The Free Myth


There seems to be a pandemic, as contagious as the flu, of misunderstanding going around. Every day I meet someone appalled that a for-profit business would charge for a particular service. You charge to put headlamp bulbs in? Ugh! Three out of five times this comes from someone who has already tried doing the job themselves… and failed. But they think someone else should provide the service for free. They feel entitled.

Let’s talk about the bucket.

“Y’all charge for that? I ain’ paying for that! Nuh-uh!”

The pale, raspy-throated Waffle House waitress believed buckets were so simple and inconsequential that to be expected to pay for one was an insult. How dumb do we think she is?

In Somehwere, U.S.A. there is a little factory making little plastic, red buckets. They’re not complicated things. Just hardened plastic with a picture advertising the iconic business founders on them.

Let’s pretend that the land on which the factory stands on, the building, and even the machinery, appeared out of thin air. No one invested any money to buy the land, get building permits, hire contractors, buy supplies, and eventually build the Bucket Factory. Let’s pretend- as some people do – it all came free, via the magic government fairy which makes all dreams come true without any side effects.

Now that we have our spankin’ free bucket-making factory, we have to hire some workers to turn the lights on, ship and receive, keep up inventory, and operate the machines. Then we should probably hire one or two other guys to supervise, as well as deal with vendors and bucket-buying customers.

The problem with hiring someone is they want money. It’s not necessarily that they like money per say. It’s just that they need money to eat, and clothe and shelter themselves. We are no longer on the bartering system, nor has the real world gotten the Free Memo. So, understandably so, money is kind of crucial until clothes, food, and shelter start growing on trees.

In order to pay the workers and the supervisors of the Bucket Factory, it is imperative that the buckets sell. As simple and inconsequential as it may seem, the bucket is the means by which the factory lives and dies by. If no one pays for the bucket, no one pays the workers. If no one pays the workers, they don’t work. If they don’t work, they don’t make buckets. If they don’t make buckets, you can’t have one.

The real world works in such a way. There is nothing free. Someone is paying for every service and product being created. If it’s not growing on the side of your house, or raining down on you patchy grass, it costs someone to make it (there are sources insisting that government has tried charging even rainwater).

There is no such thing as free.

If you keep insisting on “free” this and “free” that, they’re going to close down the bucket factory. And when you need a bucket to save your life, it won’t be there, because the workers couldn’t eat by working for free.

There is a difference between generosity and feeling entitled.

There is a difference between giving and being forced to give.


for more by Paul, visit http://paulspersuasiveprattling.com/

Get Alerts