During a portion of my walk this morning that took me down one of the main streets in town, I saw, in a distance, two people standing on a corner, each holding the end of a white sign. As I got closer, I could see that the sign was homemade, and I could also see that the sign was being held by two very respectable looking teen-aged kids (one girl and one boy). I could also hear that they were yelling something at the passing cars and waving them in direction of the side street that runs into the main street.
As I got even closer, I could see that the sign said, “Free Car Wash,” and I could hear that they were yelling “Free car wash here” to the passing cars. Not surprisingly, they were not getting any takers.
I happen to know that at the end of the block to which they were directing people, there is a small Protestant church, with a mixed, young congregation, and I think it is a good bet that this was a fundraising effort inspired by the church Youth Group. I assume that the car wash is indeed “free,” but the “customer” would be asked to make a donation to the church. In other words, it wasn’t, in the ugly sense of the word, a “scam”. I suspect that the passing motorists didn’t know any of that, but I could not help but wonder whether knowing that would have changed anything.
I thought how nice it is to be young enough to think that people might actually believe that something is truly “free.”