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The ‘free’ stuff is hardly ever really cheap

“Free” things are seldom really free.

And they’re usually not even all that cheap either, I am reminded on occasion.

Now not that I’ve been offered one or have added to my equine lawn ornaments Tucker and Thunder, but let’s just suppose for the sake of argument that you’re asked if you’d want a “free horse,” and you’re all excited at that prospect and say “heck yeh, yee-haw, giddyup!”

It may not have cost you a red cent, a dime, a dollar, whatever to get that “free” four-legged beautiful creature, but it’s hardly a financial bargain even though there’s no initial purchase price involved.

Not too long into feeding Mr. Ed, you quickly re-evaluate that rather large “freebie” that generates about 50 pounds of manure a day in your midst and needs a pedicure and other maintenance attention, etc., etc. Gee, that’s expensive.

I tend to have cautious responses for the most part to offers of something being available at no cost.

This extends to random signs I sometimes see posted in people’s yards when I’m out and about driving.

I’ll spot a sign on a piece of cardboard parked next to something, often furniture, for example.

Hey, that looks good!

Honestly, my reflex is slow down, pull over, look, grab, go!!

But then I stop myself even if I do circle back around a few times like a crazed, starving vulture checking out fresh roadkill.

I try to tune in to that voice of reason that wonders, now, Janice, why do you suppose they’re giving this away in the first place? And what are you going to do with these things besides make Better Half annoyed?

I mean, there must be some catch, yes? There has to be something seriously wrong if they want me to have it for nothing more than the joy of their being rid of it, the satisfaction of having found a good home and suitable taker.

If it’s too good to be true … so the saying goes.

But oh how I want to be a believer in bargains, especially “free” stuff.

Sometimes I put all these red flags in storage and entertain the possibility that something free is something to take delight in, to enjoy.

My daughter gave me a “free” dress recently, for instance.

It still had the price tag on it, this dress she had bought, then decided it didn’t suit her, that it wasn’t what she had expected, and rather than return it, she gave it to mom, full well knowing that mom is like Ollie’s — a consumer who likes “good stuff cheap.”

My eyes went wide. Wow!

This is one cute “free” dress, the right size, a great style, the right length, a little different color from what I have in my hand-me-down wardrobe, but, hey, super cute.

In these situations, I don’t hide my enthusiasm, dangling the dress on a hanger in front of Better Hall. “Look! Free!”

Then I tried on the “free” dress.

It was still super cute, but it needed something. A belt.

I have a few but they didn’t look right. So I bought a belt.

I have my share of shoes, but there was not one pair that looked right with this dress. So I bought a pair of shoes. (Two pairs, because they were on “sale.”)

I probably have 50 pairs of earrings but they didn’t look right with this dress. Neither did any bracelets or necklaces, so I had to shop for more accessories for my “free” dress.

And a solid colored shawl or jacket or something was in order to make it complete.

In the end, it did all add up a bit, but thank goodness I’m still “free” to be me.

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