With pardons to others (like me) who prefer correct grammar, TANSTAAFL – There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!
It seems we are constantly bombarded with advertisements and special offers that say FREE this and FREE that – what nonsense! Does anyone seriously think that any business is in business to give things away for nothing? Of course they aren’t – so how does it work?
To illustrate, I am going to use the current plethora of FREE texting offers on smartphones, iPads, iPods, Blackberry, Blueberry and everything else. The first concept is simple – it costs money to transmit text or voice or video or data or pictures – everywhere in the world. Cost for the lines, for the equipment, for the poles, holes, employees, electricity, buildings, property, etc. (plus taxes of course!!) So if the end-user (you and me) isn’t being charged for these – who is being charged – or are we??
Two parts to the answer – the base rate for using the service is increased to everyone to cover these costs – it may only amount to a few cents each month, but it is there somewhere – hidden – but there – either in monthly fees, setup costs, network fees or some other means – OR/AND you and I get hit with dozens of advertising emails and texts and links sent by business subscribers who want us to buy something – so we are paying now in two more ways – one by having to take the time to filter out and delete these annoying missives and two, the cost of the items we buy contains some component to cover the cost of advertising – for print, audio, text, video – all types of advertising.
The same is true for things like Airmiles, loyalty points – the cost is buried in the underlying items – loyalty isn’t free and neither are Airmiles or points – someone, somewhere, somehow is paying – either the merchant who belongs pays some $$ to the promoters (and who do you think pays more in the cost of goods to pay these promoters their $$???) or a percentage of sales (but then the cost of the goods to everyone goes up again!) or the credit card issuer – ever wonder why when you pay with cash you don’t get a discount?? When we pay with cash, the vendor makes a bigger profit that when we use a credit card or debit card (because of merchant charges made by the card issuers) – could it even be possible that the cash-paying customers are subsidising the customers who pay with pieces of plastic???
Good heavens – there is nothing for free – what a jolt to our system!!