The Difference Between Free, Gift and Bonus
The inaccurate use of ‘Free’ and ‘Gift’ is a type of marketing that is truly irritating. It is a misuse of English and is meant to spur buyers into purchasing something in the misguided belief they are getting something for nothing.
According to Merriam-Webster online:
free (when referring to money) – means ‘not costing any money’
gift – means ‘something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation’
bonus – means ‘something in addition to what is expected or strictly due’
However – as consumers we are constantly bombarded with marketing terms like:
Free with the purchase of … – NO – this is a bonus it is NOT Free
Buy 2 get 1 Free … – NO – this is a 33.3% off sale on the purchase of 3 items – it is NOT Free
Gift with the purchase of … – NO – this is a bonus it is NOT a Gift
Free Gift with the purchase of… – Double NO – this is a bonus it is NOT Free and it is NOT a Gift
Something for Nothing
There are times you can get something for free – for example our initial consultations really are free, there are no fees and no obligations to have us review your serous debt problems at any of our Toronto area offices.
However, in general there is very little in the world of commerce that is in fact free. And as a smart consumer, you need to be aware of the Free Gift ‘buy button’ that marketers will try to push.
Clearly, marketers have more than one ‘buy button’ in their bag of tricks – as a smart shopper you need to be aware of those buttons that have the most impact on you and learn to avoid them.