craig, lead me not into temptation

I lurk the craigslist free section a lot, I don’t really know why.  everything I’ve gotten off there has been a “but” situation–it works fine, but…

craigslist free lamp: standard floor lamp, with a dimmer dial.  thing is, (other than it’s being ugly as sin) the dimmer doesn’t work quite right–the dial has to be turned past a point and the light will turn on full power.  I guess in this case it’s a complicated on/off switch.  the rub is that it’s easy to just turn the dial past the point where the light will turn on, and not finish the twist completely. If the turn is not fully performed then after an indeterminate amount of time, sometimes a minute, sometimes twenty, the light will just turn off.  when the light in question is the only source of illumination in an otherwise dark and cluttered room, this is kind of annoying.

craigslist free printer: super nice, new, perfect condition printer.  hell, it even prints wirelessly–for when I want to store my printer on the deck, or maybe spend some qulity time with it at the beach.  what’s the catch? well, it needs ink.  $70 ink. “free” is a relative term, I guess.

and just as a bonus, I got some free shipping materials from USPS.com.  they’re super-slick DVD mailers, that can be folded to hold one or two DVDs and have adhesive already applied and everything.  I want to sell my DVDs because a) they don’t really reflect my current taste in movies and b) they’ve been rendered obsolete by netflix.  So, these mailers seemed like a godsend, and I couldn’t beat the price: totally free, and with equally free shipping.  no downside!  BUT: I neglected to notice that these were priority mail boxes, and were emblazoned with “PRIORITY MAIL POSTAGE ONLY.”  That’s cool and all, but to send a DVD (or two!) by priority mail costs around $4, while first class is a whopping $.42 or something.  When DVDs sell for maybe $7, that four bucks really cuts into my profit margin.  In the end that would cost me something about the same as the two print cartriges I need for my “free” printer.

I guess the old adage “there’s no such thing as a free meal” extends to lamps, wireless printing, and packing matériel.

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