Dear A.L.,First of all, I am so glad that you finally decided to start this column. I have so many burning questions that need to be answered. I realize that you cannot answer all of my questions, but I have one that has bothered me for the majority of my days here at Goshen College. Why do people love free T-shirts so much?
Dazed and Confused
Goshen College, as a Mennonite school, likes to promote frugality, especially in this time of economic and ecological distress. It is not only the fact that everyone likes free T-shirts – anything free is greatly accepted.
Say that next week you happen to run into someone wielding a brand new AK-47. You ask, “Where’d you get that?!” The proud frugal Mennonite woman responds, “They’re giving them away in the R.F.C. tonight to the first 100 people! You better get over there quick. Normally I would never condone owning such a thing, but hey, they’re free, and who can pass up free stuff, right?”
Even worse, free things may end up being sneaky traps. Example: Bryce Bow was giving away free bite-sized Snickers candy for anyone willing to take the time to shoot free throws for 30 minutes a week for the rest of their lives. This scam has taken hundreds of people. When asked if they knew what contract they were signing, the majority answer was, “Bryce was giving free candy away. What was I supposed to do?”
Although the mindless acquisition of free things is seemingly harmless through the eyes of a Lehman, after analyzing the Mennonite tradition of raiding T-shirt give-a-ways and other various freebies, we have found that it is anything but harmless. Free things lead us to obliviously sacrifice our morals to save some money or commit ourselves to becoming a free-throw-shooting-nobody all in the name of “free stuff.”