->'''Max:''' My innocence has been shattered by this blatant tourist trap. I want my money back!\\
'''Sam:''' We didn't pay anything.\\
'''Max:''' Well, ''somebody'' better give me some money.
-->-- ''SamAndMaxHitTheRoad''

They say that there's no such thing as a free lunch. No matter what, someone has got to pick up the tab.

However, sometimes a company or business decides to be a little generous with a promotional campaign and pay the costs to distribute samples or portions of their goods and services to the public at no cost to us consumers. Although such free samples are usually small, very minor things of cheap value to keep costs down for the party providing it, a free sample is still a tiny perk for the person receiving it and is always graciously accepted... or, at least, that's what the companies responsible for the campaigns would prefer, but that's usually not the case.

ComplainingAboutThingsYouHaventPaidFor is a trope about a person or character who acquires something at no monetary cost to him/her (usually through a promotional giveaway but can also cover things like outright thievery) and doesn't like it and will likely demand compensation for not liking it. This is commonly referred to with the saying "LookingAGiftHorseInTheMouth".

Presumably a common habit of pessimists and picky people; in a stark contrast of this behavior, people or characters who have no problems looking on the bright side of things may frequently make a remark along the lines of, "Who cares if it's a piece of crap? It's free!" (or, depending on the circumstances, "It's stolen!")

This is of course TruthInTelevision. Just because you got something for free doesn't mean you have to like it. If anything, someone who did not pay for a product is much more likely to realize it's crap and throw it away, as they don't have to justify to themselves having wasted money. Those who believe in the concept that "time is money" may also be prone to his, if they believe their time has been wasted. Also, this doesn't apply when something free actually ends up causing harm through no fault of the receiver.

Compare YouGetWhatYouPayFor.

'''No RealLife examples, please.'''


* In one story from ''[[ComicBook/TwoThousandAD 2000 AD]]'''s ''Bec & Kawl'', Bec does nothing but complain about the "tragic abortion of a night out" at the carnival Kawl takes her to, stating that it isn't even worth the 50p entrance fee, to which Kawl points out that they snuck in for free.

* In ''[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109440/ La Cité de la Peur]]'', a movie fails to start at a film festival, prompting the whole audience to complain, "Reimburse our invites!"
* ''Film/{{Trainspotting}}'' has a scene where Begbie has just robbed a jewelers at gunpoint and the jewelery he's stolen is not as valuable as he thought.
-->Supposed to be fucking solid silver. It's fucking garbage! Those young couples investin' all their fucking hopes in that stuff and all...
* In ''Film/ThisIs40'', Pete gives his mooch father an original drawing by John Lennon worth at least $5,000. His father only complains that it's a bad picture and it's too much work to sell it.

* A StealthInsult from ''TheAdventuresOfHuckleberryFinn'': "He didn't charge nothing for his sermons; and it was worth it, too."
* In ''Discworld/MovingPictures'', the wizards sneak into the theater through a bathroom window, then gripe about the poor seating. Granted, they complain about ''everything'' anyway, and they did shell out a small fortune for [[strike: popcorn]] banged grains and other snacks.
* Inverted in one of the book stories loosely based on the "ThenCameBronson" 1970s TV series, where Bronson more-or-less single handedly saves the concert from being cancelled, which would have probably earned him an all-access backstage pass for his effort, is standing in the background watching the show which he saved, and mentioned (as a joke) to the band's manager that it just occurred to him that he never paid for a ticket.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* In ''TheMuppetShow'' episode where Steve Martin guest starred, Statler and Waldorf debate whether they should leave after the show is canceled to hold auditions. Waldorf insists that they stay as they've paid for the tickets. When Statler points out that the tickets were free, Waldorf replies, "And overpriced, at that!"
* In what is seemingly a preemptive response to any criticism that may be levied, G4's Kevin Pereira closes all "Indie Games" segments on free, downloadable video games with some variant of, "...and what do ''you'' want for nothing?"
* DavidLetterman sometimes jokingly tries to preempt complaints from the studio audience saying things like, "You didn't pay anything to get in here, you know."
** Conan O'Brien used to lightheartedly do this too, typically if a joke bombed. "Hey! This is a free show! You can't boo a free show!"
** [[TheLateLateShow Craig Ferguson]] will often remark that you can't complain about the quality of the show because it's free. He may also joke about the audience being paid hobos (bribed with the promise of free chicken/candy), so he'll ask why they are complaining about being paid for watching the show.
* Jon Stewart frequently reminds audiences of ''Series/TheDailyShow'' that the tickets were free, usually after the interview segment of a C List guest when the next day's A List guest is announced and the audience predictably responds.
** He's also used it to apologize to guests if the audience is getting rude/hostile.
* In the pilot episode of ''Series/CornerGas'', Hank complains about a terrible cup of coffee, to which Brent says, "Oh, well, let me refund your money. What'd you pay for it, zero?"
* One of [[MadMen Peggy Olson's]] more contentious assignments was a pro bono project designing a flyer for a Church dance. WordOfGod has stated that the point of that story was to show how the clients who get work for free are often the most demanding.
* In ''{{Dinnerladies}}'' Petula Gordino enters the canteen fiddling with her bra strap and remarking, "That's the thing about shoplifting; you can never try something on."

* In Music/WeirdAlYankovic's "Craigslist", the person giving away a trash can full of styrofoam packing peanuts for free[[note]]But not the trash can, just the peanuts.[[/note]] includes in his ad, "don't complain 'cause they won't cost you a dime".

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* ''{{ComicStrip/Dilbert}}'' once got free "therapy" from a psychiatrist who told him that his problem was that he's ugly and he should drink until he feels handsome. Walking out the door, he tells the receptionist, "You're overpriced."
* ''{{Zits}}'' had a short storyline where Jeremy is upset because a website he likes hasn't been updated for a while. His father goes from saying he should demand a refund to mocking his sense of entitlement when he finds out the site is free.
* ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'':
-->'''Calvin''': You know what the problem is with the universe? There's no toll-free customer service hotline for complaints! That's why things don't get fixed. If the Universe had any decent management, wed get a full refund if we weren't completely satisfied!
-->'''Hobbes''': But the place is free.
-->'''Calvin''': See, that's another thing! They should have a cover charge and keep out all the riffraff.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In the ''Franchise/{{Disgaea}}'' spin-off ''VideoGame/PrinnyCanIReallyBeTheHero'', Etna asks the Hero Prinny to sell some games and the console she's playing them on, claiming they suck. The prinny points out that she pirated the games and hacked the console.
** Fun note. The consle in question is a blue PS3. (Though given this is the Netherworld, it's likely a Slaystation 3)
* ''SamAndMaxHitTheRoad'' requires the heroes to eventually visit a tourist trap named "Frog Rock" to progress. Upon discovering that Frog Rock is in no way frog-like, Max demands his money back despite not having paid any to see it.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* [[WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall Linkara]] mentioned this as one of the reasons why he won't review {{webcomics}}. Because almost every webcomic site doesn't require you to pay money to see it, and because most people make webcomics as a hobby rather than a job, Linkara shies away from them.
** He also gets comics donated for the show. A couple of them STILL leave him feeling ripped off.
* [[http://www.penny-arcade.com/2002/3/20/ This]] ''Webcomic/PennyArcade'' [[TheRant newspost]] by Tycho reveals that this is how Gabe feels about winning ''Nocturne'' in a competition. "Even when he gets your game for ''free'', it would appear that you still owe him."
* For ReactionAndReview, Hellsing has yet to actually pay for any of the movies he has reviewed. He either openly admits to downloading them, or they are sent by fans by way of his Amazon Wish List.
* A Website/SomethingAwful [=AwfulVision=] column once highlighted a pair of videos where a kid who ''illegally'' downloaded a Music/TheSmashingPumpkins album [[http://www.somethingawful.com/d/awfulvision/grizzly-adams-vlog.php?page=5 destroys the CD copies he made in a fit of rage after reaching the conclusion that he doesn't like the music.]] Though, to be fair, someone ''did'' have to pay for the blank CD's it was burned onto.
* A few stories on Website/NotAlwaysRight see customers complain about things they didn't even pay money for. Ones that stand out include:
** [[http://notalwaysright.com/thinking-outside-the-box/4276 A caller complaining about receiving a free soup that came with her food order.]]
** [[http://notalwaysright.com/thievers-cant-be-choosers/1399 A man calling a hotel to complain that the towels he stole from his room upon checking out were "too scratchy."]]
** One complainer called up his ISP and lambasted them for his connection being down for several days, demanding a fix or refund. Turns out he never signed up for their service - he used to leech off his neighbour's wifi, until the neighbour moved away.
** Another similar complaint involved the leeched neighbor password-protecting their wifi, and the leeching neighbor calling the ISP to ask them to help him bypass the password protection.
** A customer calling to complain that the drink he got with his birthday coupon was bad and wanted to be compensated. Again, a drink he didn't pay for.
* Addressed from 4:49 in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_d0pekU648 this]] angry video review of an WebVideo/TheAngryVideoGameNerd video, but it falls flat because the author compares producing unfunny free content with degrading someone else's property.
* Creator/DougWalker actually argues AGAINST this moral in his commentary for his LetsPlay of ''[[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons Bart's Nightmare]]''. In a temporary moment of rage, he planned to criticize his fans for bashing his Lets Play via [[StrawFan Douchey McNitpick]] on the grounds that they shouldn't complain so badly over something they can watch for free, but after calming down, he realized that if someone's job is to make free stuff, they aren't allowed to pull this card, because it's their job to make the audience laugh.
* In ''Machinima/RedVsBlueTheBloodGulchChronicles'', upon Doc telling Church that Tucker is [[MisterSeaHorse pregnant]], Church says, "Alright, are we paying for this service? Because, if we are, I want a refund. And if we're not, I want a refund anyway."
* In ''Series/{{Noob}}'' Gaea turns out to be stealing her neighbor's Wifi... while complaining about how slow it sometimes gets.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* One episode of ''TheSimpsons'' sees Homer get excited about receiving a coupon book in the mail, including one coupon for "Two pizzas for the price of one at Doughy's!" When Lisa points out, "Doughy's has ''terrible'' pizza," Homer counters, "[[ComicallyMissingThePoint Yeah, but there's TWO!]]"
** Came up in conversation between Bart and Comic Book Guy after Poochie's debut in "The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show":
-->'''Comic Book Guy''': As a loyal viewer, I feel they owe me.
-->'''Bart:''' For what? They've given you thousands of hours of entertainment for free, what could they possibly owe you? If anything, ''you'' owe ''them''.
-->'''Comic Book Guy:''' [[WorstWhateverEver Worst. Episode. Ever.]]
** Happens again in WesternAnimation/TheSimpsonsMovie when the crowd boos a free GreenDay concert and ends up killing the musicians.
** Homer: This music club is a rip off. The first six albumns were only a penny. Then they jacked up the price!
* The famous FightScene from ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' between Peter and the chicken began over a bad coupon.
* In the "Big Top Rascals" episode of Creator/HannaBarbera's series of ''TheLittleRascals'', Butch complains about the makeshift circus and asks for a refund. When Spanky says, "But we let you in for free," Butch suggests that everyone's money be refunded.
* In an episode of ''{{Daria}}'' Jake Morgendorffer laments the tragedy that was the Altamont Free Concert, ending with the comment that he demanded his money back and he got it. When told that it was a free concert, he replied, "That's what THEY said, too."
* One episode of ''JimmyNeutronBoyGenius'' had Jimmy's dad pay 150 dollars for tickets to a free school talent show. When Jimmy's mom points out that it was a free school function, he mutters, "Darn scalpers." After hearing that Jimmy's band (who have become extremely arrogant and demanding after thinking they're awesome despite Jimmy's instruments doing everything) won't be performing, he stands up and yells "I want my money back!" before he sits down and mutters that he didn't pay anything anyway in an embarrassed tone.
* Inverted (if that's even possible) in ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''. In "The Fortuneteller":
--> '''Katara:''' Can you believe she won't let me in? And after all the business I've given her?
--> '''Aang:''' But, she doesn't even charge.
--> '''Katara:''' I know, but still.
* The ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' episode "Suited for Success" is directly about this trope: Rarity decides to make fashionable dresses for all five of her friends for an upcoming event, the Grand Galloping Gala. She works hard and makes some lovely dresses, but her friends don't like them and insist on all sorts of changes. Rarity tires herself out trying to comply with her friends' demands against her own better judgment, with the result that the dresses end up looking ridiculous and Rarity is humiliated at the fashion show in which they're displayed. In the end, her friends learn the lesson that they shouldn't be picky when a friend is doing them a favor, or in other words, [[IncrediblyLamePun don't look a gift horse in the mouth]].
* A variation in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'' Patrick demands his money back from the Krusty Krab after he didn't get a toy with his meal, completly ignoring the fact that it was SpongeBob who paid for it and not him, even if he did eat the whole thing himself. It's more a case of 'complaining about things someone else has paid for'