Much of what we do and certainly what we consume is dictated by price. A great deal of marketing cash is spent advising us of prices and discounts for this very reason. I wonder if I am alone in an aversion to the lowest price of all though. The lowest price for any product is of course free, gratis, without cost. Why is it that I am so uncomfortable with that deal? More importantly I am uncomfortable with public consumption at that value.
Send me a free gift and I am happy to accept. Offer me a free sample in public and I will avoid. A free product, just join the queue? Hell on earth. Sponsored meals or drinks, don’t think I’m hungry. I can’t stand the mob that assembles when they give things away. Not for me the voucher redeem for a free packet but all day long the buy one get one free deals.
I have not always been so adverse. I remember as a young man having dozens of the free bottle openers that Rothmans gave away with free sample packs of ten cigarettes (how old am I?). But such a concept is alien to me now, free and public? Oh no not me. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not being chased along the high street by firms proffering free gifts, its not that at all.
There are, as I see it, two issues that I have with the concept of free. Firstly it rarely is, there is generally a catch, a hook or some ploy to obtain long term payback. Rothmans is a great example there surely. The second is the locust type frenzy that people get when they hear ‘free’. Say ‘free bar’ and watch the drinks change. Say ‘lunch is on me’ and see the orders change. People seem to feel obliged to consume the maximum ‘value’ when the cost is zero.
I don’t think I am alone in this, for all the deals on the market not many offer free product. It can’t just be mistrust surely. Equally it doesn’t apply in all situations. A launch meal or business lunch is acceptable in the right company. It is almost a class thing, its the frenzy that irritates me and makes me uncomfortable. I hate the excess, the stupidity and the general absence of manners. The fights and devastation that befalls a buffet is a good example. Perhaps its being there at the end and realising that at least 25% of the food ‘consumed’ remains discarded or hidden on plates. Its an avarice and greed that is not befitting of civilised people and I don’t wish to be associated with it.
If any companies read this please don’t think I am not open to free gifts, of course I am. But if you wonder why I didn’t attend your free meal or sponsored event I have a test. Look around at the end and ask yourself ‘is this the remnants of a good time?’
Pub quiz lesson for the day comes from the ever reliable Paul, more for reminding me. What does a defibrillator do? What is its actual function?
I have had the following answers; it stores a charge, it delivers a cyclic pulse to pump your heart, it is a capacitor, it starts your heart.
All of the above are, of course, incorrect. The answer is that it stops the heart. Its true, we stop the heart and then the brain realises and restarts it.
A bonus point to anyone that can explain why generation of evolution have not led to a reboot sequence? Surely if Microsoft can have a restart then the brain can. If it sees incorrect rhythm why not stop, pause, restart? My best guess is that the function is there we simply haven’t identified the ‘Ctrl’ + ‘Alt’ + ‘Del’ sequence yet.