The phrase free lunch, started showing up in U. S. literature from about 1870 to 1920 and referred to a tradition once common in saloons and bars in many places in the United States. These establishments would offer a “free” lunch with the purchase of at least one drink. While these free lunches were often worth far more than the price of a single drink, the bar owners counted on the fact that most customers would buy more than one drink or at least that the practice would encourage the customers to come back during other times of day.
The saying “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”, often abbreviated to TANSTAAFL, refers to this custom, meaning that things which appear to be free are always paid for in some way.
The free lunch you received today did indeed cost somebody something, but not you! It was a gift and we hope that it it encouraged you!
If you are curious about who provided you with a free lunch, click here!