Friday, February 19, 2010

Free Hugs near Starbucks

Free hugs were being dispensed outside the Orchard Starbucks I usually frequent. Didn't get any myself but had spotted several shoppers sporting a red paper heart shaped badge earlier and was glad to have the mystery explained.

But there was still more to ponder. Like who organizes these free hug groups.

I always meet the idea of 'free' with suspicion and a mildly fanatic eagerness-the kind that will have you elbowing your way through minors and seniors while pumping your hand franticly in the air going ME! ME! PICK ME!.

It's odd but something you wouldn't look at twice suddenly becomes much more appealing when there is no price tag involved. It's like there is a special sheen of attractiveness that coats free products, and I think just about everyone will agree that free food just tastes better.

Such is the allure of free.

There is the eagerness, but now for the suspicion. I understand free items attached to businesses, you try once and hopefully you buy later. But free hugs? First of all, who would ever come back later willing to buy a hug? And secondly, who is paying these people to offer their friendly comfort out to the public? Is it corporate owned? Government? or one of those self banding groups that decide to do fun things for the community in their spare time.

Of course all this speculation stopped the minute the Free Hugs group decided to call it a day and headed into Starbucks for a drink. Then there was regret. The kind you get when you wake up from an uncomfortable sleep on a plane and realize everyone but you has a warm towel. Or when you decide not to go to that boring office get together and find out later that there was free beer, and someone brought cake.

So here is the voice of hindsight: forgo your suspicion and give way to eagerness. When next met with free hugs, don't question, just squeeze that willing participant and bask in the happiness that is inherent in both Free and Hug.

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