No Such Thing as a Free Brekker Ei­ther

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

Mil­ton Fried­man didn’t in­vent the phrase “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” — now a mnemonic, TANSTAAFL — but was ob­vi­ously im­pressed enough by its ve­rac­ity to en­shrine it as the ti­tle of a book. In­deed, no one would dis­pute that very few things in this world come ‘free’ or at least with­out any riders. Even the lunches that gave rise to the phrase — of­fered by 19th-cen­tury bars in the US to pa­trons who bought drinks there — were not laid out free of cost. The era of those orig­i­nal free lunches is long past, but the cur­rent ‘free break­fast buf­fet’ is cer­tainly a fea­ture of ho­tels that guests do not pass up eas­ily, even if they just snaf­fle a fruit or muf­fin on the way out. That the cost of the spread is built into the room charges — much like what is ‘of­fered’ to air­line pas­sen­gers is in­cluded in the ticket cost — is ob­vi­ous to fre­quent trav­ellers. No won­der the cabin crew of Air In­dia did not think there was any­thing amiss in fill­ing up boxes from the buf­fet in their UK ho­tel to munch on later, as it is al­leged. They prob­a­bly think it is not un­like pas­sen­gers at the front of aero­planes tak­ing items from the open bar to en­joy in their first-class ‘suites’ or the rest stash­ing away ex­tra jam pouches and buns from their plas­tic in­flight food trays to wolf down later. The take­away from this? TANSTAAFB ei­ther.

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