I and “She Who Must Be Obeyed” achieved a situation known as a free weekend. We went back to our old ‘hood in Far South St. Louis to our favorite restaurant. It’s the place we went on our first date because I wanted to impress her and my Visa card was feeling unneeded. It’s an Italian restaurant that caters to people with a lot more money than I have. We save our soda bottles and Green Stamps to cash in, so we can eat there every year or so. The staff can tell in an instant that we don’t belong there, because I don’t have a little alligator on my shirt and the wife has hair that looks natural. The other patrons have shoes that cost more than my truck, and cars that are worth more than my house.
As soon as we were seated, I started charming the server. I told her how special this meal was to us, which was true. I told her we’d driven several hours to get there, which was true. I also implied it was our anniversary, which was sort of true. It was our anniversary, but not of our romance or marriage. I’m pretty sure it was the anniversary of buying our Jeep. Maybe it was only the anniversary of when we played cards with friends, but it got us a free large slice of a fancy cheesecake with shaved chocolate and fruity syrup. I call that a win.
So how can you get free stuff? One way is to ask for it, which is basically what I did in St. Louis even though I didn’t literally say “give me.” My interaction asked for free food. An eatery is a place to ask for free stuff, a bank is not. I think asking for free money in a bank is a felony. However, some banks have free cookies and coffee, so that’s okay.
Another way to score free stuff is coupons. The new way to coupon makes it easy. Our local chain store has a website with coupons, some of which are “buy some, get one free.” You sign up, click on what you want, and at checkout enter your phone number in the keypad. Boom, you have free stuff, or at least discounted stuff. Facebook has groups that list free stuff. Just scroll around, find something you like, and message the owner. Just be safe and decline meeting on a river bank in the dark or other unsafe places. I would take a big cousin or large dog when picking that stuff up. While you’re on the internet, you can find free samples of lots of things. Look around, it’s fun. Don’t pay shipping or handling, because that makes the goods “not free.”
You can also get free samples of food in a lot of stores, but it’s bad form to take them out. You should pretend to peruse the food of which you get the sample. The practice of taking containers into buffets and sneaking free food out is probably stealing, so don’t do that.
Look for free money. You can walk through any parking lot and find change. It drives my wife crazy when I do that, but I’ve found as much as 12 or 13 cents at a time. Over the space of a year that can add up to a dollar or more. Once I found a quarter and three nickels, which was a good day. Finding change on the ground is OK. Finding change in an unlocked car is not okay.
Look around vending machines in public places, like rest areas. People drop money all of the time. There is almost always change under or near vending machines. Look around, but don’t take the machine into the shop for a closer inspection. Once again, that’s a felony.
One of the best ways to get free stuff is to cruise around the night before trash pickup. Stuff at the curb is usually free. Dumpsters at apartment complexes and near storage units may have free stuff too. I just found a Bowflex machine next to big dumpster. I beat the trash man to it, but don’t tell him. Be careful if you crawl into a dumpster. It’s embarrassing if you get stuck in one, or so I’ve heard. It could be dangerous too.
Finally, if you break the law at any time while getting free stuff, you will probably get the ultimate free stuff. That’s three hots and a cot in a nearby jail. I’m pretty sure there won’t be free cheesecake either. Be aware but have fun. The dollar you save could be your own.