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It Can Be Hard To Turn Down A Free Thing, Even When It Isn’t So Free!

July 12, 2011 · 17 comments

in Life, Personal Finance

For those that were not aware, July 11th is known as “Free Slurpee Day” at 7-11 stores.   All you have to do is walk in to 7-11, ask for a cup, fill it up with 7.11 ounces of Slurpee, and walk out the door.   You don’t have to buy anything at all, it is actually one of the few truly free things in life.

We have taken advantage of this deal numerous times.  Since  there are 7-11 stores all over the place where I live, I don’t have to drive far out of my way to find a 7-11 when I am out running errands.   However, when we do go, the kids are limited to only getting the free Slurpee, no other snacks are allowed.  (Having to go to the checkout and pay for something would kind of take the fun out of getting something for free in my opinion.)    This year though, I had nowhere I needed to go, so 4/5ths of us went Slurpee-free on July 11, 2011.  It was a different story for my oldest son though, who has a drivers license.  He and his friends met up at the high school, just so they could go to 7-11 as a group.

So How Much Did That Free Slurpee Really Cost?

Although it was fun to hang out with friends, the Slurpee wasn’t really all that free in my son’s case.   In the end, he put about 18 miles on the car to get this free, seven ounce drink.   Since the car gets about twenty miles to the gallon, the drink essentially cost about $3.50.  (That is just considering the cost of gas, not how much it REALLY costs to drive a car.)

I guess this is one situation where he paid for the ‘experience’ and not a product.  Regardless, I just kind of laughed when I realized that he really paid about fifty cents per ounce of free Slurpee.

Free May Ultimately Cost You In Other Areas Too

This situation is just a reminder that free things are not always completely free.  In this case, the cost of a free Slurpee was $3.50. However, the costs can be much higher in other situations, like when you sign up for a free trial offer and forget to cancel in time.  So, always really think twice before you sign up for anything that is free.  There is usually a reason behind any free offer, and chances are, that reason benefits the retailer and not you.

Did you go out and get a free Slurpee on July 11th?

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole July 12, 2011 at 7:08 am

No, no free slurpee.

In graduate school we learned well the lesson of eating free food whenever available. As a professor it is difficult to break that habit. But free cold domino’s pizza after one has already eaten a healthy lunch really should just be left alone.

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101 Centavos July 12, 2011 at 8:08 am

Clever marketing idea…
Fortunately or unfortunately, there are no 7-11’s in our area.

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The Biz of Life July 12, 2011 at 8:18 am

No free slurpee for me yesterday. But I’m sure 7/11 had a blow-out day selling slurpees.

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Moneycone July 12, 2011 at 8:51 am

I had a similar experience but not with slurpees! I had at some point signed up with a airline for their rewards (not credit card) and completely forgotten about it.

Out of the blue I got an email stating that my points were about to expire and I can use them either towards travel or merchandise. And the points were pretty high due to a few international trips.

I said what the heck, I’ll buy some merchandise. After browsing for hours, settled on a few gadgets and when I was about to checkout, I was asked for a CC number even though I had points left over! The points apparently don’t cover shipping and customs! And both were ridiculously high. (This was a foreign airline).

Or I could fly to the airline’s country of origin and pick up the merchandise for free!

I let the points expire.

Sometimes walking away is the best money saving move.

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No Debt MBA July 12, 2011 at 9:07 am

You’re absolutely right that even “free” items can often have a cost. I saw this deal yesterday and my SO and I opted out. There’s a 7-11 within walking distance of our home, but I don’t need more sugar in my life. Now if it’d been ice cream I might be telling a different story 😉

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Crystal @ BFS July 12, 2011 at 11:03 am

There aren’t many 7/11’s in our area anymore and Velero didn’t have free slurpee day. 🙁

I see all “free” items as costing me time to get, so it has to be something I really like before I will go out of my way – like free Chick Fila anything…

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Linda July 12, 2011 at 12:18 pm

No, I didn’t know about the free slurpee day. I do have a few 7-11s near me, but I can’t say I would have stopped in for a free slurpee anyway. Sugary drinks are rarely appealing to me, especially when it is hot outside. They seem to make me more thirsty instead of less!

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First Gen American July 12, 2011 at 1:22 pm

I don’t have a 7/11 within 2 hours of my house but I generally avoid the free days around here. Ben and Jerry’s usually does a free ice cream cone day once a year but it’s usually an hour wait or more to get it. An hour in line is definitely not worth the $3 I save.

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Nicole July 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm

W0RD.

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Lindy Mint July 12, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Darn. Missed it by one day! I’ll have to remember this one for next year.

It’s kind of like when I spend three hours of my day and drive 60 miles round trip to go to Ikea for “cheap” things. Doesn’t really pan out in the long run, but it is fun nonetheless.

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Krantcents July 12, 2011 at 4:52 pm

No, I don’t drink sugared products at all. BTW, your son really spent $9.99 for the slurpee. The U.S. government uses a rate of $.555 per mile effective July 1, 2011. The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile.

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Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager July 12, 2011 at 7:24 pm

No free Slurpee for me. The place ran out of cups! But my friend offered to buy me a small, which was super sweet. But I don’t think I’ve had THAT much sugar in a long time.

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Paula @ AffordAnything.org July 12, 2011 at 9:54 pm

I’ve stopped sending away from “free samples” for exactly this reason … it takes WAAAYYY too long — too much time, too much effort. It’s better to spend my time and my mental energy on earning more and/or building a business, not nickel-and-dime-ing.

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Lola July 13, 2011 at 8:17 pm

I got a free Mango Pineapple Smoothie at McDonald’s the day before the 4th of July. The hubs and I had decided to grab some breakfast there, and there was a sign up, saying the MP Smoothies were free all day long! So I got one (the hubs dislikes smoothies, not sure why) and it was pretty good. The cup had a $1 off coupon for the next one, so maybe I’ll try it again and see if it tastes as good at $1 off. I don’t know that I’ll ever work up to full price, though!

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Kris July 13, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Lola, smoothies have gotten so expensive, that is great you were able to get one for free! I am not a fan of mango, but I would have loved a free strawberry banana smoothie!

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3 beads July 19, 2011 at 1:03 am

After browsing for hours, settled on a few gadgets and when I was about to checkout, I was asked for a CC number even though I had points left over! The points apparently don’t cover shipping and customs! And both were ridiculously high.Great information about this matter, keep it up…

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number beads August 28, 2011 at 10:54 pm

yes absolutely right that even “free” items can often have a cost.After browsing for hours, settled on a few gadgets and when I was about to checkout, I was asked for a CC number even though I had points left over.And both were ridiculously high.Thanks for the information about this matter, keep it up…

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