Free Lunch: Paying Full Price Is Worth It

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Free Lunch - Dre BaldwinIn elementary, I always brought my lunch to school with me, in a lunchbox or brown paper bag. There were some kids, though, who didn’t bring anything — they received “free” lunch every day.

I was envious.

So envious, in fact, that my mom would give me $2 or $5 or whatever it was every Friday to buy the Friday free lunch: a boxed, out-of-the-freezer, re-heated pizza. The pizza didn’t taste that great. The lunches my mom made tasted better. I think what I was really after was the idea of pizza at school, and eating what the majority of the other kids were having.

As I grew older I learned that those free lunches weren’t free at all: we all were paying for them as a group, and mine wasn’t even pretend-free.

As I grew and learned even more, I realized that not a single tangible thing in life is free. I took a statistics class in college one summer; the only lesson I remember from that professor was The First Rule of Economics: There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch.

There is a cost somewhere, being paid by someone, for everything you think you’re getting away with not paying for. It gets passed on to others, for the moment, and eventually comes back to you in ways you would never think of.

Better-off paying full price the first time.

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