Free isn’t always free

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DebbieNorrellBox

I’m a sucker for a good commercial. Please tell me I’m not the only one who saw the Olive Garden commercial about the buy one meal and get another meal to take home for free. Ok we’re on the same page. All you have to do is say the word free or almost free and I’m in.

The Olive Garden deal went like this, buy a meal for $12.99 and get another meal to take home for free. In order to get the free take home you had to select your eat in meal from a limited selection. I was good with that and your soup or salad and bread sticks were included. However, you did not get soup and salad to go. I ordered the eat in meal and the take out. Close to end of the meal when the bill came the waitress brought me the take out meal and it seemed to be frozen and prepackaged with instructions for heating at home. No wonder there was a limited menu. I took the meal home and it was quite good but I just didn’t feel like I had gotten a deal. I ended up with a meal that was about the same size as my typical leftovers, but since both meals were small there were no leftovers from my first meal.

I admire a company for thinking up new ways to bring people in the door, I just wish I had of asked more questions in the beginning. The pursuit of free stuff is not easy; think about an extreme couponer. That takes a lot of work to gather those coupons. To me it looks like a job. Then they bring home their bounty and display it in a spare room, basement or in the shower. After all, who needs 100 bottles of hot sauce?

Recently, I got side tracked by the word free. A free pizza lunch was given to all who wore a costume to work on Halloween. Here I go again, just dangle some free food and I come running. I have no problem putting together a costume with my healthy wardrobe. In a matter of minutes I created a witch doctor costume by shopping in my closet. But I felt it was missing something, I didn’t know what, but I knew I would find it at my local Walgreens. After a stop in the drug store I had a platter of gummy body parts, a bloody arm, a gruesome mask, a big variety bag of candy and spider covered paper plates. I was now minus $18 and I was ready to go to work and have my “free” pizza.  With the $18 I could have bought a large pizza with toppings. I admit I did enjoy my day at work in my costume, but that pizza was not free.

Impressed with a co-worker’s ability to snag free stuff from the Internet I signed up for some get it for free sites. Again a lot of work for little or nothing, how much is your time worth? When you add it up the old saying is so true, there is no free lunch.

(Email the columnist at deb­bie­norrell@aol.com)

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