In the world we live in, they say nothing comes for free. Not a house, not a car, and not even the clothes we wear on our backs. But the best thing in the world? Figuring out a way to get something for 'free.'
These Redditors' share hilarious and down right genius stories about they exploited the system to get free stuff. And as always, all posts have been edited for clarity.
And They Say All College Kids Want To Do Is Party
“My university was trying to encourage people to walk more so they said that if we download a specific health tracker that’s connected to our account, it would convert steps into points. Then, the points would get you stuff like free coffee, mugs, discounts for stuff and the most expensive prize was a university hoodie which costs about $30.
Now, the health tracking app is pretty basic, it won’t let you log your steps manually. However, it does let you connect with other health apps. I found a health app that would let me add in the steps and I logged in an equivalent of 50 km a day and in a few days of logging manually, I would get myself a hoodie or two and I didn’t get caught.
However, I told my friend about it, and he really perfected the method of getting more steps a day, because apparently there was a hidden physical limit to how far a person could walk in a day. He then managed to trick it by setting his height to be 1 cm because the shorter you are, the more steps you’d need to take in order to cover the same distance.
In the end, he claimed about 10+ hoodies and he would just get them for anyone who asked. The university found it suspicious, so he received an email telling him that the activity had to stop unless he could provide evidence that he walked that much.
Another friend had a different method. You’d get points just by being friends with them on the university health website. He also found that he could access a list of everyone who had an account in that website. So, he made a python script that would automatically send a request to everyone, earning him points. Geniuses.”
A Middle School Genius
“In middle school, I had to go to summer school and either had to take math, English or both. I opted for the math class. For the math class, we were given a book and one of those A, B, C, D answer sheets and you’d have to circle the correct answer. Once completed, you’d take the answer sheet up to the teacher, and anything that was wrong, he would mark it and you had to redo it. But he never asked to see our work, nor told us there was a maximum number of tries, etc. There were literally no rules on this.
So I just circled a random letter, took the sheet up to him, and he graded it and handed it back. Then, I knew which ones were wrong, and I only had three other options. So, I would erase the wrong answer, circle next random letter, dink around for about 20 minutes doing nothing, and then take the sheet back up for grading.
This time, I’d get the graded sheet back again and now all the questions that were left were either the right answer or the wrong one. So, I’d circle one, dink off, and repeat until every answer was right. Then I’d go onto the next chapter. I did this for six chapters out of the seven before he caught on. And by that point, he was either so done with me, or impressed by my ingenuity that he just let me finish my last chapter and go.
The class was supposed to last eight weeks or more, but I finished all my work and was out in less than two.”
Quarters Gave This Man His Riches
“A friend of mine years ago saw that the Franklin Mint was selling the commemorative quarter set of all 50 states for the same price of 50 quarters with free shipping. At that time, he had a credit card with 10% cash back and a limit of $15,000.
He would buy $15,000 worth of quarters on his credit card and then put them in rolls over a few nights while watching TV. Once they were all rolled, he would take them to his bank and deposit them into his account. Then, he’d take that deposit of quarters and pay off his credit card bill.
Then, two weeks later, he would get a check in the mail for $1,500 as his 10% cash back from his credit card. Now with his credit card empty and an extra $1,500 in the bank, he would do it all again. He did it every month for over a year until the mint stopped offering the deal. Genius.”
All Soldiers Want This Trip
“I was a substitute in the Navy. On my second deployment (basically a six-month tour of the pacific), I was sent to Hawaii with two other guys for three months to attend training schools while the boat was at sea. We had our orders in hand with a flight ticket and a return ticket (San Diego to Honolulu, then Honolulu to Japan.) We showed up on base to report for classes, but there was a mixup. Our boat yeoman never told them that we were coming. We couldn’t get a seat in our classes and we had no bed in the barracks. Our tickets were already paid for and they weren’t about to issue us new orders and tickets.
So, we were told to find a reasonably priced hotel in town for the duration of our stay and to report to the barracks officer for a work detail in the morning. Naturally, like any good dumb and young male adults, we booked a place two blocks from Waikiki. It was amazing.
The next morning, we showed up to muster with the barracks officer and he basically told us he had no work for us, and even if he did, he wouldn’t care at all because he was set to retire in a few months and forget everything about work (we called that the ROAD program: retired on active duty.) He said he didn’t want to see us ever again and he never did.
We basically got a three-month vacation in Waikiki completely for free. I partied every night, learned to scuba dive, explored the islands, nailed tourists, and grew a beard.
It was the best loophole ever.”
The Key To The Summer
“In the summer of 2009, a new water park, Aquatica, opened up in Florida. My cousin and I went nearly every single day from open to close for two months. My favorite part? The river and some of their restaurants.
See, the park had small and large lockers where people could store their stuff. Smalls were $5, large were $10; but if you brought the key for the large lockers back, you’d get back $5. There were also three restaurants in the park: One was a buffet, one had great chicken tenders and fries, and another had awesome burgers. Luckily for my cousin and me, there was a pass you could get that let you eat unlimited at all three restaurants for the entire day.
Now, the keys did come with a wrist strap so you could always have your key on you and not lose it, but most people would stick the key in their pockets and go into the river, not realizing that it wasn’t the typical lazy river and, in fact, had some pretty powerful jets under the water to keep things moving. Even full grown men can have trouble standing in the middle of the river, due to how fast it was going.
Well, my cousin and I figured out within the first couple of days that people were just losing their keys and loose change all over that river. We could’ve done the responsible thing, which was to turn in the lost keys and pocket the change, but we were teenagers and ruthless.
So what we did instead was turn in the keys, yes, but as if it was our own key, and we’d pocket the $5. We would alternate who would turn in a key, as well as time it so that each time we did turn in a key, it was with someone brand new, further lowering the chances of getting caught. We’d turn in an average of about 10 keys every single day. We’d then use that money, plus whatever change we’d gathered, to buy the eating pass and pig out. Add into that the fact that my dad was actually giving us money so we could buy the food pass, and we were turning quite a bit of profit that summer.
My cousin spent his money on hair stuff, and I spent mine on video games. Best summer ever.”
It Must Fall Six Feet Without Breaking
“In high school, my science class had one of those projects where you had to drop an egg and build something to not have it break. The assignment sheet said ‘fall six feet without breaking.’ This particular teacher was a stickler for following instructions, often taking points off for little things like not putting the date in the preferred format on stuff, so I knew I had to be very precise.
Come the day of the project; One of the kids who had no obvious egg catching contraption walked up to the front of the class where the measurer thingy was, lifts his egg up about a half a foot above the six foot marker and drops his egg. It splattered all over the floor and the teacher told him he’s getting an F.
That smug legend replies, ‘Why? The egg fell six feet without breaking.’ I wish we had camera phones back then because the look of realization on the teacher’s face was epic. The teacher tried to tell him that wasn’t what he meant, but we all reminded him about ‘Always Following Instructions.’
He gave him an A, and the next year, the instructions were much more precise.”
A Cafeteria Loophole For The Ages
“I’m a software engineer working in testing, of which half the job is basically trying to find loopholes in everything to make someone else’s life miserable. The best loophole I’ve found was while working at a fairly large company. There were two cafeterias; a smaller one with a pretty mediocre salad bar, and a big cafeteria that had very nice food but ridiculous mark up. Food at both places was sold by weight, except for combo meals.
One of the offerings was $5.99 for a chicken and rice, but $6.99 for a chicken and rice and sides. There was no sign that defined sides, so I loaded up a plate with mashed potatoes from the salad bar and called it a side. The cashier blinked, said nothing, rang up my order ($16) and then discounted it down to $6.99.
For months, I abused this loophole. Whenever someone questioned me on it, I would ask them for the documentation that specifically stated what were and weren’t sides. Since they couldn’t present any to me, I ate chicken and rice and sides for something like four months straight, eating two of my three daily meals there for $6.99 a day.
Finally, my shenanigans caught the attention of someone higher up, and they changed the rules so that sides were actually defined. I only found out when I got to the cash register and they rang me up for $33 and said they weren’t sides, carefully defining what sides were. I paid for it without disputing it and went back to eating at the cheaper salad bar.
I did this at the salad bar as well, since they maxed out the cost by weight and ‘toppings’ were free, with the definition of toppings being pretty loose and applied after you bought your food, but since the food wasn’t that good no one ever tried to stop me from doing it there either.”
Needed A Diet After All That Free Food
“I’m a truck driver and I used to stop every day at the same McDonald’s. I started noticing that on the receipt, there was a link to fill out a survey. If you filled out the survey and wrote down a number on the receipt, you could turn it in for a free McDouble or a medium order of fries.
So, one day I decided to make two separate orders and get two receipts. I filled out both of the surveys (which only took about 15 seconds each) and waited for the next day so I could execute my plan. At lunch time, I used the receipts to place two separate orders. One for a free McDouble and the other one for free fries to see if my suspicions were accurate. I got two receipts and indeed, the survey link was printed on each receipt.
I’d beat the system so well that I ate free lunch for two months. That is, before I started intermittent fasting. Thanks McDonald’s.”
Only Ask If There Is An Emergency
“I was maybe 4 or 5. My mom and dad were having a party with all adults and no other kids. I was told to not go into the living room to bother ANYONE unless there was an emergency, but I could go into the kitchen to get drinks and snacks if I wanted.
The party had been going on for a while, so I went to the kitchen to get myself a glass of water. While I was in there, I noticed a plate of freshly iced sugar cookies. A whole plateful. I love sugar cookies and I love icing. So boom, I wonder if I can have one. Then I reason, it’s not an emergency, so I can’t ask, so I might as well take the whole plate, right?
A little while later, my mom is furiously looking for me, with my dad on her heels. She asked me what I was thinking of when I took the whole plate of cookies. I said, ‘I wanted to ask, but you said only ask in case of emergencies.’
Dad started cracking up. Mom deflated, and said, ‘I DID say that, didn’t I?’
Best night ever; I ate an entire tray of cookies and I didn’t get in trouble.”
The Cheapest Car Known To Man
“I had a lawyer friend who leased a car from a dealer that had a really poorly written contract. Depending on how a car lease is written (and maybe depending on what state you’re in), the dealer either continues to hold title to the car while it’s leased to you (with the contract giving you right of possession) OR you hold the title to the car while the dealership has a lien on the title so that ownership returns to the dealer at the end of the lease.
This contract gave the dealer the lien, rather than the title, BUT the way it was written, the entire contract expired at the end of the lease term, including the provision that returned the title to the dealer. So essentially, the contract disappeared, my friend was left with both the car and the title to the car and the dealer had no legal rights to the car.
The dealership called her and asked when she would be returning the car, to which she said, ‘I’m not.’ They said, ‘Oh, you’re buying the car?’ She said, ‘No, I’m just gonna keep it, thanks.’
The dealer ended up suing her, but once they looked closer, they realized they royally messed up the contract and offered to settle. Since she wasn’t completely confident that a judge wouldn’t just find a way to justify giving the car back to the dealer, she settled. The settlement ended up being her buying the car for about 20% of its value.”
Time Zones Were His BFF
“I don’t recommend trying this because I was honestly just really lucky.
One semester, I had a handful of lab reports due for a class, all on the same due date at midnight. I ended up finishing them all an hour late at 1 in the morning. I went ahead and submitted them anyway (because why not?). But the next day, my professor emailed me back to remind me there was a no late-work accepted policy in the syllabus, work submitted late would receive a zero with no exceptions, etc.
I politely responded with the point that technically a time zone was never specified for the assignments that were due, and that at the point they were submitted there were still places where it would’ve been considered on time.
He ended up accepting them with full credit.”
Some Quick Math Solved Problems
“I worked for a welding shop that was part of an international conglomerate. It was a bunch of shops from various places in the United States and Canada all under one corporate umbrella. Our shop had a unique work schedule of nine hours per day (Monday through Thursday) and a half-day on Friday. Everybody that worked in our shop loved it, but corporate hated it and tried to get rid of it several times.
One time, they tried to use the excuse of legally mandated maximum times between breaks. The four 9’s and a 4 schedule had a gap between first break and lunch that was 15 minutes too long and there was no way to move the two 15 minute breaks and the one half hour lunch blocks around to make it work. They read off a bunch of rules and regulations, which included a rule that said the amount of time allowed between a regular break and lunch break was slightly different than the amount of time between a lunch break and a regular break, and another that said the lunch break could be divided into two smaller 15 minute lunch breaks.
So I asked to see the sheet of regulations and scribbled some quick napkin math while the corporate schmuck droned his insincere regrets that we wouldn’t be able to have short Friday’s anymore. It turns out that if we split our lunch break in two and swapped places with the first break, the time between breaks would fall within the legal parameters and not disrupt the schedule at all.
I was a popular guy that day after I pointed that out to everybody.”
You Get A Piano And You Get A Piano!
“When I was at university, I really wanted to keep up my musical hobbies as I wasn’t doing a music-related degree. The music department would occasionally grant applications to non-music students to use their facilities, so I applied to see if I could get access to their pianos. I was classically trained and qualified, so I didn’t think it would be an issue. Sadly, they rejected my application on the basis that their rooms were always in use and fully booked and they had to give priority to their music major kids. As time went on and my studies got more intense, I felt pretty bummed out that I couldn’t just chill out and play piano sometimes.
One day, I had a class on the other side of the campus. As I was leaving the building, I could hear a piano in the distance. I walked towards where the sound was coming from until I found myself at the front of the music room building. It was literally a block of floors, each floor with half a dozen rooms, each one with a piano. As I walking towards it, someone held the front door open for me (which required a key pass that only music majors had access to) as they must have thought I was heading in to practice – I went along with it and walked straight in. I surveyed the entire building to find that almost none of the rooms were being used. I therefore not only had access to the music rooms but a whole choice of pianos as well. As you can imagine, I felt pretty sick that I had been lied to about the availability of the music rooms – they clearly just lied to lie.
So, as someone who was paying ridiculous fees for my education and as a student who should supposedly have access to everything that his university has to offer, I started taking advantage of this situation. Every day, I would wait outside the music building, waiting for someone to innocently walk out while I pretended to walk in. On certain days, no one would come out for a long time. At this point, I would knock on the windows of the ground floor music rooms and say, ‘I forgot my key pass, do you mind opening the door for me?’ They would always very kindly open up and never bothered to question if I really was a music student. As this went on, people got to know me. The fact that I could also play piano made it less suspicious that I was just some nobody up to no good. Eventually, it got to the point where the tables would turn. It turns out that students did indeed forget their key passes and on several occasions, I got knocks on the window while I was playing piano. In other words, music students were asking a non-music student for access to their pianos. This went on until the day I graduated. You can imagine the shock on the faces of the friends I made from the music department on graduation day when they saw me receive a degree in a completely different subject.”
Don’t Neglect The Stickers
“I’m not sure if they do this anymore, but many years ago, while an employee at HomeGoods, the store had this promotion where, employees could get these scratch-off cards that reduced the cost of an item by $1, $5 or $20 each time they found a price sticker on the floor. Each card had three scratch-off areas, but the catch was that you could only scratch off one.
However, if you used a lamp, you could see which scratch off area was the $1, $5 or $20 – meaning that you could very easily rack up a $20 gift card for every sticker you found on the floor.
The idea was that if employees collected these fallen stickers, regular, nefarious shoppers, couldn’t stick them on something of far greater value and check out at that price.
There were no rules on how many an employee could have, or combine, because most folks who worked at that store were middle aged women who really could care less and most of the stuff HomeGoods sells is garbage.
But then there was me – a starving, broke college kid, who got paid nothing, but who worked in the back room unloading trucks, and who also was occasionally tasked with stocking shelves. In short, I was the only person who seemed to care about this promotion, and my bosses, who wanted to show their higher-ups that they were putting the corporate programs into effect, were happy to oblige each sticker I presented with a scratch off ticket of my own.
Now HomeGoods, while normally a purveyor of fine garbage, also occasionally has very nice, very high end, house-wears on the cheap (comparatively). These items, like cook-wear, linens, comforters, are more often than not, usually much more expensive than the rest of the store’s stock, and take a while to sell.
For me, the guy who unloaded the trucks, this meant that when I saw something absurdly nice, I could put it very high up into a loading bay, and just let it sit for a while, because the senior citizens I worked with would never go up to get it.
At the end of a four-month summer, I’d amassed about $1,100 in these little gift cards, and with them I bought: a dozen useful kitchen tools, nice flatware, plates and glasses, pillows, a queen sized down comforter, duvet cover and sheets, and full set of AllClad copper core cook wear (a new piece came in once a month). Thank you, HomeGoods.”