No free lunch


I was solicited in the mail recently by a burial society.

For the longest time, I stared at the envelope, which said, "Free Pre-Paid Cremation! Details Inside."

The details I wanted was for someone to explain to me how something that is paid for, such as cremation, is "free." As far as I know, "free" means you don’t pay. Nor do you "pre-pay."

Besides, with funeral stuff you pretty much have to pre-pay, since you won’t be in any condition to pay afterwards.

This is a variant of that other marketing ploy: "free gift." Join this, or buy that, and get a "free gift."

There is no such thing as a free gift. By definition, a gift is free. A gift is something freely given. If you have to pay for it, it’s not a gift.

It's discouraging when words don’t mean what they are supposed to mean, and it becomes harder to communicate when we don't use the same vocabulary.

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