People Explain Which Items Should Be Absolutely Free
Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

Have you ever found yourself handing over some hard-earned money while wondering "why am I even paying for this?"

There are some things that absolutely should be "free" - or at least not an extra fee on top of some already-paid money. So let's talk about them.

Reddit user QadeerRay asked:

What is an item you think should be free?

The responses were honestly a lot more varied than I expected. I was positive I'd see someone mention the places that charge you for using rain water - the literal water that falls freely from the sky - but there's a lot here that I hadn't even thought about and honestly, I'm kind of salty now.

Come, be salty with me.

Notifying People Is Expensive

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"Death certificates." - redrivverrunning

"For me they were $16 each - and every single company that the deceased has an account for needs a copy."

"I learned to go in person to places like banks as much as I possibly can. They make a copy and give it back to me, that way I can avoid mailing it for them to keep forever so I have to buy even more official copies." - classic_elle

"In the state where I live, they charge you $20 for the first certificate and $3 for each additional one so the funeral homes generally suggest you go ahead and order 5-6 more than you think you'll need after figuring out their accounts and stuff because it's still cheaper than getting a single extra at a later time." - SilverDarner

"The UK government does have a service where you inform them of a death, provide them with the certificate, and they'll make a best effort to inform all of the person's banks and pension providers. It doesn't have nearly the number of companies being informed that I would've liked, but it's a good start."

"What confuses me is that other companies aren't jumping at the chance to be on the notification list... you'd think it would be in their best interest to be notified if one of their customers died so they can clean stuff up on their end. But oh well." - SweatyOctopussy

"Not really, (at least in the US) they would really only need to stop billing/autopay once they are informed of the death and it is confirmed. The longer they can go without that confirmation, the better it is for their bottom line."

"Source: Work in corporate America" - TheLastFartan

Looking At You, Nestle

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"Drinkable water. Looking at you, Nestle. The company has a history of taking over water sources and that whole formula thing was gross." - Whit-Batmobil

"Nestle financially pushed for hospitals in 3rd world countries to start new born babies on 'free trials' of formula feeds so the mother's weren't feeding & their milk would dry up. Essentially forcing them to buy & continue using the formula forever."

"To make matters worse, this was done in areas with no safe drinking water so babies that were only a few days old were giving formula mixed with unsafe water & many got sick/died as a direct result when their mothers could have just breastfed them safely and for free."

"Even when Nestle was alerted to this (as if they didn't already know) they refused to change their tactics. The company is scum." - now_you_see

In Public

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"Using public toilets in Europe." - pretty_pumpkin

"Personally, here in Germany I find it is counter-intuitive. I think people resent having to pay for a toilet, and treat it like 'Alright, you're going to charge me €.50 for a pee, I'm going to get my money's worth then and just piss everywhere, because f--- you for making me pay to pee.' "

"This I find is especially true with toilets where the cleaning is 'automated.' On the other hand, you go into a lot of department stores, or a mall, etc, the toilets are often attended to by a person sitting just outside the entrance. Payment is usually optional (i.e. there is no turnstyle you have to unlock by putting money in), but it is typical to put €.50 or so in the dish on your way out... and in those cases I find the bathrooms very clean."

"Other bathrooms, particularly those along the autobahn, are actively serviced, but have a payment turnstile thing you have to go through. You can then use the receipt from the turnstile at the fast food and snack shops which are a part of the building, and you'll get the amount you paid at the bathroom deducted from your purchase."

"But overall public bathrooms are just terribly hard to find (paid or otherwise). Public pissing is common and basically unavoidable. You see it and smell it regularly." - Mozambique-Ready


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"Insulin industry is actually hijacked by three companies and they're doing all they can to keep it's price high."

"It's not a luxury. It keeps people alive! Show some humanity."

"• Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi are the three companies that dominate more than 90% of the world insulin market by value. This means that they can set prices as they wish."

"• Production cost of insulin is about 2% of it's market price."

"• Unlike any other medicine, there is no generic insulin. Insulin is still under patent after 37 years. 'Big three' producers are abusing legal loophole for over 4 decades. (Known as Patent evergreening)."

"• These companies make profit of worth billions. Not to mention they're spending millions on lobbying politicians and donating to other decision makers to keep quiet."

"• They pay another companies not to enter the market. Or they sue them. That's what happened to company called Merck. Sanofi sued them." - DogDisguisedAsHooman

Standard Bathroom Care

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"Uhm tampons and pads in public restrooms, schools, etc. Freak I'm a penis carrier and even I think that sh*t should be free."

"You would be mad if you went in to a public restroom and there was a coin slot for the f*cking toilet paper."

"I don't think they should be free off the shelf. Everything requires money to make so in reality nothing is free, but this should be standard care in every bathroom just in case." - TripleThickBacon

We're Not Here For Fun

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"Hospital parking. Oh, dad's dying? Doesn't matter. 5 bucks." - bdd4

"Where I live you go in for free, but they do charge to leave. If you get your parking validated, (pretty much just saying you had a reason to be there as a patient or visitor) you get to leave for free."

"They had a huge issue with people parking there for free, but not even being there for the hospital. Just a place to park as they did business or shopping downtown where the hospital is located." - Howling_Fang

"You're gonna love this. We as hospital staff have to pay to park the hospital as well!"

"I am close to graduating from a medical program and some area hospitals hire from graduates of our school's program over other applicants so they have meetings at our campus about working there and benefits, etc"

"the cheapest parking package they offered, which is still a MASSIVE hike to the door is $50 a week, the most expensive being $100 a week."

"They made it a point to highlight that their staff ride all the city buses for free with our ID cards and they bring you to the front door, so that's something at least." - xBlackx_xDahliax

The Dreaded Paywall

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"Scientific articles. They're mostly behind a paywall."

"You can either subscribe to certain journals so that you have access year-round ($ depends on the specific journal), or you can pay for access to one article at a time. The latter is usually about $30-$50."

"As a scientist, this has always irritated me. People on social media everywhere reference blogs and other non-scientific articles, which are, of course, ill-informed and non-scientific."

"We should be linked to science journals when we Google - but then every time we're interested in some topic, pay $50 to read about it?? That's ridiculous."

"Even news media reporting on interesting results from science pubs get the results mucked up. You really can't trust anything but the peer-reviewed paper itself." - BrahmTheImpaler

"I firmly believe this is one (of many!) reasons why the US is full of anti-science/anti-intellectualism rhetoric."

"We keep information locked behind paywalls, creating yet another socioeconomic barrier for attaining knowledge. Even if the desire to learn is there, it means incredibly little without the ability to access the information." - sayhellotojenn

The Best Questions To Ask During A Job Interview | George Takei’s Oh Myyy

Buying My Info Back

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"Schufa Auskunft."

"This private company in Germany just collects all your information (like a credit score) without your consent and the you have to buy all that info back from them because otherwise no landlord will ever accept you."

"There is a free Schufa you can request that once a year (so bad luck if your search for a home takes over a month) and it's also not the full one. Some landlords still demand the full one." - GreenKangaroo3

Seeing Is A Luxury?

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"I have insurance and I still have to pay (in my opinion) too much to just be able to see."

"It's not a luxury, it's a basic need. Also, my sight changes all the time so I can't even get a nice pair and be set for the next few years. If I'm lucky I'll get to keep a pair for 1,5 to 2 years before I absolutely need new glasses." - Proper-Literature173

"I think it's weird that vision and dental are separate from health insurance. Like seeing and chewing are just vanity." - FistedTate

"I can't believe how far I had to scroll to find this, I passed 3 waters and chicken nuggets. Why does it cost money to see? And I have 20/20 vision so this doesn't affect me." - Tian_Lord23

We Already Paid Tuition

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"College books."

"I feel the school should invest in a series like they do in high school and the books just be included in the tuition. You never keep them, you just give them back to the school. If you damage or lose the book THEN you pay for them." - nips4chips

By Law

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"Anything you're required by law to have."

"You pay taxes for someone to tell you HAVE to buy something, or else you HAVE to pay them even more money. It's a scam." - 39thusernameattempt

How Many Times Can Money Be Taxed?

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"An inheritance..."

"If my parents or anyone dies and leaves me a sum of money, I have to pay inheritance tax on that, which I believe is something like 40% over here."

"That's money that's already been taxed when it was income AND it could be taxed as capital each year you (or the person that died) own it." - sapphirenx

This Again

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"If I'm sending a transcript from "University of Missouri - Kansas City" to "University of Missouri - St. Louis" I should not have to pay $50" - sgt_redankulous

"I paid 50k for my degree. But somehow none of that covers the cost of the transcript? At least my diploma was free…" - easternred

Who Are You?

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"Identity papers. It's the law to have them, yet you have to pay for them!" - scorpiomobile

"It's also really hard to get any papers if you don't already have them. Like if you don't have a birth certificate."

"It is almost impossible for homeless people with no forms of identification to get into the system in states like Florida because the only way to do anything is by having your elected representative assist and they are not very helpful to indigent people in general."

"Funny enough, I always though it would be easiest to have the court ID you by getting arrested. They have to legally ID you somehow to incarcerate you..."

"In California it is easier but you have to start with the Social Security Administration and work your way up to Vital Records to get identification and a birth certificate." - _My_Angry_Account

So tell us, what you YOU make free for everyone if you could?