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Sunday 3 December 2023 Dublin: 0°C

9 things that used to be free... but aren't now

Little bags of pretzels on airplanes, plastic bags, ‘the channels’… we miss the days of freebies.

YOU MAY BELIEVE there is no such thing as a free lunch, unless – allegedly – you are this guy.

There was a time in this country, however, where there were a few freebies you could rely on. Listen up, children, while we tell you about the land of free Dunnes Stores bags and free… air.

9 things that used to be free... but aren't now
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  • Plastic shopping bags

    We know that the plastic bag tax has led to fewer of them being used and discarded. But we admit that we miss making whimsical fancy dress from our excess bags like this lady. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
  • Airline snacks

    Ah the glamour of old-school flying. You paid a fortune for your plane ticket - but they made up for it* in free bags of pretzels and a free drink. *sort of. (Lars Plougmann/Flickr)
  • 'The Channels'

    Terrestrial TV channels - two-channel land until TV3 and TG4 came on the scene - were always available here if you had your TV, your aerial and your TV licence. To keep them after next month, you'll have to either be paying for a satellite/cable connection or stump up for a Saorview box/TV. (PA/Topham Picturepoint/Press Association Images)
  • Directory enquiries

    Okay, this is actually an early telephone exchange but we *like* to think that these smiling ladies were the ones always at your service with numbers. And you didn't have to pay a fee to get to them. They didn't text you the number though...(Image: Sport & General/S&G Barratts/EMPICS Archive)
  • Air in your tyres

    Several in HQ have noted that some garages are now using coin-operated inflation devices. So much for putting air in your tyres for free. Is nothing sacred, etc.? (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
  • Diluted orange drinks...

    ...Or a drop of Ribena in your pint of water. How long has it been since those were free in a pub for the designated driver/teetotaller in your life? If you know of a pub that still does offer them for free, tell us in the comments. (flikr/flickr)
  • Public toilets

    To be fair, the older ones were not always the Mae West, but it's rare to find a public toilet that doesn't require an entrance fee/coin in the slot these days. (Andrew Napier/Flickr)
  • Rubbish collection

    It could be argued that income tax always paid for rubbish collection and so it was never 'free' but many areas that never found they had to pay a specific rate now find themselves hit with bills. Again, could be argued as a good thing in the 'race against waste'... (bixentro/Flickr)
  • We're saying nothing....

    Image: Nick Ansell/PA Wire.

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