Is it OK to waste “Government money?”

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

The phone rang a few minutes ago with a call from someone who said he was with Medicare. He wanted to update my address – and he wanted to send me something “free."


Because I’ve been to a chiropractor for back pain, he insisted that I needed a new, lightweight, comfortable, wrap-around back brace.

I said “No thank you” and got him really upset. He insisted that I really needed it. I replied that it would be a waste of money because I wouldn’t use it. It would sit on a shelf, taking up storage space in my home.

“But you don’t understand! It won’t cost you anything. It’s free!” I repeated the fact that I didn’t want it, and told him it was not free – "Government money," otherwise known as taxpayer money, would pay for it.

So he repeated himself… Somehow, I was supposed to understand that waste was fine, as long as it didn’t come out of my own pocket.

Finally I said “No, you don’t understand. You want me to take something I don’t need, don’t want, and won’t use, because it won’t cost me anything. But it does. It costs taxpayers and I’m a taxpayer. I don’t like it when the government throws away money and I’m sure not going to add to the problem.”

He kept on arguing, so I hung up.

Am I wrong to be annoyed by the whole idea behind this call?

Aside from the fact that I don’t need any more “stuff” cluttering up the house, am I wrong to turn down a “free” gift paid for with taxpayer funds? I could justify it by thinking about how much I pay for Medicare each month and the fact that I (thankfully) don’t use that insurance for anything except occasional visits to the chiropractor.

But – isn’t wasting taxpayer money still wrong?

Comments (9)

Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Marte- which may be another reason to consider private companies for certain things. When they're not responsible for the bottom line then they don't care, do they. In their minds, it's free!  

Jul 11, 2018 06:21 PM
Evelina Tsigelnitskaya
SIB Realty - Sunny Isles Beach, FL


Thank you. You are the best. 

Free is always not free. 

Thank you!

Jul 11, 2018 06:45 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Kathy Streib - Yes, that may be the primary problem with our national debt. Our elected officials spend money without hesitation because it doesn't come out of their personal pockets. Of course they're wrong - it does. If we work and pay taxes, it comes out of all of our pockets.

Jul 11, 2018 08:07 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Evelina Tsigelnitskaya - I remember my Grandfather telling me "Nothing is free" when I was just a little kid and had found an ad for a free something in a comic book.

And then there's my husband's favorite saying "There's no such thing as a free puppy." He refers, of course, to the cost of spay or neuter, shots, food, bedding, toys, and on and on.

One way or another, there's a price for everything.

Jul 11, 2018 08:11 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Right with you there, Marte! I find it hard to understand that people think things from the government are "free" somehow. Government does not generate income or money.... we pay with our taxes for those "freebies." 

Jul 12, 2018 03:47 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Nina Hollander - Exactly. You and I understand it. Now if we could just get all those folks in Congress to understand it...

Jul 12, 2018 10:10 AM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster Real Estate - Gainesville, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

I'm one hundred percent with you.  I hate the idea of waste.  Nothing in this world is truly free.  It's costing someone something.

Jul 12, 2018 06:09 PM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

I must try this in my practice; arguing with a prospect must be a new success technique Marte...

Jul 14, 2018 10:02 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Chris Ann Cleland - No, nothing is free. Even things like good will must be earned somehow.

Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®,CRS, - I had a call similar to this one a few months ago, and that guy was even worse. After I told him no a few times and he kept on talking, I hung up on him. He called back immediately to ask why I had hung up - he was only trying to help me.

I suppose there are many who would accept that "free" merchandise without a thought - even if they didn't need it.

Jul 15, 2018 01:23 PM