Sunday, April 1, 2007

This Column is Free for All to View; No Paying Customers Permitted

I know I rant and reflect about money every so often, but lately I've gotten really annoyed with the fact that people have to pay for literally everything anymore. Of course there's no such thing as a free lunch, but I find it distressing that we now find ourselves having to pay for things that we never would have before. For instance...

-Kids don't play baseball in an empty lot anymore. They have to pay for Little League. Granted I loved my Little League days, but I NEVER see a game of sandlot baseball. It's free! Go play!
-Listening to the radio has become an expense. With XM and Sirius now in the mix, people are opting to pay monthly subscription fees to avoid commercials. I haven't gotten to this point yet, but I can understand why people don't mind coughing up some dollar bills for these services. The radio is really brutal sometimes, playing the same songs repeatedly, not much variety, and running terrible commercials. Isn't there a way we can have more tolerable commercials AND better music?
-Cable TV has made a killing on monthly payments, and yet still offers lame programming. I just read somewhere that the number of channels people watch is declining while the number of channels people receive is increasing, along with monthly bills. Talk about inefficiency there.
-Financial matters are now a pay to play ballgame. Used to be that people worked hard and loyally for companies and received a comfortable pension to support them in the Golden Years. Now mostly everybody is on their own fending for themselves to pay for mutual fund costs, trading commissions, hourly rates from financial planners, and so on. I feel bad for the people who can't afford to pay for figuring out how to make and save money for retirement.
-Exercise is no longer free. Used to be that people took a walk around the block or got a pickup game of basketball every week for exercise. Now, we feel obligated to pay to join a gym and use the facilities less than we hope to when we sign up.
-Want a higher paying job? Time to go into major debt by going back to school for a degree. Granted, I enjoy learning very much, but I think we're starting to suffer by not having as much on-the-job training. Compared to gaining experience by performing hands-on applications, burying your nose in a book is a much less straightforward and powerful way of learning, in my eyes.

I could go on, but I think you get my point. And you can thank me later for not charging you to read this post! ;-)

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