The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Friday, September 14, 2007

Another Four-Letter Word that Starts with F

by Melissa Bell

They say the best things in life are free. “They”, obviously, did not include an individual at a former place of employment – an individual who considered pretty much anything to be a superior item as long as it was out of the price range of 99.99% of everybody on the planet. However, if said item was beyond even his own huge paycheque, then said item was simply an overpriced piece of junk.

There is one best thing in life, however, that is even better than free. But you have to smoke cigarettes to really enjoy the pay-off. Like banging one’s head against a wall repeatedly, the full appreciation of a pain-free existence can only be realized when the head-banging ends. And so it has been with smoking. I walked into my neighbourhood convenience store today to cash in my 6/49 tickets (two free plays – go me!) and saw that my old brand of cig was up to $9.25 for a pack of 25. Let’s do the math on that for a bit, shall we? That’s a lot – no, that’s an obscene amount – of money every month spent on something that is dirty, smelly, and downright deadly. So I’m grateful I used to smoke. And then quit. Otherwise I would have missed out on that feel-good moment today.

Other “free” stuff that happened recently:

- With a coupon that came in the mail, I was able to get a free sample box of [insert ‘ladies’ only’ personal item here] a few weeks ago. Upon opening one of the personal items in the box, however, it was of a condition that was certainly not fit for personal use. I suppose if I were living in the U.S., I’d be a millionaire now because of what I found. But for this Canadian gal, straight reimbursement wasn’t even an issue – how could I be entitled to something I didn’t even pay for? However I did take some pictures and e-mailed them to the company. (Hi! Look at me! I have free time!) They sent me $20 more in free product coupons and return postage for the box. I thought that was very nice.

- Also a few weeks ago, a young man arrived at my doorstep with several new energy-efficient light bulbs, a water-saving showerhead, a new aerator for my kitchen faucet, and a piece of foam pipe insulation. He just handed them to me – they were free. Or kind of free. “From the government,” he said. Huh. I love this country.

- I’ve been collecting Air Miles and PetroPoints for a while now. For the former, I don’t even bother considering collecting enough for any air travel – but as long as I keep collecting them, I don’t think I’ll ever have to pay for a ticket to the ROM ever again. As for the former, I’m looking at a future of never having to spend another penny for windshield washer anti-freeze or gas station beef jerky. Boo-yah.

- Make-up counters are big on the freebies. So they should be, given the outrageous mark-ups on the products. But still. Watching the salesperson at my health shoppe toss little sample bits of this and that into the bag before she hands me my purchase is one of life’s little girly thrills. Sucks for the environment (Hello there, extra packaging!) but hey, at least I’m not smoking.

- Pre-paid envelopes. I have a question of a potentially criminal nature. Say one gets one of those pre-paid envelopes in a piece of unsolicited mail – instead of throwing the pre-paid envelope away, is it okay to cross off the pre-printed address and write in the address of someone else? I’ve never done this, but I just thought about it now. Would it be considered “stealing” or “repurposing”? WWJD? Answers appreciated.

Have a lovely Friday, friends, and if you get a proper weekend, do have fun with it!


Blogger Anne C. said...

What a shocking twist ending! Repurposing postage-paid envelopes? I dunno.

Fri Sep 14, 07:09:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

It's good to reflect from time to time on just what IS free. Thanks, Mel. As for the envelope switcheroo, I'm not sure it would work as I believe there's a specific permit number that directs the P.O. charge back to the sponsor. People might come to your door. Big, scary people wielding government badges,

Fri Sep 14, 01:44:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...

Another lovely post, Mel.

Sat Sep 15, 10:06:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...

Way to stay strong, Mel. Smoking will someday go the way of the dinosaurs.

Sun Sep 16, 11:00:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger tamara said...

Congratulations on your keeping up the good fight. I quit back when they were around five bucks and felt the free-money thing too. Yeah, I'm pretty sure the switcheroo cannot be done on the envelopes ;)

Mon Sep 17, 01:07:00 pm GMT-4  

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