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Why I Don’t Like Anything That’s Free Why I Don’t Like Anything That’s Free
In an attempt to be polite, we often don’t say what we really mean. Why I Don’t Like Anything That’s Free

In an attempt to be polite, we often don’t say what we really mean. When I was paying for my groceries last week I signaled the cashier with my credit card I was planning to pay with plastic. She turned the debit/credit machine towards me and said “whenever you’re ready”. Maybe it’s because English is only my second language, but it made me pause for a bit to reflect on her words. Too long apparently, because she got a little restless, took the card from my hands and swiped it for me. I guess “whenever you’re ready” doesn’t really mean “whenever” – the polite invitation has an unexpected expiry date after all. Sorry for missing the fine print.

There’s more tricky fine print while shopping: I don’t like anything that’s free*. The asterisk implies there’s more to follow, for example a laundry list of conditions that explain why I don’t qualify for the offer, or why it’s not really free to begin with. Like a free hot tub, but you have to buy the million dollar home first. Most times the fine print isn’t even readable. It’s like a radio commercial that quickly says “conditions apply” – and then the conditions are read out on-air, but even more quickly so it’s absolutely impossible to follow or understand what’s being said. At least to this Dutch immigrant.

Of course – the companies offering these unbelievable deals have to cover their legal *sses to prevent from being sued (mostly American companies) or taken advantage of (Canadian companies). I get that. No one can make a living by giving everything away for free – whether it’s hot tubs, software, digital images, you name it. Unfortunately “free” doesn’t pay the bills, I get that too (I really do). But in the end all of this is just like that guy getting a text message saying “I love you”. He responds with “Ilu2”. Of course he means well, and in his fine print was probably a lot of detail describing his love. The reply he got, despite his good intentions? “

Wilko van de Kamp Author

WILKO VAN DE KAMP is the author of #1 international best seller The Freedom Project and several other books and e-books. He's also an award-winning photographic artist, and professional world traveler. His inspiration comes from traveling all over the world. He calls the Canadian Rocky Mountains his home, and the rest of the world his office. He has been capturing our wonderful planet, and it's beautiful inhabitants, for more than half his life. Wilko has spent his life traveling the world to capture awe-inspiring images for those who wouldn't see them otherwise, and to inspire others to embark on their journey of a lifetime. Through his art, writing and appearances as a keynote speaker he enjoys sharing his colorful experiences with the world. Visit him online at