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Abuse of the word "free"

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MW31/01/2016 10:59:05
2051 forum posts
51 photos

This is a bugbear of mine, its not really offensive or annoying but it just gets up my nose sometimes.

Things in many places have advertised things as "free" and then usually in much much smaller print (if you do this, or get that). I just sit there and think "well, it can't truly be free then, can it?" In my simple mind, free is when someone hands something to you, expecting nothing in return and with no future restitution for the goods delivered, otherwise, its basically a trade or a barter of sorts.

It just seems misleading for advertisers to do this, its just abuse of its real meaning.

It definitely is a bit of a storm in a tea cup but if they put the word in there hoping to pull a consumer in, it certainly makes me wince or steers me away from the potential trade, so its having the reverse effect.

I just wonder if anyone ever notices this, i wont name companies or names because so many retailers are guilty of it.

Ian S C31/01/2016 11:24:40
7468 forum posts
230 photos

There is another one that annoys me in retail shops it seems to be common, buy one, get one half price, which is well and good, if you want two of what ever it is.

Ian S C

Involute Curve31/01/2016 11:34:32
337 forum posts
107 photos

I use to work in the land of the free, after a while I found it to be the most oppressive and controlled place I've ever worked, and it appears the general population don't have a clue what the word free really means, at the time I was installing huge data storage systems in international telecomms hubs....... and this was years ago. lol

As far as I can tell the only thing that's truly free are my own thoughts, the rest has a debt added by someone.......

Nick_G31/01/2016 11:44:56
1808 forum posts
744 photos


Free postage.

No it's not.! It's nothing of the kind. It is built into the retail price.


MW31/01/2016 11:50:29
2051 forum posts
51 photos

Yeah, i've seen those deals too, any method of getting a few more £ out of you!

i think in my case i'm trying to think of a solution or alternative and i think it would be more appropriate to say "included" rather than "free". It just makes more sense. It doesn't sound as brash or bold though, so it might not be as eye catching, but it would be concise.

And yes, i think theres alot to be said of what we make of free as a concept but basically its a given thing - full stop. no "if's" or "buts" ha ha.

Michael W

Ady131/01/2016 12:16:59
4659 forum posts
709 photos

As far as I can tell the only thing that's truly free are my own thoughts

So true. Anything else claiming to be "free" will always have a cost, a penalty or a caveat

Mike31/01/2016 12:25:26
713 forum posts
6 photos

During my many years as a magazine editor, I was constantly being badgered by the idiots in the marketing department to use the words "win", "save", and "free" on the front cover. On the occasions I allowed these obnoxious words to be used, I always hoped that my readers saw through the bull**** and realised, like Nick_G, that it's all built into the price of the product.

MW31/01/2016 12:37:22
2051 forum posts
51 photos

wow,i'm surprised to hear that, sounds typical of a place to ignore the feedback of the people who actually read the print lol maybe the marketing departments have got alot of catching up to do.

Spurry31/01/2016 13:00:17
211 forum posts
71 photos

Free. That's nearly as bad as those who advertise something for a reasonable price, then in small print at the bottom - VAT to be added. Grrrh.


Nick_G31/01/2016 13:11:30
1808 forum posts
744 photos


Today we are all Victor Meldrew clones. laugh

Nick wink

John Stevenson31/01/2016 13:33:23
5068 forum posts
3 photos

Yabut at least we are all FREE Victor Meldrew clones

Mike31/01/2016 13:34:19
713 forum posts
6 photos

You and me, Nick_G!

Another thing that these marketing folk sincerely believe is that the attention span of the average reader is no more than 30 seconds. Doesn't say much for the human race, does it? Obviously it doesn't apply to ME and MEW readers!

David Clark 131/01/2016 14:04:26
3357 forum posts
112 photos
10 articles

Hi Mike it is a lot less than thirty seconds. It is about 8 seconds.

JA31/01/2016 14:32:46
1214 forum posts
73 photos

How about the word from. As in "Low cost broadband from £8/month".


Ian P31/01/2016 15:51:26
2512 forum posts
102 photos

A recent BT email newsletter I received was for a service that claimed to, 'get rid of 'up to' 100% of nuisance calls. (small text 'up to' large text 100%)

One unwanted call qualifies as a nuisance so the BT device or service, did not seem to be worth the cost, even if it was cheap.

Ian P

Gordon W31/01/2016 16:23:09
2011 forum posts

How about- congratulations you have won--- ? ebay. No I've just paid for it. BTW That BT " stop nuisance calls does not work, not with me anyway and it is expensive.

KWIL31/01/2016 16:23:10
3411 forum posts
66 photos

For "free" it should say "free of additional charge"

Ajohnw31/01/2016 16:30:16
3631 forum posts
160 photos

Many of the things mentioned are related to everything being dumbed down. I often wonder what IQ these people assume abounds in the general population. Clearly we all must be much thicker than a typical plank even an extremely strong one.

That's not being fair really. The fact is that stupid statements probably boost sales a little bit and that is all they care about really and don't care if it causes some people irritation. All they are really intended to do is to get people to look at what ever it is.

The UK's usual buy 2 get one free really means over priced or short dated / too much stock and not selling quickly enough. Our local co op has a new manager that has started doing that with all sorts of things.

I've found caller id is the best way to avoid answering nuisance phone calls. Near 100% of them come up out of area or with some none existent std codes. If we get it wrong there is an answer phone. I have been known to set that so that it answers after 2 rings in rather painful periods - claiming loan repayment insurance refunds hitting the heights for instance.




Edited By Ajohnw on 31/01/2016 16:32:06

ian j31/01/2016 16:30:18
304 forum posts
278 photos

What about the "THE FREE CASH" sign above some cash point machinessmiley


V8Eng31/01/2016 16:36:50
1625 forum posts
32 photos

One of my Granddad's favourite sayings was: "you don't get owt for nowt lad", I reckon that still stands!

Edited By V8Eng on 31/01/2016 16:39:58

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