As another example, consider the often advertised “free delivery” of appliances above a certain price from h.h. gregg. The fine print at the bottom of each ad clearly states that they are redefining the word “free” to not mean that you don’t get charged for it, but rather to mean that they charge you $79.99 and you then can send in paperwork within 30 days of purchase to get a prepaid charge card with that same amount on it. Among those things not spelled out in the fine print is that by defining the word “free” this way, you are paying an additional $5.60 in sales tax, as well as incurring the costs of mailing (stamps, envelopes, copying) and complying with their rules (if you don’t send in the right form, don’t send it in in time, etc., then you forgo the opportunity to get the prepaid card). Since, at a minimum, this form of free is costing $5.60, I have to confess that I liked the old definition better.
Emmett Dulaney is an Anderson resident and the author of several books on technology. His column usually appears Tuesdays.