Friday, September 19, 2008

The Land Of The Free...Stuff



We love things that are free. We don't even care if we want or need the things we get for free. If it's free, we want it. We are a nation and possibly a society who loves bargains. We go to those discount stores and come back with a vat of ketchup, a drum of soy sauce, and a truckload of toilet paper because they're "bargains." We could all save so much money if we only didn't buy bargains. Yet, we buy all kinds of things that we didn't realize we wanted until we saw that they were on sale. And if they are free... we might as well take them no matter what, right? The other day I got something in the mail that was an "opportunity" for me to get a free cremation. Would you go for it because it's free, or would you pass because you think that somehow you'll get burned by the deal?


I'm sure this isn't the first advertisement that I've gotten in the mail that has to do with a product that I really wouldn't use in my lifetime. I've just thrown those insurance and funeral ads in the recycling basket. Why didn't I do the same with this one? Obviously, because of the free offer.


Some of us have religious, philosophical, or just a gut reaction that eliminates cremation as an option. But does that mean I should just throw the card away? Not necessarily.


If I don't use it for myself, maybe I can use it as a gift. Nobody likes to "make arrangements" for themselves. Many people don't get around to making wills or deciding what they want done with, well, their remains. It's a ticklish subject, one that people try to avoid thinking about as much as possible. So why not do the thinking for them, and give them a "final gift" -- a pre-paid cremation?


If you make this choice, the next time you go to a surprise birthday party, I'll bet you'll be the only one there giving the guest of honor a free cremation.


On the note from the cremation people, it says that by filling out the card requesting more information, "You will be eligible for a drawing each month" to win a free cremation. They actually have a monthly drawing?! Do you think they do it like the lottery, with a pretty young woman or a handsome young guy picking out the winning ticket? Would they ever televise it as part of their advertising campaign? Would people actually watch it, hoping that they'll be this month's cremation winner?


I'll bet they would. That's another thing we like -- to be winners. It could be very successful on television. We've already learned that people will watch anything on TV. Certainly they're going to watch something where they have a chance of winning something that's free.

And once the cremation commercials are a success, look for imitators like free funeral plots. I know what some of you are thinking: if I win a cremation or a plot, what about my spouse? Don't worry. I'm sure there will be some kind of discount for your partner. Besides, you could get really lucky, and win twice – win two cremations or plots! I'm looking at the card right now, and I don't see any fine print that says, "Only one winner per family."


We've all heard friends say things about something that wearing like, "Yeah, I don't like it either, but it was free." People will go to places for a weekend that they would never even want to visit for a second if the trip weren't free (even though they might have to sit through a video about buying a condo). They'll eat free samples of food they don't normally like to eat. So, what is it about getting something for nothing that thrills us so much?


I think it's a feeling that we "beat the system." Maybe we feel that the system is beating us all day, every week, every year, so if we have a chance to get something for free -- anything -- we go for it.


So what am I going to do? I'm not going to mail that card in for a chance at a free cremation. I don't know, maybe l'll use it as a coaster. I can't throw it away. After all, it was free.



3 comments:

  1. First of all, nothing is free as we all should know. Everything has a cost to someone somewhere. I'm happpy to say that I am rather immune to the free bait of retailers, event planners and the like. Keep up the great articles Lloyd. Your "free" wisdom is appreciated in our free society of free thinkers!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am a CPA that specializes in helping families save money when making funeral arrangements.

    A lot of cemeteries offer somehting free to get you to contact them. For example, many cemeteries offer a free gravesite to veterans. They then increase the prices on all surrounding graves because they know if the husband (vet) is buried there, there is a good chance the wife and kids may want to be buried there. So they make their money of the additional graves.

    You can learn a little more about this "scam" here: http://www.funeral-tips.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. You mentioned in the first paragraph that we don't care if we want or even need them? Sorry maybe i'm different but i want and NEED toilet paper.

    ReplyDelete

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