[rescue] WOT: "free" (was: ECC)

Jonathan C. Patschke jp at celestrion.net
Thu Jul 10 14:20:50 CDT 2003

On Thu, 10 Jul 2003, Frank Van Damme wrote:

> > We see the same problem in our cell phone store: "I want to get
> > the phone for free."  The shocked look on a customers' face
> > when we do the math for them to show them how much they will
> > actually pay for the phone to get it "for free" is priceless.
> > And we do this without getting into the technical details of
> > the phone plans.
> Ah, could you take a minute toexplain that?

Simple.  "Free" and "save" mean something completely strange in US
English that I have yet to figure out.  With certain cell phone plans,
you get the phone "for free", but pay higher rates so that the phone
company makes enough money to pay for the phone several times over.  You
can also get "free" printers from Xerox if you sign a contract saying
you'll buy at least $175 of overpriced (twice as high as retail) ink
from them a month.

US consumers are, by and large, stupid.  Say, for example, I want to
sell this Sun "crossbow" mouse on my desk.  Sun's list price for the
mouse is $35 US.  I could bundle it with a CD chock full of precompiled
GNU software and market it for $100 because I'm including 680MB of
software "valued at $280[0]".  So, you not only "save" $180, but I'm
tossing in a "free" $35 Sun mouse!  In actuallity, I just ripped you
off for $65 by selling you something that you could download for free,

This sort of marketing is prevalent in -any- sector of our economy that
is consumer-oriented.  Want a new car?  If you finance it for 5 years at
some dealerships, you'll get "cash back" right on the spot, when you
drive off!  But you'll also get double the interest rate of financing it
for 4 years.

A big part of capitalism is "let the buyer beware", but your average
consumer is too complacent to do so, and then wants the government to
step in and save their stupid asses.


[0] Per the FSF's web site.  If you order a binary kit as a company,
    they expect a $280 donation.
Jonathan Patschke   )  "Leave your lawsuits at home.  I have guns."
Elgin, TX          (                      --"Kountry" Mike Lundgren

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