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My friend Adrienne had a problem last night. She’s a barista and was closing up the coffee cart. I was her last customer.

“Want a danish?” she says. “It’s free.”

“What’s wrong with it?” I ask. “Day-old? Fell on the floor?”

“No. It’s just left over. They’ll be old tomorrow. I’m closing down. Hey, I’m offering you something for free. That should appeal to you, 'specially.”

Ouch. But, problem is, I just don’t feel like it.

So, next bunch of passersby, she leans out through the counter. “Would you like a free danish?”

The group stops. They kind of sniff, as if to determine what the conspiracy might be. They look at the tray like it’s got slimy toads on it.

“Uh, no thanks.”

“Free danish?” Adrienne says to a mom wheeling her kid along.

“What’s the catch?” says the mom.

“None.”

“No, thanks.”

“Free danish?” Two guys walking their road bikes along stop.

“What’s this, Girl Scouts? Do we have to join something? You with Obama? Perry?” says one of them.

“You know what?” I say to Adrienne, “I bet if you offered them half price, then people would take them. Then they feel they’re getting a deal. This way, free, they feel you’re trying to hook them in, put them under some obligation. I tell you: offer them half price.”

“Can’t. Then my boss would look at the receipts. He’d ask why I only charged half…it's just not worth it.”

Sigh. Maybe this is why there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Nobody will eat it.

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Comments

Ponzi Sept. 28, 2011 @ 5:33 p.m.

Next time he should just say they are 50% off and offer them for a dollar. San Diegans are always looking for a bargain. Notice how they will line up and wait for hours for a free burrito.

Charging something gives it value appeal. It is why people line up and wait to pay $5.00 for a fifty-cent coffee at Starbucks. They think its status and that they “got it going on” by blowing their money on a coffee.

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