Mahilig ka ba sa libre? (Beware of the Price of Free)

Mahilig ka ba sa libre? (Beware of the Price of Free)

Sep 14, 2022

Psst… Mahilig ka ba sa libre?

Chances are, you’ll answer yes. Who doesn’t like freebies? Isn’t availing of freebies exercising high FQ? Well, it could be, provided that you really understand the price you’re paying for that most attractive price tag of zero.

Yup, zero or free is the most attractive price tag as we imagine ourselves getting something of value without coughing out cash. We say to ourselves, “Siguradong kita ito, walang lugi, kasi wala naman akong binayaran!” We imagine ourselves to be in a better place compared to where we were prior to receiving the free stuff. But are we?

Let’s look at some examples.

1. Interest-free 12 months to pay on your credit card. However, when you ask the salesman, “What’s the difference if I pay the entire amount in cash?” Usually, the answer is, “Sir/Ma’am, you get a cash discount of 10% on the total amount.” So, is it free?  

2. Free milk tea to those who joined the fun run. But the line is like a long snake that it might take you 45 minutes to an hour before you finally get your free milk tea. What is the cost of your time lining up for an hour?

3. Free pica-pica in a bar. But if you check out the price of one bottle of beer, it is 20% higher than the bars down the block. So, are your peanuts and chips in this bar really free?

4. Free lunch and workshop on investing. After an hour of presentation over sumptuous lunch, you get bombarded with so many products to buy, you somehow end up getting one you don’t really need because you knew the cost of that buffet lunch you gladly ate. In the end, you may say to yourself, “There is no such thing as free lunch!”

5. “You won a television set! Come to our office to claim your prize!” Then you arrive there with a number of fellow winners. You all listen to this seminar on how great their products/services are and you are very lucky because you are among the chosen ones who can buy them at discounted prices… before you can get your free tv. So, is the tv really free? The more basic question is, “Did you even join a contest or raffle?”

6. Free use of this and that app. But before we can use the app, we have to give information like email address, birthday, etc. Then while we use the app we share our information such as our spending habits, travel, viewing, etc. Do you know the cost of gathering all this information from consumers like you?

7. Coke Zero. Have you ever wondered why Coke had to come up with another variant for weight watchers and call it Coke Zero? Because of the power of the number zero on our Emotional Emong side, Coke Zero is doing a lot better than the other variants.

8. Free product for a minimum purchase value. “Ma’am/Sir, baka gusto nyong dagdagan pa para maging Php 5,000, para maka-avail kayo ng libreng pouch bag.” If it’s just a few more pesos, we readily add other products in order to get that freebie. The thing is, we usually end up with clutter because we really didn’t need that pouch, nor that additional product we purchased.

9. Free Financial Advice. Beware of the advice given by “financial advisers” who will not charge you anything for their advice. Check out the suitability of the financial products they will sell to you from which they earn commissions. It’s very difficult to avoid conflict of interest in this situation.

Free is the invisible price that we pay using our time, effort, attention, information, hope, and in some cases, even money.

But free is such a powerful marketing tool even for those who are rich enough to afford luxuries in life. Our Makatwirang Mak is no match to our Emotional Emong once we hear the magic word libre! The price of zero is psychologically much more attractive than any other price. It excites us irrationally like no other number or huge discount can do!  We usually feel that there is no downside because we didn’t pay anything. It gives us a thrill to get something, enjoy utility without cost (or so we think). It makes us go to a restaurant, fall in line for hours, listen to sales pitches, give our information, and even pay for something we don’t need in order to get something else for free.

So, the next time you are faced with a decision whether to avail of something for free, ask yourself the question, “If this weren’t free, if I had to pay a fair price, would I still buy it?” If the answer is no, then maybe you should pass up on that chance to get it for free.” This will free you up from false hopes and expectations, use of your resources such as time, storage space, etc.

Cheers to discerning consumers!



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Attribution: Image from shefinds