How expensive is your free? How much are you really willing to spend for something that is allegedly free? I’ve realised that we end up paying way more than our money in our want for free. There are things that are more valuable; your attention, your time is more expensive than the money you earn and spend.
I was in Chaayos the other day, standing in the queue right behind a woman who was accompanied by her friend and a kid. “I have a free tea”, the woman said. “Alright, ma’am”, said the attendant, “just enter your number, choose the free tea option and enter the password you receive on your phone”.
“Okay”, said the woman. That was when the issue began. Turns out the number belonged to her husband. The queue kept getting longer and her husband didn’t answer her call. “You just give us the tea and I’ll give you the code afterwards”, said the woman.
“That would be a problem, ma’am. This is an automated system and it won’t generate an order until you give the one-time-password”, said the attendant again, as calmly as he could. However, the frustration leaked through his face. It leaked through all of our faces.
The problem here was two-part. The woman won’t budge. The husband won’t answer her phone calls. As a result, the queue kept getting longer.
How Could This Be Solved?
Well, if you ask me. She could have skipped on the free tea and saved everyone the trouble. The attendant would’ve liked his job for another day.
The people in the queue would’ve gotten their tea on time. She would’ve gotten her tea on time. However, her fixation on claiming her husband’s free tea promotion rendered all logic useless and there we were some eight or ten people standing in a rather small café.
It Happens Everywhere
We spend money so that we’re eligible for offers. We earn loyalty points for spending money. The loyalty points make us spend more money. If it’s not about loyalty, it’s about other perks. If not that, it is just cool because it’s a nation-wide promotion.
Else, it’s just virtual money that you can only spend when you get some extra amount of money. Maybe it’s you finding that perfect discount voucher or creating a completely new email address to claim some benefit.
If you believe you have a few hours to spare on the weekend, go stand in the promotional queue and have a few interactions. If not, don’t bother. It isn’t worth it. If you can get the free tea as seamlessly as it is intended to be, go on. If it’s someone else’s bonus, maybe let them claim it when they come down to the outlet?
Ultimately, I believe it all comes down to if the free commodity is worth whatever you’re exchanging for it, even if it’s intangible. Before you get hyped on the four letter word, just close your eyes for a second and ask yourself what you’re exchanging for it. You’ll know.