by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
“Free or not too Free?” That is a question that I just made up. I have lost track of the number of times I was the 1,000,000 visitor to a website which qualified me for a free Wii, Xbox, Laptop, or Cell phone ringtone. Why don’t they offer something decent like a new bowling ball or set of golf clubs? I investigated the offer for a $1000.00 Wal Mart gift card, a card like that would furnish me with enough Fixodent and baseball cards to last until the economy recovers. But I found that in order to get this “free” card, I would need to subscribe and pay for at least 10 other offers for books, magazines, CDs, food, and various other goods and services for about $600.00 per month until the Mississippi stops flowing south. (Notice what happens when you take the “r” out of “free”).
But I was intrigued by a click on add for a free credit report. I found out that the first thing you had to do to get the “free” report was to pay $1.00 for handling. Oh yeah, then sign up for a service for about $30.00 per month. Our government passed a law a few years ago that entitles any of us to receive a free credit report annually. But if you go to Google and type “Free credit report”, you get to the guy in the pirate hat that sings songs and sells fish to old ladies. But in order to get that free report, you have to sign up and pay for some kind of membership. If you just want the free report to which you are entitled, you need to go to annual credit report .com . In other words, if you actually want only the free report, don’t type the word free. You will be asked about ten times to sign up with Experian, Equifax or the like, but if you say no enough, you will finally receive your free report.
Grocery stores will frequently run a “Buy one, get one free” ad on various items. Did you ever notice how the price on the one you pay for always seems higher than you paid when you bought one last week? Is anything ever really free?
I recently began bowling Tuesday nights at Mermaid Lanes and Supper Club in Moundsview. When the league ends at around 9:30, I noticed a particularly large number of people lined up at the front desk waiting for lanes for open bowling. Many more than I see at some of the other centers I patronize, especially for a mid week night. I came to learn that bowling is free to patrons over 21 years of age on Tuesdays from 10:00 to 1:00 AM. I’m sure they are hoping that you will purchase a potent potable and maybe some of that finger food of state fair quality, but as far as I know, there are no strings attached. Free bowling! I guess the guy was right who sang - “The best things in life are free”.