That’s Not What Free Means

Last week, I wanted to watch the baseball playoffs. A pair of games were on the MLB Network, a station I’d not watched before. I eventually located it in the mammoth and glacial guide full of channels for which I have no use, but when I tuned in, I was confronted with this message:

Free w/ Subscription: This program can be viewed free as part of a subscription package.

What the hell is that? “Free with Subscription” is an entirely content-free statement. They don’t even have the sense to hide the “with subscription” in a footnote. This magazine is free with a paid subscription to this magazine! These three eggs are free with purchase of a dozen eggs. Hell, this car is free with purchase of…this car!

Sooner or later, I’m going to be able to watch the Red Sox without having cable, and I’m going to have decent alternatives for Internet access. When that day finally comes, you can bet I’m going to spend $5 and have Comcast’s cord cut forever.