Sunday, 11 March 2012


Is there anything really free? Free without a charge. Every time when I come across this question, only thing that usually comes to my mind is 'Air'. Just get out of the house or open the window and that's it. At least it appears to be Free. But actually I see some some hidden costs here as well. The cost is paid by the lungs in the form of its effort to inhale and exhale air. And in order to continue use this Free air we should maintain a healthy lungs which again has some costs involved directly or indirectly. So the air may be free out there, but to use it, we do actually spend something.

So when something is given away for free, there are always some hidden costs involved and somebody is actually paying for it. Like 'Air' the cost here might not necessarily be monetary, i.e the exchange is not based on paper money directly. Say for example, there are companies that provide freebies when somebody takes a survey. In this case, the survey data and the time spent replaces paper money. This is also the case for the promotions like 'Buy something and Get something Free'. The price is paid from the cost of advertising the product or might help to clear the stock and paid from the inventory cost. So here again the price is not directly paid by the consumers.

Similarly when freebies are distributed like this and this there are definitely some hidden costs involved. The manufacturing cost of the product, the cost to purchase the product, warehouse costs to store the product and then there is this entire cost of distribution from the warehouse to the end user. At each of these stages there is a cost involved and 'somebody' is actually paying for it, for money in itself isn't free. This 'somebody' might be taxpayers, rent providers, charity etc... Whoever or whatever may be the source, somebody is paying for it and it is definitely not free.

So rather than promoting them as freebies, it should be mentioned who is actually paying for it. When somebody donates to charity or sponsors a program, the donor is often mentioned and thanked for their deed. Likewise these freebies or subsidies should also mention the source and who is paying for it (like 'Taxpayer's money is used for so and so cause', 'The charity money from so and so is used for this cause'), rather than promoting them as freebies, for they are not actually free. Moreover this might also create some awareness among the people about the actual source of the 'freebie' and to be more prudent of its consumption.

The mere use of the term 'Free' gives the liberty to consume carelessly.

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