free adj. \ˈfrē\ Costing nothing.
There’s been a lot of “Free” promotions going on lately – Free Denny’s breakfast, Free Quizno’s Sub, Free Arby’s burger, and I’m sure there have been others – but I haven’t gone for any of them because it wasn’t worth the time nor cost.
If they’re free, how do they cost money?
- you have to go out of your way to get it, especially drive.
Unless the location is right on the way to and from your daily activity, consider every extra mile you drive out of your way as a cost of $0.55, the IRS mileage rate for business use which includes gas and associated costs of wear & tear/maintenance.
- you have to buy something, i.e. a drink, to get your free item.
Even if it’s only $1.39 for the drink and you get a $4.00 burger for free, you’re still spending money.
- there is a limit to how many free items you can get.
You have family at home, and it wouldn’t be right to just pick up a sandwich for yourself. But you’re limited one free item per customer, so you have to buy the rest of the sandwiches.
- you dine in (i.e. Denny’s).
You have to tip. Or feel really funny for dining and dashing without tipping.
- you arrive to find the store isn’t participating in the promotion.
You’ve wasted a trip. And because you’ve gone all the way there, you might end up buying something anyway because now you’re starving.
- you could be making money in the time it takes to wait in line.
Especially if you’re self-employed, make money blogging, etc.
Living where I do (in a fairly isolated part of the Mojave Desert), and working where I do (at home), the prospect of going out espeically for a free sandwich or breakfast just isn’t worth my time and money.
The closest Denny’s from my house is a 15.3-mile drive, so a 30.6-mile round trip could count as an expenditure of $8.42, which I believe is more than the face value of the free breakfast. Even if I were going grocery shopping a mile down the road, being a dine-in only breakfast, I would’ve at least had to spend money on tip. It just all seemed like too much of a hassle.
There is actually a Quizno’s in our town, but chances of it participating in the promotion were nil to nil, because we’re somewhat isolated. Subways here don’t participate in the Subway Card program, so I didn’t want to go down to Quizno’s and find I’ve wasted my time and gas.
Free things are great. Just make sure they really are by defintion “free” before you jump.