Perfect the art of internet freeloading

June 19, 2008
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(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times)

We all like to get something for nothing and the internet has helped turn freeloading into a fine art.

Sites like The Free Site offer up a variety of freebie downloads or sometimes even free samples, Vista Print has free personalised business cards and address labels and Blinky lists a selection of freebies and online competitions. Those wanting to keep their travel costs to a minimum make use of the Couch Surfing project, where they can sign up to stay with other members around the world for free.

Now, there’s the tall tale of the short model who built her career by being a top-notch freeloader.

Isobella Jade was struggling to get her modelling career off the ground when she spent 18 months making nearly daily visits to a New York Apple Store, where she checked her e-mails, updated her website and used the internet to look for work.

The nice Apple people encourage visitors to their stores to try the equipment but somehow I doubt they ever expected anyone to use it to quite the extent this young woman did. She even wrote a book standing up at one of the store’s iMac computers.

It’s nice that Apple is such a friendly, sharing company and I suppose that has paid off with the feel-good publicity but you have to wonder how things would be if we all treated store displays like our own personal homes. I’m pretty sure Mitre 10 would do away with loos on display pretty quickly.

The New York model story might be interesting but how about the woman who managed to live in a bloke’s wardrobe for a year? Undetected.

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