"I paid three hundred dollars a month to park a really pimped out van in a heated garage in Boston. If you parked front in no one could see you. Found a spot near an electrical outlet and ran a line into the van. Paid for a $10 gym across the street that was open for 24 hours so I had all the hot showers I wanted. Served at a nearby restaurant so ate most of my meals for free. Watched tv on my laptop with the free WiFi from the coffee shop above me. Literally lived in downtown Boston for 310 dollars a month while I went to college."
"When I was a kid there was a payphone down the street that if you put your quarter in made a call but no one answered it would give you back two quarters. Went there all the time and called home when I knew no one was there to answer."
"My friend used to restock condom machines in pubs and collect the money from them. The machines would always break and get jammed all the time but because it was condoms no one would ever tell someone that the machine ate their money. He would just count how many condoms were gone and give that amount of money to the company and pocket the rest."
"Worked out how to get the jackpot every time on a Connect 4 fruit machine in a pub I used to drink in.
It would cost about £5-£10 before you’d get into the bonus round, then when you did, you’d play a connect 4 game against the machine.
You place the first counter, and then after the machine places the next counter, you mirror the machine’s move. Every game ends in a draw, and you win the jackpot, which was £50.
The pub landlord removed the machine after around 3 months as it was regularly empty, basically paid for my drinking and more for 3 months!"
"I went to a sporting goods store and they asked me for my phone number when I was paying. I was in a bad mood and didn’t want to fight with the clerk so I told them our local area code + 555-1212 (which is the old number for directory assistance), clerk accepted it and I left.
When I checked my receipt I had a huge number of loyalty points – because apparently, a ton of other people did the same thing. I called the office the next day and switched the “account” to my new address. A half-dozen times over the next few years, I went and got free stuff with all the points that I kept racking up as one of their most loyal customers."
"Used to work at Starbucks like 7 years ago and they used to print these receipts where if you filled out a survey it would give you a 6 digit code which you could then exchange for a free drink.
However when you gave in the receipt with the code we would just toss it in the garbage and then give the free drink. So over a shift I would just keep all the survey receipts when people didn’t want them, write random numbers on them, then keep a wallet full of free coffee. Since I already got tons of free drinks, I would give them to homeless people and explain it was good for a free coffee. Probably gave away like 100 free drinks."
"There is an app for a local burger chain where it allows you to “roll the dice” to get a code for a free double-patty burger upgrade. It was designed so you could only try it once per day and it even shows the date of the roll on the code so the cashier could verify it.
However, I found out that you can just change the date on your phone and try again immediately. If you got nothing, change it again and just keep going until you get the code. Then, when you got the code, you change the date back to the current date and the app updates the code so it looks like you rolled it today.
I got free burger upgrades for years until they finally got rid of the feature altogether. I don’t know if anyone ever figured out this exploit, or they removed it for other reasons."
"Arby’s used to have a “take a survey on the back of the receipt and get a free roast beef sandwich”. But when I got the free one, I got a receipt then too. I bought one sandwich got literally dozens for free over the course of a year or so."
"Parking meters took credit cards. But they weren’t actually connected to a live network at all times. The machine just confirmed the card number was valid and was not expired, then spit out a valid pass. So when my card number got stolen and replaced, I kept my old, canceled card.
Of course when the system tried to run the card later it would be declined. My car and I were long gone by then. Sadly they wised up and now it charges your card before giving you a pass."
"In high school, our p.e. grade was based on improvement. We took a skills test at the beginning and another at the end and your grade was based on how much you improved. So, once I learned that, I always sucked at the first test and then did miraculously better at the second, so I had a massive “improvement” and thus, a better grade."
"Because I was a good student and rarely got into trouble, I was allowed to have my own phone extension in my room. So, if I was out past curfew, I’d call home. When my mom answered, I’d say, “It’s for me. I’ve got it.” And she’d think I was up in my room."
"Still ongoing. Thanks to a charge card I was granted top tier elite status with a hotel chain. I downgraded 6 years ago but the status remained. The hotel chain went through a merger but since I had retained the status for over ten years I was given lifetime top status in the new program that was created."
"Local casino issued a $20 free play coupon in the newspaper with no expiration date. I talked to the newspaper delivery guy and asked him about that copy and he told me he’s got 100’s of them in the van as they were a few days old now. I got all of them, clipped out the coupons and proceeded to make $19.50 every day after work for around 500 or so days.
Not quite years, but pretty damn close. The casino never printed a coupon without expiration/one per customer rules ever since."
"My old job I worked at a pretty large gym (gold level, like the 3rd highest level). The monthly fee was $79 for the gold membership but employees got a free diamond membership. Worked there for a year and a half before I quit, but my account was never deactivated. Been going there for a while completely free, still not found out. Diamond membership is like $200 a month."
"Got keys to a new flat on a Friday afternoon, the place had electric but it wasn’t in my name.
Went to the electric company just before closing and the lady said “flat 8 you say……. Hummm we only have record of 7 flats on that building. Tell you what (glances at the clock) come back Monday with the serial number on your meter, and we’ll get you all hooked up”
I never went back and enjoyed free electricity for over 2 years until I moved out.
Edit to clarify: when I say ‘wasn’t in my name’ this was originally a large single dwelling property that had been converted into flats/apartments. My one I guess was a late addition and I was the 1st Tennant. It simply wasn’t registered to me or anyone."
"I used to live in an apartment across the road from a casino whilst at University. They released an app where if you “check-in” you get points that go towards free food and drinks.
Because I was close enough to the casino I could just check-in without going to the casino itself.
Every Saturday I used to get a free burger, fries and drink and watch sport in the sports bar.
They eventually scrapped the app; it was awesome considering I was a broke Uni student."
"Circa Late 80s. You could make a long-distance collect call from a payphone, and charge it to a private number. The operator would call the other number to confirm.
We’d ask the operator to call the number of another payphone nearby and have a friend authorize the call. Free long distance for almost a year."