) speed. Clock yourself. Are you constantly on the go asking yourself “where I am I going in this job, relationship, social situation and life in general”. Gotta get my steps in today, 10,000 should do it. Now I can go eat all those free samples and buy bigger clothes for retail therapy. The reverse of my Weight Loss Management and Control equation, again from a previous post.

In my SLOW DOWN MOVEMENT there is nothing to buy, no event to attend (though ya never know what might evolve) and certainly no “goodie bag” of more stuff to add to the clutter that you do not need.

All you have to do is SLOW DOWN and that you can do on your own unless of course, which is quite understandable, you need an advisor, coach, mentor, assistant, buddie, trainer and so forth. If that is the case I am available to do those things with and for you.








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