Social Question

rOs's avatar

Why pay for something, when you can get it for free?

Asked by rOs (3524points) September 2nd, 2011

Namely- knowledge and information. Is it just me, or are there less DIYers these days?

I’m more inclined to trust someone who isn’t asking me for money, because they aren’t as interested in gaining my patronage. (Naturally, I have no problem with professionals like @Dr_Lawrence, who offer their advice for free online.)

I could pay someone, or use Youtube/Fluther. Either way, I just learned a new way to deal with my control issues, or how to change my car filter, or how to make a birdhouse. There are tons of free resources online and at public libraries. Why bother paying to learn, if I am capable of teaching myself?

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24 Answers

nikipedia's avatar

Paying someone is a nice way of showing that you value what someone just gave you, and it gives them an incentive to hook you up again.

I don’t know about you, but I need money to live. I’m not going to work for free.

marinelife's avatar

All of that knowledge comes at a cost. Professionals deserve to be paid for their time. Just knowing how to fix one’s control issues does not guarantee that you can fix them working on your own.

Some things you can learn or do for free. Others take paying someone.

Cruiser's avatar

You get what you pay for. Free is just that and worth just that.

JessicaRTBH's avatar

I’m a perfectionist. I do tons of things on my own but things I know I am not capable of (to my standards anyway) I call in the pros. I also don’t have enough time to do it all myself. I love DIY projects though. It kills me when people think I need a husband (not exactly relevant) to do house stuff. Since my home purchase I have taught myself (with the Internet) and completed a number of projects. I’m actually rather proud of myself because some were things I never imagined I could do.

thorninmud's avatar

For many things, feedback is very important. People have varying abilities to learn by watching. Some people can watch an action performed once, and they’ve got it. They understand exactly what’s going on, what the tools are doing, what the movements feel like, what the result should look like. Others just can’t do that. They need to be shown, then coached and corrected over and over again.

I’ve taught a chocolate class at a culinary school for many years. I have to teach many tricky operations involving subtle manual manipulations. I always start by demonstrating, of course, which is really what you would get if you watched a Youtube demo. I explain what I’m doing in excruciating detail, and repeat the operation several times. Then I cut the students loose to try it for themselves. I wouldn’t expect that they would have acquired the manual finesse just by watching the demo—that requires lots of practice—, but it’s usually clear that most haven’t even really gotten the basic idea of what they have to do.

If I weren’t there to coach them and correct them step-by-step, they’d never stand a chance. I can’t think of anywhere in the world they’d get that for free.

Coloma's avatar

I’m the exact opposite, I often will pay, more than generously, to have whatever I need serviced. I agree with @nikipedia , paying fairly, if not well, is a show of appriciation and respect for others time, effort and energy in whatever it is they are providing for you.

I do a lot of reading and research on my own, but certain things of value do come with a price tag, and I am more than willing to pay.

In the case of something like having personal problems that could benefit from therapy, well…you can read all day about your issues but, without professional guidance all you will be doing is intellectualizing not overcoming.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I appreciate how nice it is to get advice and help on sites like Fluther, but really, are you going to trust a nameless faceless stranger on all those things as opposed to a vetted professional that you can deal with IRL?

thebluewaffle's avatar

Five finger discount?

GladysMensch's avatar

Not all projects are do it yourself projects. Certainly not projects that require immediate attention, ie. a broken water main, medical issues. You simply wouldn’t have time to learn how to properly deal with the situation before before complete destruction, or death. Some projects require technical expertise, or special tools/instruments (and expertise in their use); meaning that you would need to become a master of many crafts to accomplish your goal. Which brings us to the final value of one’s own time. Some things take many years to master. I would rather pay someone to do complicated jobs and have time with my family.

JessicaRTBH's avatar

@ Coloma – I see what you’re saying about therapy. I think a good therapist is key though. I’m not even kidding – when I fired mine and took a DIY approach (using that $ to buy new sunglasses weekly) I felt much more sane. Of course I found a new one that was a better fit but that is my favorite DIY therapy moment. ;)

Mariah's avatar

I like to do things myself unless they’re so important that it’d be very bad if it went wrong, such as healthcare. My body is too important to be put under the care of someone who isn’t a professional or an expert.

But if you’re just making a birdhouse, go for it. It can be very rewarding to learn to do things like that, too.

I suppose the other argument against DIY is that “time is money” and so in a sense you’re still “paying” (plus the cost of supplies, if applicable).

rOs's avatar

@nikipedia Hence my mention of @Dr_Lawrence – I pay for the services I can’t do without. Also, I don’t illegally download or steal anything. I pay for the materials I use.

@marinelife I don’t advocate self-therapy at-all, so I agree to that point. Personally, I have been able to make quite a few breakthroughs using Fluther and extensive reading on psychology- at least enough to be happy and forgive myself for the past. I might one day see a professional, but I can’t afford it now.

@Cruiser What about, “All the best things in life are free?”

@JessicaRTBH It’s quite empowering, isn’t it?

@thorninmud That’s one of those things I’d pay for, as I prefer human interaction for hand’s on activities.

@Coloma That’s how I would be ideally, but I can’t currently afford to be generous. As far as “intellectualizing not overcoming”, I must disagree. I have risen above many problems, but not without diligent introspection. Granted, therapy is more effective.

@JilltheTooth No, not as much as I might let on : P – but even opposing views are useful, perhaps even more so than similar ones.

@GladysMensch I won’t argue with that, I have no desire to fix a blown engine. When my brakes go out though, I can do just as well as a mechanic.

@Mariah Too true, but I’ve had great results with home remedies for minor issues. Same deal as the ‘brakes’ thing.

Coloma's avatar


True, I have gained insight through reading, as well as therapy.
I think it depends on the individual. One person may be able to evolve under their own power and another might need more serious guidance in the form of a therapist of spiritual teacher. ;-)

rOs's avatar

@Coloma I think you’re right. Part of what makes this easy for me is the fact that I question and compare everything. I don’t limit my research to what I agree with. I’d like to add this disclaimer: while this method works for me, it might actually be harmful for someone else. One important element of ‘free-form learning’ in the internet wilderness, is discernment. It’s easy to get fooled out there!

Coloma's avatar


Right, knowledge is power, but, ya gotta slog through a lot of inferior, biased and contradictory info. lol

ddude1116's avatar

This works depending on the nature of what you’re learning and the amount of determination you have. I tried to learn how to play guitar a few years back, but I never really got into it. So every so often, I skim YouTube and the library for free lessons on songs and books for technique, and I’ve done the same with harmonica. It’s more convenient in that it’s readily available whenever you are, but it requires more effort because you don’t have somebody who knows what they’re doing to critique you. Basically, the amount of discipline necessary is inverse to the ease with which you’ll learn from your own resources.

rOs's avatar

@ddude1116 Good point, one must be extremely self-critical in order to glean truth, as opposed to an opinion of truth. It has taught me how to ‘debate with myself’, and follow logic to where ever it leads.

Hibernate's avatar

It mainly depends on what you need. If it’s information it’s all about how good of a researcher one is. If it’s something else it’s better to stick to someone who knows what is doing. Let’s take an example. Some fruits are free int he wood. Most choose to buy them from a local store rather then collecting themselves because you might know what you get :)

martianspringtime's avatar

I think it depends on what you’re trying to learn. I try to learn what I can from the internet or books, but if I don’t feel I can learn it on my own or I can’t find information quite suited to what I’m trying to do, I’d probably prefer to turn to a professional.

JessicaRTBH's avatar

@rOs – indeed! I really like it :)

ddude1116's avatar

@rOs Yes. It also helps to ask a friend to critique, or throw caution to the wind and perform in public if you have the balls for it.

rOs's avatar

@ddude1116 That sounds like a challenge… I’ll let you know when I’m ready.

deni's avatar

Because most people are lazy and too busy and would rather pay someone to put a battery in their car, or change the oil, or clean their house, or cook their meals, or cut their own bangs, than take the time and learn to do it themselves. I think it’s silly.

jerv's avatar

I like Linux and other similar Free software. “Free as in speech”, even if it’s not always “free as in beer.” I run GIMP, Firefox, and other free software with no issues.

@Cruiser Explain why many governments and most supercomputers use Linux as opposed to a non-free alternative like the highly commercialized Windows? I always thought that is was because Linux is the best for their needs at any price. That right there seems to disprove the “you get wha tyou pay for” mentality, as does the fact that many free anti-virus programs outperform some of the paid ones.
Seems to me that price and quality are independent.

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