t’s everywhere you look. In convenience stores, and living rooms, and even hospitals. And you’re paying for it. I’ll bet you didn’t even realize you didn’t have to.
Ever since Madison Avenue decided to sell us something that covers 70% of the work in 12 ounce bottles, we were doomed. Go through your home and count the items that used to be free or nearly free and bottled water will only be one of many on the list.
My friend is pregnant and she had to go to “birthing class” – you want to talk about something that was free for thousands of years? I’ll bet most of you made it into the world without the help of a birthing class.
Obviously, a birthing class has a purpose – to reduce complications in birth – but it is the ultimate reminder of a service that nobody really needed until it was invented.
Until I was 5, we got free television channels. Bowling for Dollars. Howdy Doody. Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood. Who needed anything else? Then 36 channels including HBO and MTV showed up and we’ve been paying for television ever since. Even the radio has nearly succumbed to pay services like Sirius XM. Have you listened to a radio during your commute recently? Count the number of commercials to songs and I’ll bet that ratio would be ridiculous.
You used to get all of your recipes out of that little index catalog file your grandmother gave you. Now you need to search for YouTube videos (still free… but for how long??) and pay cable cooking channels to find out how to butter your biscuits.
Even little things cost money now. I recently painted our bedroom and at Lowes, the little widget that opens the paint cans cost $.59. I gladly paid it because I lost the other 15 ones we had and also misplaced my flat-head screwdriver.
Thanks to the Bird scooters, even “walking” downtown costs money now. Walking from point A to point B – that’ll be $14, please.
All of these, of course, have added value to our lives, but the list of things that are truly free is dwindling. You can’t even get an extra packet of honey mustard from McDonalds for free anymore.
You may receive “free things” but look at their cost. My dentist always gives me a package of floss and a new toothbrush when I visit. But that visit cost $75. The toothbrush was hardly free.
About the only free thing you can still get out there is a car wash when it rains.
In the meantime, I’ll go back to opening my paint can with my $.59 can opener while I watch NBC on a paid service drinking my bottled water. Thank God I know how to breathe, otherwise, I’d need to take that birthing class.
(Get birthing instructions from Chris Kamler on Twitter where he is known as @TheFakeNed)