March 25, 2010

Free Lunch

Ok, I don't know if this is a shameful thing or not, but I realized the meaning of the phrase "There's no such thing as a free lunch" only yesterday. I used to think it means that "you have to pay for whatever you get, it might look free, but the price will be extracted from you by other means." Frankly, that's the context I have seen it being used in all around me forever.

But no. It means: "If you're having a free lunch, you can be sure that someone, somewhere is paying for it!"

Which makes so much more sense, doesn't it?

And now, raise your hands if you have been similarly mistaken! C'mon! Give me company!

Update: ok, ok ok! It means much more than the narrow "You get nothing free." It means that someone (and that someone could be you) is paying for your lunch somewhere, somehow, sometime. But that's still a different (if only much larger) definition than most of us are used to. Thanks Papunda, for the wikipedia link!

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hand raised.

I still can't believe it means what you Now think it means.

Me said...

hand raised...

shub said...

what? I had no idea.
Then again, I'm the person who used to think that 'United we stand, divided we fall' meant that IF we stand united, THEN we will fall divided. And for the longest time I wondered why it sounded so weird.

karrvakarela said...

Why can't it mean both

Anonymous said...

And for some twisted logic, I used to think the phrase "next to impossible" means "possible". Somehow, the implication of something being "further removed from impossible, which means all the more impossible" never occurred to me. Been reading your blog for a while now. It's awesome!:)

wendigo said...

how do you know it means what you think it means?

Sumira Khan said...

Hand raised.
But these eureka moments are kind of giving me a headache.

The Wanderer said...

Really ?! Hand raised !

Elora Priyadarshini said...

Hey, Just wanna say that am a fan of your blog. Love everything you post.

Sid said...

Even I thought so. Didn't realize that someone else could actually be paying for me (or it). Cool thought.

Argentyne said...

Hand raised ++. But isn't the wikipedia article saying that one of the meanings is what you thought it was earlier?

TANSTAAFL, on the other hand, indicates an acknowledgment that in reality a person or a society cannot get "something for nothing". Even if something appears to be free, there is always a cost to the person or to society as a whole even though that cost may be hidden or distributed. For example, as Heinlein has one of his characters point out, a bar offering a free lunch will likely charge more for its drinks.[7]

colours said...

Hand raised...

Anonymous said...

i too agree.. Hand raised.. :) and the other day i was telling my friend about this and to my surprise, he too raised hi hand,, :))