Friday, October 22, 2010

Just Because It's Free?

I've definitely relayed numerous times my life of things that are free. When I don't need to lay out money to get something, I'll definitely take it much quicker than if I needed to pay to get the same thing.
The question comes down to- is it worth taking anything, just because it's free? I mean, if I'm paying nothing for something, why not take it?

I guess in my mind, the answer to this is a multi-part one.

Sometimes something free will make my life more annoying. Clutter is annoying, I've come to discover. Random objects strewn throughout my very small home do not enhance my life; what I chose to keep, I want to have value. Aesthetic value, though not paramount to me, definitely plays a part in whether I chose to keep something or not.
I've dumpster dived plenty of times, but when something looks bad, at this point in my life, I'll probably chose not to keep it, unless I have a specific need for it.

If something is morally wrong, I won't take it, even if it is free. When might something be morally wrong to take or own? That's a tough question to answer, but sometimes you just know the answer in your gut.
If you know something was made via slave labor, you might feel guilty about owning it, even if ownership of the item won't make a difference to the slaves who made it.
Alternatively, if taking something free means that there will be less of it and someone who might be more deserving can no longer have it, it may be morally wrong to take that free thing.

But lastly, and the reason that triggered my writing this, is health reasons.
I definitely am mindful of what food I put into my body and the mouths of my kids. I make everything (nearly) from scratch, trying to keep our food as chemical free as our financial situation allows. Specifically, I try to avoid ingesting artificial food coloring, artificial flavorings, artificial sweeteners, and monosodium glutamate. I believe that ingesting these things is quite detrimental to our health.
If I were offered free food, either via coupons or a present or a sample of something that I find particularly unhealthy, I wouldn't take it. Nope, I definitely would not.
Someone let me know that I can get free formula samples. I'm a nursing mom all the way- neither of my boys have even tasted a drop of formula. While I definitely do not judge parents who formula feed their children and understand that it is definitely necessary in certain situations, in mine, it certainly was not.
In my opinion, there are too many chemicals added to formula for me to feel comfortable giving it to my child unless the choice was starvation or formula. I'd chose a wet-nurse over formula feeding any day (and I have). So no thank you on that formula sample. I'll be turning it down. I don't want it, even if it is free.

So there you have it- three reasons why I'll turn down something free.

What about you? Will you take anything just because it's free? What are your factors that you weigh when you decide if you'll be accepting the offer of something free?

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