This time of year, you see dealers claiming to be “giving away” stuff.
If you buy a car you get a “free” (note the quotes here) cruise, “free” TV, iPad, iPod, gift card or any number of things.
It reminds me of the famous quote by a former President. Remember this one? “It depends on what the meaning of the word is, is.”
This is where we have to discuss what the meaning of the word “free” is.
“Free” to me means someone hands you something and you get it with no obligation to give them something back. The lady at Wegmans who hands you that tasty bit of Gouda is actually handing out free stuff. The car dealer who overcharges you only to give you something back is not giving you something free. If you read the small print it’s “included in the price”, the higher price you pay.
Personally, I would call that transaction “giving you change”. Like as if you hand the fella behind the counter a five for the coffee and he handed you three back. Nobody (except maybe a car dealer) would claim that he is handing out free money. If a pickpocket scarfs a $20 from your wallet and hands you $5 back he, also, is not giving you free money.
Then there is the question. Do you really need the thing “included in your price”? Maybe you don’t. So I have my own idea.
I could hire an unemployed department store Santa to sit on my showroom floor and promise to give you anything you want if you bought your car at an inflated price. All we would have to do is to jack up the price of what we are selling you. I can include anything, a trip, electronic equipment, meds for your pet or asparagus for life. Just tell Santa and he will get it done! Don’t think it’s a good idea? Well, actually neither do I.
So I guess we will just keep on rolling with our “no-nonsense” and “no frills” deals and let the others do the gimmicky stuff. It’s just as well, all the Santas are employed this time of year anyway.