14 January 2010

Life lessons

Free. What does the word free mean to you? 

In my mind, as most Americans, free is a gift or an item that you're given without paying or giving other services for it . 

But that's not true.  It's a lure to bring you in so you put your guard down.  I learned that in Egypt. 

"Free gift!" is not a free gift, it's an item they put in your hands and then get you to pay for it.  Unless you're me, I got my "free gift" without paying for it.  (It's called run away to the safety of the guarded cruise ship. LOL)    In fact one night on our cruise, Aarti and I were talking to our new found friend in the gift shop.  He pulled something out and told us it's a "free gift."  We looked at him and said "We know what free really means here in Egypt." and he just laughed.  It's funny because it's true. 

But it's true everywhere.  Come on, everyone has heard, "There's no such thing as a free gift."  It's true, you may think you're getting something for free but that's because you didn't read everything completely.  For example, you sign up for a free credit report and then you notice you're being charged $14.95 every month.  How can this happen?  That was free!  Yes it was free with an enrollment in their program that costs $14.95 a month.  And you just checked that box to continue without reading the information.

But I do know one thing that is truely free, thanks to identify theft!  You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report every year which you can get here.  But if you want your credit score you'll have to buy that!  You know, you should check your credit every year to make sure it's accurate.  It's a way to make sure your identity hasn't been stolen and accurate information is being reported.  You have the right to dispute any inaccurate information.

You know what else?

Scammers.  Or who I like to call scummers becasue they're scum. 

They're everywhere waiting to strike you when you least expect it.  And sadly they pop up during horrible disasters.  Remember that earthquake in Haiti that happened only a few days ago?  It breaks your heart and you want to help somehow, anyway possible.  Then you get a lovely email from a company asking for donations to help.  You think I can't personally go help, but I can at least donate some money to help them.  And then you click that link.  And you've just been scammed.  Here's a link to the FBI site for information and warnings on the Haiti Relief scams.

So what's the life lesson?  READ!  Read every single word before you sign, before you click submit / continue, before you click "I have read and understand the terms and conditions"  (Ok, I admit I don't read every terms and conditions but I will read enough to find out if it costs me money and how to cancel.)

And that's your lessons for tonight.  Sorry, I felt like being on a soap box tonight.


Sherri said...

I agree!
Mark and I are NEVER up for freebies..NEVER!
Thank you for your comment on my blog about Haiti. I wanted to put the information about donating to the LDS humanitarian fund...but I have to walk a fine line...since my blog represents my family, and Mark is not a member. I try as much as I can to let my testimony stand strong..but I also try to respect him. I was hoping someone would comment about that...and they did, second, and third! Thanks!
Oh I just want to add..."Freedom" is not Free either...it takes hundreds if not thousands of lives to win back rights that we loose!

laura said...

Great post. It's so easy to get emotional or excited and caught up in the moment and let your guard down. Great reminder! Thanks!!

Family Fun said...

Thank you for that post I totally agree. I really like the way you said as well.:)

Kim Despain said...

I saw a story on the news last night about Haiti relief scams ~ some people have no ethics and that's just sad. I also just saw that some Haitians are roaming the streets of Port au Prince with machetes and looting. I hope that anyone who takes advantage of a distastrous tradgedy is caught and punished!

Thanks for the life lesson reminder! Well said!

Nancy said...

So true...disasters bring the best out in good people and the worst out in bad people. Trouble is, media always tells you the negative. They won't tell you about the good people still trying to find people that are buried that might be alive, and the hours of sleep they have given up to help. All the good people that are helping the survivors any way they can. The aid from the church that is probably there right now (we don't toot our own horn). The scammers will get theirs someday, sweet justice, now or later.

The Steve said...

Dear Friend.

As you read this, I don't want you to feel sorry for me, because, I believe everyone will die someday.

My name is The Steve,a merchant in Alaska.I have been diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer which was discovered very late,due to my laxity in carrying for my health. It has defiled all forms of medicine, and right now I have only about a few months to live, according to medical experts.

I have not particularly lived my life so well, as I never really cared for anyone not even myself but my business. Though I am very rich, I was never generous, I was always hostile to people and only focus on my business as that was the only thing I cared for. But now I regret all this as I now know that there is more to life than just wanting to have or make all the money in the world. I believe when God gives me a second chance to come to this world I would live my life a different way from how I have lived it.

Now that God ! has called me, I have willed and given most of my properties and assets to my immediate and extended family members and as well as a few close friends. I want God to be merciful to me and accept my soul and so, I have decided to give arms to charity organizations and give succour and confort to the less priviledged in our societies, as I want this to be one of the last good deeds I do on earth.

So far, I have distributed money to some charity organizations in the U.A.E, Algeria and Malaysia. Now that my health has deteriorated so badly, I cannot do this my self anymore. I once asked members of my family to close one of my accounts and distribute the money which I have there to charity organization and to the less priviledged in Bulgaria and Pakistan, they refused and kept the money to themselves. Hence, I do not trust them anymore, as they seem not to be contended with what I have left for them.

The last of my money which no one knows of is the huge cash deposit of twenty four million dollars that I have with a Security Company in Europe for safe keeping. I will want you to help me collect this deposit and disburse it to some charity organizations and to the less priviledged.

Please send me a mail to indicate if you will assist me in this disbursement.

I have set aside 10% for you for your time and patience.

You can e-mail me at:

While I await to hear from you, may God be with you and your entire family.

Remain blessed.

Mr. The Steve

neffie said...

Oh, Steve! You're so funny! Did you get this Nigerian Sca?