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    by Randy Ooney     

My Nickel’s Worth                      by Randy Ooney




Last year I had a few words to say about the misuse of the word free, especially in current advertising.  Let’s face it, in our weak capitalist economy, about the only thing free is air.  I think you can still get free ice water at Wall Drug in South Dakota, but it will cost you $50.00 worth of gas to get there.  The governor of our great state, Tim Pawlenty, was one of the first to notice what happened when the “r” was dropped from “free”.  So true to his pledge, we did not have to pay any new taxes, but we did get to pay new or increased fees.  I guess folks don’t grimace as much while paying a fee as opposed to a tax. I'm awaiting the introduction of a “fee fee”, that being a fee to charge a fee.


TV hustlers that are selling everything from herbal remedies to lower blood sugar, grow hair, add a second button to your pants, or grow tomatoes the size of pumpkins, will send you a second order free…just pay shipping and handling fees.  They forget to tell you what that amount may be.  So what’s next?  Free beer at the bowling center!  Just pay a $4.00 bottle cap removal fee.  Free bowling?  Just pay a $10.00 fee to bring your equipment into the center.


Speaking of bowling bags, the airlines have no conscious now in charging fees for baggage.  I’ve noticed a number of people shipping their equipment to Reno by UPS, or filling the trunk of a friend who is driving.  But Continental Airlines has announced the ultimate chutzpah for air travelers.  They recently announced a $59.00 surcharge fee for the several seats in coach that have extra legroom.  I know people pay more for concert tickets closer to the stage, ballgame tickets for seats closer to the action, but extra legroom fees is a little over the top.


So if you need a ride to the bowling center or golf course, I’ll be happy to oblige.  But if you push the passenger seat back in my truck, that’ll be ten bucks.          


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