The economics profession, of which The Dismal Political Economist is a member, if fond of quoting the familiar chestnut that there is no such thing as a free lunch. This is meant to illustrate the concept of tradeoffs; in economics no benefit can be derived without some cost, and the critical element of economic decision making is correctly identifying the costs and benefits and making the right decision.
But some of us do not take the ‘No Free Lunch’ concept literally. In fact, shop at many of the large food outlets and one can find a lot of free samples, almost enough to make a meal. And this is not taking advantage of a situation, occasionally one learns of a good, tasty product and buys it. But based on this story maybe a change in behavior is warranted.
A word to the wise and all that stuff . . .
Grabbing a Quick, and Unpleasant, BiteBy WINTON J. TOLLES
I am walking down Lexington Avenue on the Upper East Side. I have missed lunch and am late for a meeting when I pass a store handing out free samples. I grab three pieces, say a quick thank you, thrust the nourishment into my mouth and keeping moving.
The cheese tastes awful, but maybe it is an acquired taste. The more I chew, the worse it tastes, and my mouth is now full of a horrible, dreadfully unpleasant concoction. Since I am walking on Lexington Avenue, it is not appropriate to spit up on the sidewalk or the curb, so I have to keep chewing.
I use all my tenacity and swallow this horrid cheese sample.
At this point I am so angry that a store would foist this dish on a consumer that although I am late for a meeting, I reverse course and return to the scene of the sample.
I accost the young lady who is handing out the samples in a very loud voice:
“That cheese was horrible. How can you give that out!”
She looks at me, hesitates, and then says uncertainly, “But these are samples of soap.”
I retreat quickly.