Remember “free nights and weekends”?
In early days of cellular telephones, providers would offer free nights and weekend calling to attempt to set their plans apart from the others. They were great deals, a natural bragging point in conversation:
“I have Cingular and it’s great and I have free nights and weekends.”
The idea of limitless consumption for no/limited cost is something we are obsessed about. That’s why people flock to Cici’s Pizza Buffet, jump on a sale if free shipping is thrown in, fill our devices with apps- just as long as it’s free.
Free is an interesting force- when we are introduced to something as a free commodity it sets a very high bar. It becomes harder to put a price on it later on, we’re already used to it as free. It’s why newspapers and print publications struggle to put a price on content online. It’s why Napster and Limewire forced the music industry to fundamentally change. It’s why Louis CK had to rethink video distribution when he decided to release his latest comedy special.
Once something is free, we expect it to always be free. Once something that used to cost something becomes free- we realize the added value of such a service.
Now free nights and weekends is expected with cell phone plans. Meanwhile I don’t know why anybody would pay for a tire rotation anymore when more and more shops are offering lifetime rotation and balances when you purchase a set of tires.
Never underestimate the power of free.