On a recent episode of CBS' Gary Unmarried, Gary's pretty new girlfriend brags about getting everything from valet parking to flat-panel televisions for free. Men, she implies, can't help but shower her with gifts because of her good looks and flirtatious personality.
But is it wrong to accept free goods and services? One could argue that in our tight economy, anything that trims costs should be embraced. But I can't help but feel that it's a bit wrong to do so.
First of all, nothing is really free. Accepting a television or even valet parking makes you somewhat indebted to the giver. You have to be extra nice to them, thank them profusely, and accept whatever it is they give you instead of what you may have wanted. The practice is also unfair. Why should outgoing and attractive people get all the freebies? What have they done to earn it?
That said, I'm not entirely against the practice. In some cases, it merely rewards repeat customers. Every now and then, my local Starbucks barista offers me a free latte. I thank him profusely, act extra nice, and leave the store without depleting my wallet.
What do you think -- do you accept free gifts, or do you deem the practice unethical?