The High Cost of Free
Last Thursday night was designated family night at the Casa de la Franks, a night where we temporarily gave up the individual staring at iPads, iPods, iPhones and iPreciouses for the collective staring at the usTV. I had a code for a free Redbox rental, so I swung by on the way home and picked up Disney’s A Christmas Carol.
Let me pause for a moment and say it was the wrong movie choice. I knew it was the wrong movie choice within the first six seconds, but in my pride of watching a free movie I stuck with it, and I made my family do the same.
Disney’s A Christmas Carol blends the worst of the worst Disney movies ever. Take the depressing elderly death metanarrative of Up, combine it with the fun loving undead holiday zombie world of The Nightmare Before Christmas, and top it off with the annoying vocal antics of Martin Short / Jack Frost in The Santa Clause 2, and you just begin to understand the horrific nature of Jim Carrey in A Christmas Carol. Nothing says, “Hey two year old daughter, I want to scar you for life and make sure you’re in therapy when you’re 36.” quite like exposing her to the ghostly storyline of that movie.
But I digress. Bad movie or not, it was free. Or at least it should have been. Because when I left the house on Friday, I forgot to return the movie. Saturday brought a full day of stuff on the honey-do list, and on my TWO errands when I got out and about, I forgot to return the movie. On Sunday I put the DVD in my car, planning to return it on the way home from church, but then Merriem and I swapped cars and it was out of sight, out of mind. This morning I meant to take it on my way into the office, but – you guessed it – it’s still sitting in the passenger seat.
That stupid free movie has cost me over three bucks so far, and the price is going up by the day.
Editor’s Note: what does this have to do with anything?
Well, that’s where this analogy gets all dressed up and has no place to go. That’s where I need you, dear reader, to fill in the blanks. That’s where – if this post bombs – you kind of have to admit that it’s your fault and not mine. (After all, I’m too busy forgetting to return movies to be able to draw all the conclusions for you.)
In the church world, I know we do free stuff all the time that ends up having a high cost. I know that things that look like a great deal economically end up breaking the bank in the long run. I know the bargains turn into boondoggles.
So in your experience, what are those things? I’m curious to hear from you. Comment below.