47°F
weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Where to find the hidden cost of ‘FREE’

The quote “There’s a sucker born every minute,” has long been attributed to P.T. Barnum, however, it’s now known that he was not the true originator of those sentiments. No matter the source, the world is indeed full of suckers who believe in the credo that “free” really exists … and crooks who feast on the pocketbooks of those who believe somebody actually wants to give them something for nothing.

Misleading advertising, also known as creative marketing, perpetuates the whole FREE thing. There’s a very thin line between fraud (“gain through misrepresentation”) and the following situations. I am not suggesting any criminal behavior by the perpetrators. I am suggesting vacant promises and misleading statements. And today’s column is for no other reason than to point out the need for consumers to tread very lightly when they see that “F” word and to think beyond the four letters when they place an order.

250 BUSINESS CARDS FREE

Will this major national company give you 250 FREE business cards? Yup, sure will. But note that you cannot pick them up (even if you lived right next door to their print facilities) — you must pay shipping and handling fees that place the true cost of the cards much higher than “free.”

$300 OF BEAUTY CARE PRODUCTS ABSOLUTELY FREE

Samples of multiple products ARE free. The cost will be transferred via shipping and handling … and … the small print you agree to when you order. Always read ALL small print carefully. In this case, you have just agreed to an ongoing contract where you will receive additional products monthly (or quarterly or whatever) that are anything but free.

RECEIVE THIS FOUR CUP ELECTRIC COFFEE POT FREE!

Same gig, different prize. In this case, after you receive your free coffee pot with your first order, you’ll get continuing boxes of coffee, at significant charge to more than cover the pot, until they come out of your ears.

FREE (fill-in-the-blank) AUTOMOTIVE CHECK

It’s amazing how these folks always find something that must be repaired. “Mrs. Smith, look at this wire. Your car could catch fire and blow up at any second. We can replace these wires and have you safely back on the road in less than an hour. Your life is worth $395, isn’t it?”

FREE (fill-in-the-blank) MEDICAL, DENTAL or CHIROPRACTIC CHECK

Again, same gig. “Mr. Smith, you have three areas of beginning decay and this one back here is set to explode in the next 24 hours.” Or “Mrs. Smith, I’d like to rule out paracysticmayoinfractivemyopiccarditis. Just give us your insurance information and it will all be covered.” If the practitioner needs to make a Porsche payment, the words pre-cancerous might get added.

FREE $100 GIFT CARD

And all you have to do is listen to a two-hour, hardcore sales pitch and then get mercilessly hammered by a “closer” for a time share that you neither want or need. If you find yourself victim to this, repeat these words like a mantra. “I am not interested. I am not interested.” With luck, you’ll crawl out of the door alive.

Once again, readers. There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. True FREE is without profit and all business survives on profit — so “free” isn’t free.

Drop by the Pahrump Valley Times offices, 2160 E. Calvada Blvd., for a copy of Leslie Kim’s latest book “123 Main Street … the Scamming of America.” Only $19.95 while supplies last.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
High school rodeo returning to Pahrump

The Nevada State High School Rodeo Association will return to Pahrump this weekend at McCullough Rodeo Arena, in conjunction with the 7th annual Pahrump Balloon Festival at Petrack Park.

Nye County Democrats turn out for early voting

For the first time ever, the Nevada Democratic Party made the decision to expand its caucus process by including early voting this year and residents from all across the state turned out in droves to participate, with long lines reported at many of the early voting locations throughout the Silver State.

Nye County School District Superintendent Dale Norton set to retire

For more than 30 years, Dale Norton has been an integral part of the Nye County School District family, starting his career as a principal in Amargosa and eventually making his way up the ranks to become Superintendent, but his time with the Nye County School District is now nearing its end.

Nye County narrowly passes resolution praising Trump’s accomplishments

On Wednesday, Feb. 19, just three days before the Nevada Democratic Caucus, the Nye County Commission narrowly approved an official resolution outlining President Donald Trump’s accomplishments throughout his time in office.

Nevada and Nye GOP set for weekend of events in Pahrump

This coming weekend may be quite an exciting time for the Nevada Democratic Party, with eyes around the nation focused on the Silver State’s 2020 Democratic Caucus, but the Nevada Republican Party isn’t allowing the other side of the aisle to revel in the spotlight all on its own.

“Bowling for Heroes” at Pahrump Nugget brings in more than $4,000

The “Bowling for Heroes” event, held Sunday, Feb. 9 at the Pahrump Nugget Bowling Center to benefit Wounded Warrior Project was a huge success, according to event organizer Denise Flanagan.

Nye County Sheriff’s Office set to use ankle monitors to relieve jail crowding

The Nye County Sheriff’s Office is set to relieve crowding in its detention center with the use of an ankle monitoring system. On Feb. 4 the Nye County Commission gave the go-ahead to a monitoring and services agreement with Illinois-based company Track Group Inc.

Nevada Democratic Caucus early voting starts this weekend

The process of awarding delegates to the array of candidates vying for the Democratic presidential nomination is underway, and Nevada will the be third state in the nation to voice its presidential preferences.