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No freebies

The American people have always been big fans of what I call “the freebie.”
I mean the idea of getting something for nothing. I can remember a time way back when we would spend a lot of our free time clipping coupons. These days are no different. Ever so often the newspapers will advertise that certain issues contained many dollars in coupons, and shoppers still get great happiness out of finding the scissors, even before the arrival of the paper, so they can get at those valuable coupons. Back in the 20s, housewives would use all of the Octagon soap they could doing all of the household chores, because the soap wrappers contained coupons that could be cashed in for household itens. And their husbands would go out of their way to buy a certain brand of cigarettes that had a coupon on the package.
I remember a 1920s song that went, something like this, “The lady next door is chucked full of joy. The stork came today and brought a fine baby boy. Now I’m saving up coupons to get one of these. Yes, I’m saving up coupons to get one of those.”
Then along came the famous S and H Green Stamps that were issued out after the payment of the grocery bill, or sometimes bills for other necessary items. These stamps brought the collectors many different types of gifts that people felt that they just had to have to make it through life. If we could have only realized that we were paying for every one of those little stamps.
With the coming of television, all of the various kinds of stamps moved into the background, and advertisers went into the give away business in a really big way. First it was washing machines, stoves, and other household items as prizes. Then it moved into the big cash prizes. I remember back some years ago when the country music man from Galax kept everyone on the edge of their seats coming up with correct answers to all kinds of difficult questions, and finally winning somewhere in the neighborhood of a quarter of a million dollars. I believe this was Pop Stoneman, and he opened the door for other members of his family to reach the stage of The Grand Ole Opry, and the popular show Hee-Haw.
Now the give aways have reached a million dollars or more, and someone gets rich almost weekly with impossible answers. Too difficult questions.
All of this is fine, but then along came the lottery, that has made paupers out of wealthy people, because it changes them into comp ulsive gamblers. It has made many people wealthy, and some of them are dead broke in a short while, because they can’t stand the pressure of having all that money.
And now we who enjoy using the computer are continually blasted with emails that offer all kinds of free gifts if we will take the time to take the bait. There is one truth that I have learned as I travel down this road of life, and that is, freebies aren’t free.

Lloyd Mathews is a retired land surveyor and a historian who lives in Pulaski.

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No freebies

The American people have always been big fans of what I call “the freebie.”
I mean the idea of getting something for nothing. I can remember a time way back when we would spend a lot of our free time clipping coupons. These days are no different. Ever so often the newspapers will advertise that certain issues contained many dollars in coupons, and shoppers still get great happiness out of finding the scissors, even before the arrival of the paper, so they can get at those valuable coupons. Back in the 20s, housewives would use all of the Octagon soap they could doing all of the household chores, because the soap wrappers contained coupons that could be cashed in for household itens. And their husbands would go out of their way to buy a certain brand of cigarettes that had a coupon on the package.
I remember a 1920s song that went, something like this, “The lady next door is chucked full of joy. The stork came today and brought a fine baby boy. Now I’m saving up coupons to get one of these. Yes, I’m saving up coupons to get one of those.”
Then along came the famous S and H Green Stamps that were issued out after the payment of the grocery bill, or sometimes bills for other necessary items. These stamps brought the collectors many different types of gifts that people felt that they just had to have to make it through life. If we could have only realized that we were paying for every one of those little stamps.
With the coming of television, all of the various kinds of stamps moved into the background, and advertisers went into the give away business in a really big way. First it was washing machines, stoves, and other household items as prizes. Then it moved into the big cash prizes. I remember back some years ago when the country music man from Galax kept everyone on the edge of their seats coming up with correct answers to all kinds of difficult questions, and finally winning somewhere in the neighborhood of a quarter of a million dollars. I believe this was Pop Stoneman, and he opened the door for other members of his family to reach the stage of The Grand Ole Opry, and the popular show Hee-Haw.
Now the give aways have reached a million dollars or more, and someone gets rich almost weekly with impossible answers. Too difficult questions.
All of this is fine, but then along came the lottery, that has made paupers out of wealthy people, because it changes them into comp ulsive gamblers. It has made many people wealthy, and some of them are dead broke in a short while, because they can’t stand the pressure of having all that money.
And now we who enjoy using the computer are continually blasted with emails that offer all kinds of free gifts if we will take the time to take the bait. There is one truth that I have learned as I travel down this road of life, and that is, freebies aren’t free.

Lloyd Mathews is a retired land surveyor and a historian who lives in Pulaski.

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