What’s wrong with free?

So I logged into WordPress today, contemplating writing a post about the books I’ve been reading and how much work is a drag on, well, everything, when I noticed the Freshly Pressed page had some things that caught my eye.  Two I dismissed as just ranting (imagine the gall of a blogger who rants incessantly!) and the other just got under my skin.

This post claims the reason people don’t want to spend money to use, say, Twitter, is because we’ve become accustomed to getting things for free on the internet, despite “shelling out the cash” for music and books in stores.  I disagree.

How long did it take for people to start “shelling out the cash” for things like Cable TV, Satellite, and Internet access?  Isn’t the RIAA still throwing a fit over piracy?  And then there’s the movie pirating which has led to every movie I’ve recently watched, both on DVD and on the big screen, to having a piracy PSA before the previews.  So is it, in fact, an Internet issue, or simply a human issue?

I’m not gonna lie, I don’t think we should have to pay for anything, period.  That’s not to say everything should be completely free, per se, but money is a lost cause.  What’s all that paper based on, anyway?  Many of these big businesses don’t pay for anything, really, as it’s all done on credit.  It’s pretend money.  I worked for a small restaurant two years ago and the guy didn’t pay rent or utilities for the first year.  He didn’t make it that long, so what did he end up doing to cover those expenses he hadn’t yet paid?  I’ve had several jobs where, as a manager, I signed an invoice stating we owed X company Y dollars for Z merchandise, but I never saw anything get paid except for in an Excel SpreadSheet.  When did it get paid, and by whom?

There are tons of people who couldn’t imagine walking into a store/restaurant/bar/cafe, acquiring food/supplies/drinks/etc, and then not paying for said merchandise.  Yet we do it everyday, with every swipe of our credit card.  I’ve had a credit card.  I maxed that little thing out to the tune of $2,000 dollars, which Providian Bank kindly paid, and then never paid it off.***

No one called me to ask where the money was, nor did anyone come and claim my merchandise back.  And it’s not even on my Credit History…anywhere.

The Internet doesn’t have a free problem, people do.

***As a side note, I wasn’t actually allowed to pay that bill.  Back in early 2002 Providian Bank sold $4.2 million in (Visa) accounts to a Pakistan based (MasterCard) company, who then was unreachable and never sent out cards or information.  Providian wouldn’t give me the information to reach them, nor could I pay my bill to them, and the Pakistani company was unable to help me without an account number, which they failed to provide me.  Thus, I got off scot-free, so to speak.  But look how many people have umpteen thousands (or more) in Credit Card debt that they can’t (or won’t) pay?  How many of them, exactly, have been prosecuted and put in prison for theft/larceny/whatever the charge may be?  Or even taken to court and forced to pay restitution?  I’ve heard of people being threatened, but I have yet to hear anything short of a Buelleresque “My sister’s boyfriend’s cousin’s aunt’s neighbor in Nebraska has a dog who gets groomed by a lady who…” about it, nothing concrete.  Ever.  So what’s that say?

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1 Comment

  1. Everyone loves free…..except when free comes with jail time. Then everyone is like…oh I was going to pay for that.
    Besides I agree…money is a construct.


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