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When Free Is Too Expensive

A home in Saginaw, MI sold on eBay for $1.75 last week. The seller was elated. That's right, I said the seller, not the buyer, was elated. Why? Because the owner no longer has to worry about property taxes, upkeep, depreciation, yard work and yada-yada-yada. The sellers who didn't even sell for a single penny aren't happy.

I drove by a garage sale last week and noticed the sign was crossed off and a big "FREE" was written across it. The owners didn't care if anyone offered them a single dollar for their stuff, they just wanted someone to take it off their hands. Alas, nobody wanted any of their stuff and the owners were stuck.

Starbucks has free slivers of cake and mini cups of pumpkin spice Lattes that get tossed like cold mashed potatoes after Thanksgiving.

People are saying "no thank you" to free stuff. Recently I wrote about the free sample phenomenon and while free samples are still in style, just about anything else free seems to be too expensive. What happened?

I love watching the game shows in which the contestant wins the $100,000 dream boat. The only thing is the contestant likes boats as much as getting a root canal. So the contestant is happy to forgo the $100,000 boat for $10,000 cash.

I think people have found out that there is no such thing as a "free" lunch. Or perhaps people are just tired of "stuff." Companies in our industry are always trying to give away a free tubes of hair color, shampoo, perms, nail color or anything to change the person's mind. Does it work? Usually not.

If free is too expensive, then what's a bargain?

Happy Monday!


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