The above image is from Lime Tree Fruits which burbles as follows: "I am super-excited you are here checking out all those freebies created out of lots of love." They are, however, demonstrably created out of a desire to take your money. The inevitable come-on is here.
Have you noticed that every time people want to sell you something you don't need, they very often start by telling you how "excited" they are about it, as if the very word will excite you as well.
Apparently, it does.
CBC: Canadians should be wary of loyalty programs — not enticed by them
If you're not careful, it's easy to get duped into spending more for the thrill of getting something for free
CBC Photo Caption ... Make no mistake, you are being programmed to shop, spend and redeem on the retailer's schedule.
Sometimes when asked if I belong to a points program, I'm tempted to reply, "Is cash no longer good enough?" And yes it is -- but it's only one way of making a profit, and profit is what "points" programs are all about. They do want your cash and the program is a devious way to get more of it, along with tons of information about you personally.
By the way, lately I can't go to an M&M Food Market store without being asked for my telephone number. And often, certain stores will request my postal code. It's hard to refuse because it makes one look unfriendly, and we all want to be thought of as congenial, don't we.
The scoundrels are well aware of that and take full advantage. But don't worry about hurting the feelings of cashiers. If you refuse politely, you've done your job and so have they because they tried.
I bought walking shoes and was told I'd get a discount if I filled out a store member card. What the heck for? I guess so they can send me emails, or god forbid telecalls, to advertise upcoming sales. Do they think that anybody foolish enough to give them all their personal info for a pair of shoes will come running back to buy more shoes that they don't even need -- after the prices have been jacked up?
That's not what they think, it's what they know. Yet nobody has to do any of this stuff. Our personal information is far more valuable than a couple of dollars off an over-priced sale item. Shouldn't we treat it as such?
The saddest thing is that the staff are trained to be sweet and polite, and it appears that when Loblaws has a push on for its point system, the cashiers are checked up on to see how many sign-up cards they have left, which means they are under a fair amount of pressure. So I say "No, thank you" as gently as I can. Sometimes I even offer to take the card if it looks as if he/she is feeling a bit stressed, though I assure them I won't be filling it out. And they just smile.
You can't visit Canadian Tire without being accosted between the aisles by grinning, gregarious persuaders on behalf of the store credit card that allows you to collect "10X e-Canadian Tire 'Money'" when you use it. Believe me, that will not make up for interest charged on the impulse purchases that you will then have to pay down.
I glance down every aisle as I move through the store in order to avoid them. They're very nice people, but they look so disappointed when I say no, and sometimes they are a bit hard to shake off politely.
If you pay cash at the wicket, you'll obviously receive less CT Money, but since there's a donation box close by, that's where mine goes. I want them to know that I don't need their handouts. Just charge a fair price and dispense with all the gimmickry, I beg of them -- or would if anybody who could do anything about it was in a mood to listen.
Another thing I've never gotten sucked into is the "extended warranty" on tech purchases.
The above CBC opinion piece was written by the owner of this helpful site -- Squawkfox.com -- which offers all sorts of financial advice, including:
Don’t get duped into buying an extended warranty
What amazes me is how I instinctively know this stuff yet so many people don't. Maybe it's because I don't like being told what to do, or maybe it's because I'm a natural sceptic, or maybe the "no free ride" motto was burned into my brain when I was young and impressionable.
For one thing, I was never given an allowance by my parents (although of course such things as school text books and clothing were taken care of for me), and it didn't even occur to me to ask for one, even though I was assigned chores to do around the house. I started earning my personal money when I was 12, by babysitting and other part-time jobs after school, and it seemed a perfectly natural thing to do.
I had a little book in which I recorded money earned and money spent, and what on. I knew there was supposed to be money left over after expenditures and I made sure there was.
I still make sure there is. Before I go to the grocery store, I check the pantry to see what I've run out of and make a list - which I generally stick to unless one of the items is a weekend special price (loss-leader), of which I will buy several, which saves me money in the long run.
Sticking to a shopping list is not difficult at all to do -- and it's surprising how effectively staring at a list prevents one from even noticing the non-essential, but tempting, come-on displays.
Another rule of thumb, for me at least, is to have only one credit card and one debit card - plus a healthy dose of scepticism about any other means of paying for goods and services - except for cash that is, which I mostly prefer and would hate to see abolished in favour of cards.
Also: One shouldn't trust the big banks with one's savings. They have real trouble staving off hackers and are victims of their own incompetence. A good rule of thumb, for me at least, is that the more customers a company has, the more managers they need, and that's where the deadly Peter Principle kicks in.
I suggest trying a local Credit Union instead. They're small enough to give good personal service, and they also benefit the immediate community.
So how does one person convince another to be sceptical of the word "FREE"? Maybe if I put it in big letters it will sink in, even if not wanted.
THERE IS NO FREE RIDE IN LIFE.
Or I could just sic God on everyone by talking about the Seven Deadly Sins. Pride is one of them, and it goeth before a fall. Greed is another and it's a dilly.
I personally would recommend retaining a little bit of Pride -- so that one is not wide open to be made a fool of -- and a lot less Greed, which may well be the deadliest sin, and you don't want to know the punishment for that.
Oh, what the heck: you'll end up boiled alive in the finest oil that money can buy.
Image Below: From a site that offers its art "free", but nevertheless seeks donations:
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