When it’s Okay to Cheat & Steal.

Via David Romanelli
on Jul 27, 2011
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Who doesn’t love getting something for free, even if you have to pay for it!?

Every few weeks I get one of those free Starbucks cards in the mail. And for all the $4.50 chai lattes I buy on my way to a freebie, I do everything possible to make Starbucks pay.

Last week,  I took my free drink card to a Starbucks in the Meatpacking District of NYC and ordered a venti chai soy latte with 6 espresso shots (Seriously. See photo). Even the Starbucks employee was surprised by the price that rang up on her register: $9.95…

…but I got it for free!

As it goes with 6 espresso shots, I spent the rest of the day talking to anyone who would listen, words seeping from seemingly every orafice. In fact, I was 4300 words over my limit that day.

Who sets the limit on words, you ask?

I’ve been going to a shamanistic energy healer who has me on a 2000 words-a-day cap. He’s very expensive—but for every 4th session, I get a 5th free.

Why the fascination with “free?”

We go crazy for anything free (see SNL parody on Oprah giving away her favorite things). There’s a psychology to free, it makes us feel good, we have nothing to lose, and that is the way our culture is evolving. Information is free. Music is almost free. Even yoga is practically free (donation studios).

I wrote a book 3 years ago.  I put my heart and soul into it. And a few months after it launched, I found it on the internet…for free!


There are some people who seem to defy gravity, if not with their athletic prowess than with an ability to rise above financial burden or marital pressure.


Buddhist teacher Sakyong Mipham said, “Like gravity, karma is so basic we often don’t even notice it.”

It’s one thing to be an altruistic hero, and another thing entirely to be one of those humans who make little karmic investments every single day…

…and find a Garden of (freakin) Eden sprouting in the most beautifully fulfilling ways.

Therein lie some questions.

Might direct and daily recognition of beauty be a subtle karmic shift, ie a Conversation of particular interest to God?

Next time you pass a street musician, would you be willing to drop a dollar in the bucket?

Next time you hear a song you love, would you be willing to go out of your way to pay .99 for it?

Next time you see a painting that captures your imagination, might it be worth the investment?


Someone recently told me that the prayers of children are the most powerful and likely to be Heard. I would say the prayers of artists are a close second.

That being said, I’ll hoard the free samples at Whole Foods, and keep loading up on as many free 6 shot lattes as I can, and  probably rip too many free .mp3’s from the hearts of artists…

…and it will come back to haunt me.

Free has a cost, that drains, if not our wallets, than certainly the pulse and blood of beauty…drop by drop by drop.

**If you’re interested in being on the VIP list for early registration for my Livin the Moment Training and you want to make 2012 a year filled with more presence, passion…and chocolate, email me ([email protected]) and write “2012” in the subject line.


About David Romanelli

David "Yeah Dave" Romanelli has played a major role in pioneering the modernization of wellness in the United States. He believes wellness and feeling good is so much more than fancy yoga poses, green juice, and tight-fitting clothes. Dave launched his career fusing ancient wellness practices with modern passions like exotic chocolate, fine wine, and gourmet food by creating Yoga + Chocolate, Yoga + Wine, and Yoga for Foodies.  His work has been featured in The Wall Street JournalFood + Wine, Newsweek and The New York Times; and his debut book, Yeah Dave's Guide to Livin' the Moment reached #1 on the Amazon Self-Help Bestseller List. Dave's new book launches in Fall 2014 from Skyhorse Publishing. Check out his new show Yeah Dave! brought to you by Scripps Network, the people behind The Food Network, Travel Channel, HGTV, and more.  He is a current contributor to Health Magazine, Yoga Journal, and various other publications. Discover more about his journey on www.yeahdave.com.


One Response to “When it’s Okay to Cheat & Steal.”

  1. Colin Wiseman says:

    Can I say, that getting something for free, can actually make the other company a LOT of money. Look into the history of the disposable razor and jelly/jello.

    Razors were given free to the army and prisons. When these guys were released, they were used to using them and bought them! Free => $$$

    Jello wasn't selling so the company that made it give away recipe books for free door to door. People like the idea of the recipes, had to buy jello. Free => $$$

    So don't be guilty about taking something for free. Sometimes thats the game we play!