One day a year, the good folks at Ben & Jerry's give away a free cone to anyone that comes in to one of their stores. It's part of showing gratitude to their customer base. I'm sure they hope to win new customers and it's good PR. Yesterday was that day. My husband and son went in to collect theirs and encountered a really rude employee. I'm sure she was inundated by the crowds, but at the same time, she should be glad to have a job in this economy. Right?
Let's move on to America Online. Several years back, executives at AOL decided that they would make their services free to anyone who already had internet access. Millions of subscribers quickly changed over. Here's the catch--if you are not a paying member, they don't provide any technical support. So, if their service happens to hit a kink, which it frequently does, they won't talk to you.
Finally, I've been hearing a lot lately about Acai berry scams. The Acai berry was touted to be the best thing since the birth control pill. It was supposed to be high in antioxidants and very good for your health--so good that they would give you a supply for free. The catch was--when you signed up for your free batch, you had to give your credit card number to continue to receive it after your free batch ran out. Unfortunately, most folks started getting charged long before they even received the free supply. Many had to actually cancel the credit card in order to stop the charges.
The moral of the story is--Sometimes it's better to pay for services and have recourse, than to be at the mercy of a freebie. What do you think? Any more examples?