Absolutely Genius Loopholes
Sometimes they’re mechanical glitches, and other times they’re oversights in the fine print, but loopholes are everywhere. If you’re clever (or lucky) enough, you can be like these Redditors who exploited loopholes in the system to make huge profits, get sweet deals on merchandise and services, or trick machines. Have you found any secret loopholes?
1. Scrambled Eggs
In high school, our 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.
Come the day of the project, one of the kids who has no obvious egg-catching contraption walks up to the front of the class where the measurer thingy was, lifts his egg up about half a foot above the six-foot marker, and drops his egg. It splatters all over the floor and the teacher tells him he’s getting an F. That smug legend had the perfect reply.
“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 isn’t what he meant but we all reminded him about “always following instructions”.
He ended up giving him an A, and the next year the instructions were much more precise. It was amazing.
2. Three For Free
The Walmart by my house used to have this craft brew display (Lagunitas for those familiar) set up in their booze section. They had big sealed boxes of four six-packs stacked on top of each other to make the display, then they had individual six-packs sitting on top. But they had made a huge mistake.
I guess the box of four six-packs had the same barcode as an individual six-pack, because when I scanned the big box at the self-checkout it only charged me for a single six-pack. It was like buy one get three free! I did this like every other day for a month, I had boxes upon boxes of this stuff stacked up next to my fridge lol!
I even got stopped twice by the more vigilant employees when they checked my ID to put in their approval code on the self-checkout machine and noticed the price on the screen. I played dumb both times and they didn’t really do much except make me put the box back and get a single six-pack.
They didn’t change the display though, so I just went back the next day and did it again. Eventually, they took the display down, but boy was that one inebriated summer!
3. Do You Have Your Receipt?
When supermarkets entered India, they would give a printed-out receipt and the security guy at the exit would check your receipt and eyeball the groceries…to prevent shoplifting. But here’s how we cheated the system.
You would drop off the groceries at home, hand over the receipt to someone else, and that someone else would enter the supermarket again, buy the exact same stuff and walk out without paying. They would show the receipt and drop off the groceries at home, then hand over the receipt to someone else…etc.
The people who figured this out tried to keep it a secret, but word got out, and the supermarkets handed the security guy a rubber stamp that said “delivered” or “exited,” and made them stamp every receipt.
4. On The Clock
A while back they got new keypads at my job that wouldn’t let you punch in if you showed up late for work. It would just say, “too late, see a manager” and then you’d have to go through the awkward process of telling your manager, having them follow you up the stairs, and they had to sign a late slip for you.
One day, I figured out a genius solution. If I put a nine at the end of my four-digit key (because it doesn’t overwrite the last key) I could punch in late without being penalized. Naturally, I exploited this loophole whenever I was too late for work. Eventually, they caught on to what I was doing and had a manager talk to me and tell me that if I showed up late three more times (three strikes) I’d be fired.
I think the only reason they didn’t fire me then and there was because they didn’t want to admit there was a loophole in the system.
5. Sneaky Steps
My university was trying to encourage people to walk so if we download a specific health tracker that’s connected to our account, it would convert steps into points. The points would get you stuff like free coffee, mugs, discounts for stuff, and the most expensive prize: a university hoodie which costs about £30.
Now, the health tracking app is pretty basic, it won’t let you log your steps manually but it does let you connect with other health apps. That’s when I made a satisfying discovery. 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 can walk in a day, but he managed to trick it by setting his height to be 1 cm because the shorter you are, the more steps you need to take to cover the same distance.
In the end, he claimed about 10+ hoodies and he would just get them for anyone who asks. The uni 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 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 on that website. So he made a python script that would automatically send a request to everyone, earning him points.
6. Recycled Bean Juice
My Dad is a recycling man for my town. And man did he ever do this well. So with Mcdonald’s, you know how you can get a stamp card and a sticker on every cup? When you fill out the stamp card you get a free drink. Well whenever he goes to pick up someone’s recycling, sometimes a person leaves their Mcdonald’s drink cup in there. And the sticker is still on it.
So he takes the sticker and puts it on his stamp card. Let’s say he has over 50+ stamp cards for a free drink by doing this, and counting. He is exploiting that one for sure. Free coffee for life.
7. Cafeteria Cashout
Years ago, at a certain major university, the administration decided to put all your services on one card: everything from the library to the photocopiers, to exams and food services. A fine idea. There was just one tiny problem…
The code somehow presumed that everyone would, at some point, put a balance on the card. They did not account for the possibility of someone showing up in certain places with a zero balance. One set of such places involved anywhere that served university-issued food. In short, as long as you kept a zero balance on your card, you ate for free.
You’d get rung in at the cash, and present your card. It would scan but not show the cashier the balance (because of privacy regulations); it would only say “OK” or “not OK”. If you had a balance that was not sufficient, or negative (for instance, in the case of library fines) it would compare X to Y and it wouldn’t go through.
If your balance was zero, it went through every time, so somebody didn’t set up that binary properly. This went on for YEARS. In certain faculties and departments-—and it’s easy to imagine which ones—it was legendary.
It got to the point, I’m told, that they were actually holding meetings and disciplining people who took advantage of it because they were so concerned about keeping it going. It only ended because the university tore out all of its old cafeterias and put new ones in, presumably because the old ones were losing staggering amounts of money.
The new cafeteria had a completely new payment system that did not apparently have this issue. I found out towards the end of my time there, but I didn’t feel too upset because I lived off-campus and only ate within the university inside my college, which was on a different system and had way, WAY better food.
Someone literally said, “How would you like a free lunch?”, showed me his 0.00 balance on a nearby machine, and then bought me lunch. Now that I’m more involved in and aware of university operations, I’m actually kind of angry about this, like all free lunches, it wasn’t, but it remains an undeniably first-class hack.
(Personally, my own view is that student nutrition is a huge problem, and we should be giving food away to students, but the legal problems surrounding that are truly prohibitive).
8. Kohl’s Clothes
I worked at Kohl’s unloading trucks. I also ended up having to take out the trash, and collect it from all over the store. You know those “Kohl’s Cash” tickets they give you that are worth about $10 each? Well, the cashiers are supposed to tear those in two, but the vast majority just threw them in the trash.
I would regularly volunteer for trash duty, and on the way to the back, I’d pick out any of the Kohl’s Cash tickets. I ended up with thousands of dollars worth of free clothes for my family. I’d also find stuff on sale and hide it in the back until it went on 90% clearance. (To be honest, nothing at Kohl’s is reasonably priced until it’s at least 50% off because of their insane markup).
9. What’s The Question?
In most states, children/teens have to take a series of specific standardized tests to determine the effectiveness of the school and the progress of the student themselves. These aren’t the APs, SAT, ACT, or TOEFLs. These are state-administered and in my state when we had to take it, people found a “glitch” so to speak.
So the way the test works is that the questions got harder the more you got right. Also, it was not timed so you could pause the test. However, whenever you paused and then came back you got a different question. This question may have been easier for you to do if you were the student.
So basically, a room of 30 or maybe more students would get a question they would get stumped on. Then pause the test and resume seconds after to receive another question that they knew how to do. Of course, you could do this as many times as you wanted to during the test. It was WILD!!
I scored 99% better in the whole state because of this. (The new question would be in the same difficulty “set” as the one you couldn’t do. The new question you got just might have been faster to do or easier to comprehend. So it was kind of a half glitch and you still had to be a little smart).
10. Movie Mogul
I’ve been getting free movie tickets for a while now. Fandango has an app that you can buy your tickets on and it becomes a QR code thingy, and the person at the booth just scans it and you go in. If you screenshot it and show the picture the QR code doesn’t work but if your local theater has a nervous teenager working the booth and a long line of customers, they’re not gonna make a big deal.
Instead, they’ll just assume the computer is being weird and let you in. When you get inside the theater, pull out your phone and return the tickets through the app, it will let you because it sees that its QR code was never scanned. I’ve bought movie tickets for my friends a bunch of times, and then they pay me back for spotting them. So free tickets and profit.
I used to work at Papa John’s to pay my way through college. There was a contest we had where if you got someone to “upsize” their pizza from like a medium to a large for an extra $2, you got points toward movie tickets. A large was simply $2 extra normally anyways.
Anyone that ordered a large, I simply put in a medium and “upsized” it. I won every week. My coworkers didn’t notice this obvious loophole and it didn’t cost the customer extra so I didn’t have a problem with this morally gray area. Free movie tickets every week was huge in college.
GameStop once had a “return ANY five games for $10 in credit” deal. I did a bit of mental math, walked over to the used bin, and sauntered up to the counter with five copies of Princess Ponyland Express or whatever for 99 cents each. The cashier looked more curious than weirded out as he rang them up.
I swiped my card and then gestured at my pile of used garbage and said “I’d like to trade in some games”. He laughed out loud, gave me a high-five, and said, “This promo has been live for weeks and you’re the first person to figure it out! I can’t let you exploit it, but just take any one game you want”.
And that’s how I got Read Dead Redemption One for the low, low price of high-fiving a Gamestop employee.
13. Buying In Bulk
I feel pretty guilty for this one but I’ll tell it anyways. This was about five years back when I still played the YuGiOh trading card game. A new set came out that was about $20 per box. Target ordered them in bulk so they arrived in larger boxes that contained five sets per box.
For some reason, Target didn’t bother opening the larger boxes so I just took the whole thing to the cashier and got five sets for the price of one. I told a few friends and we ended up driving to four different Targets and got the same results.
14. Feedback For Food
Mcdonald’s had a promotion in the UK, that when you buy anything, at the top of the receipt is a link to give feedback on your experience and they’ll give you a code to get an extra value meal for $1 and 99 cents. I then learnt from a friend at Mcdonald’s that on their tills, there’s no option to input a code or verify it.
So now whenever I fancy a big mac and fries, all I need to do is show them the top section of my receipt and I’ve got myself a deal.
15. Saturday School
My high school required you to attend a certain minimal number of classes a year in order to graduate. If you missed too many days, they made you go to “Saturday School” to make up missed days. But Saturday school was great. It was just half days of sitting quietly reading a book.
In any case, I realized that they didn’t track when you were absent and when you did Saturday school. So I just went to every Saturday school to build up credit so I could skip days later in the year whenever I wanted.
16. Sticker Stash
I’m not sure if they do this anymore, but many years ago, while I was 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 one, five, or twenty dollars each time they found a price sticker on the floor.
Each card had three scratch-off areas, and 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 $20 one, meaning that you could very easily rack up a 20 dollar 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 couldn’t care less, and most of the stuff HomeGoods sells is garbage.
But then there was me…a starving, broke college kid, who got paid horribly, 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, housewares on the cheap (comparatively). These items, like cookware, linens, comforters, etc 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 1100 in these little gift cards, and with them I bought: A full set of AllClad copper core cookware (a new piece came in once a month), a queen-size down comforter, duvet cover and sheets, pillows, nice flatware, plates and glasses, and a dozen useful kitchen tools.
To this day, ten years later, I still have all the AllClad, which alone retail for $800, and some of the kitchen tools. All of it for free.
17. Change Dispenser
A vending machine at work would still operate after hitting the coin return button. Anyone could pick an item then hit the coin return to get their money back plus the item. If you think that is awesome, it gets better.
Say you put four quarters in the machine and repeatedly press the change return button, you will get four quarters each time you press it. I completely emptied the vending machine one night after everyone went home, so I basically have free laundry for a few months.
18. Home Free
I have a nice eight wooded acres in the middle of a pretty ritzy subdivision with a large house on it—and here’s the thing…I pay no property taxes. None. No emergency services district assessment (tax that pays for Fire/EMS), no school district assessment, no city taxes, no taxes of any kind on a property worth quite a bit. I pay no water or sewer. Trash is picked up for free.
So, back a mere 15-20 years ago, the place was a county water treatment facility and a Road and Bridge Department garage and warehouse out in the middle of nowhere. Expanding suburbia soon overtook the capacity of the old antiquated water system and a new modern system was built to meet the needs of the new subdivisions.
The old water plant was shut down and demolished, and a few years later the Road and Bridge Department, expanding to meet the building and maintenance of all the new roads to service all the new growth, moved out to new facilities since the old ones were now way too old and way too small.
It sat there for a while, empty and disused while the nearby town annexed a huge chunk of the county including the area surrounding the old county yard. Eventually, the whole eight acres were surplussed and sold at auction, and I bought it for a pittance.
Over a few years, doing most of the work myself, I turned the old warehouse into a home. The place is huge, all the structure and plumbing is already there, so for a minimal expense I end up with a lot of large rooms in what I turned into a massive modern house for less money than you would ever imagine, plus the old maintenance garage still can hold multiple vehicles, boat, RV, tractor, workshop, whatever.
Time marched on and pretty soon a developer bought the surrounding land and built huge upscale houses all around. Property values are through the roof and I could sell my home and eight acres for a fortune but I never will because I own the place free and clear and don’t have to pay a dime in taxes or utilities (beyond electricity and interwebs).
Why not? Well, it was platted as government property when the various taxing assessment districts were defined, and the county doesn’t pay taxes. The city annexed all around it, but didn’t include any county-owned property in the annexation for some obscure reason, including the eight acres in question.
This whole eight-acre area is a big black hole that doesn’t exist in any taxing authorities jurisdiction, so I just exist without having to pay taxes on it to anyone. The water and sewer just work without me getting a bill, the trash is picked up from the dumpster just like it always was, and nobody ever questions it.
I just kind of surf along in my little kingdom for next to nothing while all the neighbors surrounding me with smaller homes on much smaller lots pay out fortunes in property taxes and HOA dues and have to deal with city ordinances and HOA rules and bylaws.
19. Numbers Game
I live in a rural town. I don’t have a degree, but I’m excellent at math. I got a job teaching GED math classes which technically requires a degree. It was supposed to be temporary and I was supposed to give my boss a refresher on math so they could eventually let me go.
My boss knows I have a daughter to support on my own as a dad and have really turned my life around, and my boss already knows how to do math. My boss still always tells her supervisor she just can’t get the hang of algebra so I can keep my job. My boss is cool.
20. Excel-lent Idea
When I was in university we had a machine that gave you a little slip for the windshield to show you paid to park there, so I used Excel to make duplicates and put them in my windshield every morning without having to pay the $8/day to park. But that eventually came to bite me from behind.
I got caught after about six months when the machine was broken one day but I still had a slip on my dash.
21. Retirement Fund
After six years of working at my hospital in a high-stress, extremely high-turnover department, I left for graduate school.
Because I always picked up several extra shifts each week, shifts that my boss would have to work herself otherwise, she was amenable to my request that I be allowed to stay on as a per diem (just to keep my foot in the door and as a plan B in case I failed out of my program), but be exempt from the requirement to work a minimum number of shifts each month to stay active.
We put it in writing and the VP of Human Resources signed off on it. They both agreed that I was a well-trained asset for them if I ever chose to come back during breaks and that it would cost them nothing to keep my name on the payroll since if I don’t work as a per diem, I don’t get paid.
The union and management just renegotiated a five-year contract to give per diems a company contribution to their retirement fund if it has already been set up, every six months.
They raised the number of hours that you have to work each month to qualify as an active per diem, but again, I have an indefinite written and signed agreement with my boss and HR that I am exempt from ever having to work a single shift and still stay active as a per diem, and as an active per diem I now get $785 into my retirement fund every six months.
I am never quitting, but will likely never work another shift again.
Three years ago I worked at a grocery store as a cashier and they had a system where every dollar spent was put towards a point system to give you discounts on their gas. You also got discounts on specific items with the card. They tracked our employee cards so we couldn’t sneak some free fuel points.
But my mom’s old phone number was still linked to an account, so whenever a customer didn’t have an account (which was free) I would just type in my mom’s old number and say it was the store code to give them discounts. I paid next to nothing for gas while I worked there and never got caught.
My great student card heist: I live in South Australia. Basically, the cost to apply for a uni degree here is about $60. So you apply for a degree, enroll in topics, get your “full-time student” ID card, then unenroll in all your topics. If you unenroll before the census date (which is usually a month or so after uni starts), you don’t get charged for the course…but they don’t ask for your student card back!
That means that you get to claim all the sweet sweet student discounts. The best part? Awesome discounts on public transport. If, like me, you get public transport twice a day, five days a week, it costs you almost $40. Having a student card halves the cost. So you basically make up for the $60 you paid to apply for uni in three weeks of catching the train.
24. Sub Story
My boyfriend and I, if we go to a specific Subway in town, never have to pay for our sandwiches. The cashier that works there loves us for some reason and never charges us for our sandwiches. If we get chips and a drink, he charges one chip and drink, and then just takes it off my boyfriend’s Subway card.
If someone else is there, he’ll say, “Your total is 18 dollars” or whatever it is, and then the person won’t be paying attention, he’ll end the order and hand us the receipt. I honestly haven’t paid for a Subway sandwich for I don’t know how long. I don’t eat there that often, but I’d say in the last year, I probably got about 20 free Subway meals.
My boyfriend probably got around 50+ free sandwiches. The guy is now manager and still gives us free subs. I don’t know why he hasn’t gotten into trouble, but hey, I won’t complain or rat him out.
25. Outsmarting The Intelligence Test
When I was in high school, I applied for a summer job with the county. As part of the “unbiased” application process, each applicant was asked to take an intelligence test. The test consisted of about 80 questions. Each question was four or five line drawings, and you had to put an X in the box next to the one that didn’t belong. Pretty easy.
I happened to notice, though, that the test paper was two parts, which is two sheets of paper that are attached together back-to-back with a sheet of carbon paper in between. I could peel the sheets apart and look inside. I couldn’t believe it.
The second sheet just had a bunch of boxes printed on it, and I could see from the first few questions that I’d answered that the Xs I’d marked ended up in the printed boxes on the second sheet thanks to the carbon paper. So, I did all of the questions with obvious answers, and if I was unsure, I just peeled the paper apart, noted where the box was printed on the second sheet, and made sure I got it right.
Of course, I got 100%. I figure that if you can cheat on an intelligence test, you’re pretty smart.
26. Free Connection
I had Comcast, moved, and had a new service set up. I called to pay my first bill and they didn’t have an account for me. A year later I still wasn’t receiving bills but still had internet. Then I had to move again. I wonder how long I could have ridden that gravy train.
I mean, I wasn’t trying to be deceitful and outright told them that I was getting internet without paying but they told me since I wasn’t a customer there that they couldn’t do anything besides transfer me to sales. But it was Comcast so who cares.
27. One Lot To Rule Them All
I attend a very large university and parking on campus is a nightmare, especially if you’re a student. The only lots available to park in are very far out of the way and parking passes are expensive (especially considering poor college students). Because of this, people park illegally all the time.
In response to the illegal parking, there is literally a division of the campus authorities that does nothing but drive around to pass out parking tickets (I guess not only pass out parking tickets, they jumped my car once at like 4 am but still, mostly parking tickets).
A friend of mine was able to beat the system, getting ticketed only twice which was far cheaper than paying for a parking pass. The lot he used to park in every day? The campus authorities’ station parking lot.
28. Day Off
My work has a point system for absences where you can accrue only a certain amount of missed days per six-month cycle. The shift I work is always the first shift to lose hours, but 99% of the time our manager tells us to ignore the schedule and to work our regular hours.
So for the last six months, we’re expected to work full-time, but technically we’re not on the schedule and the computer can’t add points to our record if we call in. I’m courteous enough to call in to let my manager know I won’t be there, but I’m taking full advantage of numerous four-day weekends and holidays off because they can’t pin it on me.
29. Take Your Time…Off
Complex, but lucrative: our HR guy is a known idiot. When I was first hired years ago, it was for a temp gig, just six weeks, which I took for some extra money. I did that same gig once a year for a few years until a permanent spot opened up and I was hired full-time, year-round.
I was a temp for four years, and full-time for four and counting. Yay me. Without getting into the particulars of how my company doles out PTO hours, just understand that they’re extremely generous about it for full-timers (a set number plus an amount based on hours worked per month), while temps get nothing.
Turns out, our HR idiot had originally classified me as full-time way back when, so I’ve been accruing at the full-time rate for eight years. In six months, I’ll cap out around 800 hours, which usually takes about ten years of legitimate full-time employment.
30. They’ll Never Know
My current job is a fast-food franchise with five other stores in the market. I started out at one store making $11/hr. After my first year, I got a raise of 25 cents, and within a month I was promoted to trainer with another 25-cent raise. After about three months of that, I was late for work too many times so they decided to demote me.
I took a week off after that because I felt down, and when I got back I noticed they hadn’t docked my pay. I didn’t tell anyone and wanted to avoid attention, so I started working the night shift to earn an extra dollar an hour, so I was making $13/hr. After six months I had made the overnights one of the most productive shifts so the boss wanted to promote me to manager.
I agreed and they sent me off to another store for two months for training. When I got to that store, the amount I was making on my pay stub was $13 instead of $12 + $1 because the person in charge of payroll is lazy. So when the new store put me on night shifts they were paying me $13/hr + $1/hr. When my two months were up I got the raise bringing my total up to $15/hr on normal shifts.
But when I got back to my original store, the lazy payroll guy just totaled my wage again on my pay stub so that it was $15. After about three weeks of me being back, the other overnight manager started not liking me, so I demoted myself and asked to be moved stores for good. So they moved me to the slowest store in the market, without fixing the pay again, so when I got to the store I’m currently at I was making $15.
To finish off, I work overnights in my new store, so I get the $1 premium again on top of my $15. I also get free food, and the store is so quiet I get maybe 20 customers a night.
31. Double Up
I sometimes go to lunch at a place called “Fresh Market”. For three months, I saved a TON of money. I took advantage of an online ordering exploit that they recently fixed.
One of their rice bowls containing veggies, usually chicken, rice, and some sort of sauce is $10. I found out by accident by ordering online that if you choose a 1/2 sandwich 1/2 bowl, also $10, they would give you a full sandwich and a full bowl. So I had dinner as well as lunch many many nights thanks to what appeared to be a teenage employee oversight. They no longer offer that option on their website.
32. On A Budget
I moved into an apartment that was considered below-market housing. Basically, that means the landlord gets a tax cut for renting the place at a cheaper than the market rate, and it’s part of a registry used by social services to help people find housing, but anyone is allowed to move in.
Anyway, we knew the landlord, so he knocked a little bit more rent off the place since the last tenants hadn’t paid in over a year and he just wanted to rent it to someone he knew could pay. I transferred my electricity account over from the old address to the new one and there were no issues, but at the new address, I had been put on income-discounted pricing.
I was thrilled because my income was $200 per month too much to qualify, but still very low. For over a year I had discounted electricity until the company realized the account holder didn’t qualify. Apparently, it was just tied to the address because every previous tenant had qualified and nobody looked twice.
When it was finally caught, the electric company was very nice about it and put me on budget billing. Normally they would have made me repay the difference from the discount, but they saw my income was low and waived it.
33. Two For One
Years ago (30-35 years, that is) when I was a kid, my family would go to Shoney’s about once a week. If you’re not familiar with Shoney’s, it has burgers and other meals kinda like an IHOP, but it also has an all-you-can-eat salad and a hot food bar. The bar has stuff on it that makes a meal in and of itself (fried chicken, meatloaf, some sides, etc).
Anyway, back then (early to mid ’80s), just getting the salad/hot food bar was $2 and 99 cents but you could add it to any of their entree meals for just 99 cents. Their cheapest entree meal was their “all-American” burger…just a basic burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, and a side of fries. It cost $1 and 99 cents.
Add the salad/hot bar for 99 cents, and you pay $2 and 98 cents for the whole thing, $0.01 cheaper than just the bar. We’d do this, eat the food from salad/hot bar for that meal (no take-home leftovers from the bar), then just take the burger and fries home for another meal later
34. Dues Blues
I found a way to basically “glitch” my way into SAG-AFTRA. You can’t work in the union without getting a union job and you can only “technically” work a union job if you’re in the union. Well, I basically took a non-union job and asked them if they would “declare it union” (more complicated than this but I’m tired and don’t have all week).
I then paid the upfront costs (fines for the company for not choosing a union actor on a union job), hired an out-of-state law firm to make the job paperwork official, and then sent in my union application a month later. Three years later I’m a steady working member, have full healthcare, and no one is the wiser (or they don’t care cause I pay the dues).
35. Under Warranty
I purchased a wireless keyboard at least eight years ago, maybe ten? It’s awesome, except I broke one of the keys about two years later, so I contacted the manufacturer to see about just buying a replacement control key because the keyboard is awesome and I thought just the key would be cheap. But they said it’s still under warranty and they sent me a replacement keyboard.
About two or three years later, a similar thing happens and I’m all set to throw down money for a replacement, but the replacement keyboard’s warranty time started when they sent me that one, so I wound up with a replacement for my replacement. This just kept going on.
I’m currently on my third or fourth replacement keyboard. I’ve lost count. (Over the years, the design of the keyboard has improved so much, the current one is not at all identical to the original K800 I purchased, but it’s still a fantastic keyboard. If they would ever give me an opportunity to get a replacement, I would).
36. In Need Of Keys
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, fully booked, and they had to give priority to their music major. 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 walked 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. 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.
37. The Doctor Is In
I used to work as the vendor receiver manager for Food Lion. I used to really love Dr Pepper back then (now I’m a cherry coke man). We were having a sale where Dr Pepper was 59 cents for a two liter. I was excited until I talked to the driver who delivered the product and he was like, “Yeah I have a ton of coupons for 55 cents off that we are sticking on them for next week”.
I calmed myself and asked him for as many as he was willing to part with. He handed me 400 coupons. The coupons were already active. I bought 400 two-liters of Dr. Pepper at four cents each. I cleared out two stores in my town. Some of you are probably wondering if I filled up a bathtub with Dr Pepper and bathed in it.
The answer is yes. BECAUSE I COULD.
38. TV Tricks
My dad figured out a good one back in the 80s. Just like they do now, back then cable companies would give you a free weekend trial of a premium channel (HBO, Cinemax, etc) in an effort to get more people to sign up for those channels and pay more. However, our cable company’s method of giving you access to the special channel was to send a signal to your cable box which unlocked the channel.
To turn off the channel at the end of the free trial, another signal was sent. My dad figured out that the signal to lock it was only sent for a short period of time, so before the end of the free weekend, he would unplug the cable box and then plug it back up the next day. Since the box never got the signal, we would have a free premium channel for a while.
Usually, after a month or two it would get shut off so we’d have to wait for the next free trial weekend.
39. A Meaty Deal
In college one weekend, my girlfriend (now wife) and I were celebrating some special occasion. Maybe a birthday, don’t quite remember. At any rate, I went to Kroger to pick up some steaks and I got this pack of two really nice filet mignons.
They were normally priced around $25 for the two-pack depending on total weight but there was a special going on so they were “only” $18. But we’d done good on our grocery budget that month and could afford the splurge so I got them.
We get to the checkout and it rings up the $25 price. The store policy was that if meats rang up with the wrong price they were free so I walked out with two free steaks. Of course, being a broke college student I walked right back in there and filled up the cart with every last package of those steaks and they all rang up wrong so they were free.
We ate delicious steak for every meal for a few days after that. We were tired of it by the time we finally finished them.
40. Copy And Paste
I was laid off from a job and my not-so-smart manager gave me my separation agreement with one additional paycheck. He told me to take my time to sign it, show it to my lawyer, etc. I went home and reviewed my actual contract. The second I started reading it, my eyes widened.
My manager had copied and pasted my contract from a VP Sales contract which stated that I was owed six months’ full salary, benefits, and any commissions derived from sales that I generated. I went in the next day with a smug look on my face and asked the CEO, “Have you read this”?
41. Time Out
I used to work on checkouts and at one point they started to care about scan speeds. The top three people on items per minute got “star points” that could be exchanged for several things including a gift card to spend in store (1 star point=£1).
I figured out pretty early that it was timed from scanning between items, not in a continuous fashion or between a transaction. If you pressed the total button it stopped the timer, so I exploited it hard. There was a target of 18 items per minute. The first month, I had 40 items a minute, and the second place was 28.
Obviously, I won the points that month. But it looked suspicious so I pulled it back a little and kept it around a low 30 to make it believable. I paid for my shopping for about six months using that trick.
42. Coin Slot Jimmy
A little community center/arcade where I used to live as a kid had an air hockey table in the back room. Somebody figured out that if you jimmy the coin slot in just the right way, you could get an extra three or four games out of one quarter until the thing was fully pressed in and you’d have to put in a new one.
None of us had much money, so this was a lifesaver. The employees didn’t really care because what money we did have was typically spent at the snack bar, so they made money off us anyway. I kind of miss that place. They always had fresh watermelon for free for kids who had absolutely no money so nobody would feel left out.
43. Ticket Please
I used to take the train from Liverpool to Manchester every day. The fares were extortionate (£15 a day). Instead, I’d get a 30-day return on Monday in Liverpool (£20,) then on the way home I’d get another 30-day return in Manchester (£20). As long as the return tickets never got stamped, I’d reuse them, so I always had a valid ticket to travel.
It helped that I was always on the first train, and the guard could not be bothered to check tickets. Also, on the way home I was on the rush hour train and they couldn’t get up the train to check. It saved me thousands! I was so proud of myself for figuring this out! This was before the barriers at most train stations now though, so probably a LOT harder to do.
44. The Flip Of A Coin
Back in 2013, Papa John’s had a promo for the Super Bowl where if you called the coin toss correctly, you would get a voucher for a free one-topping pizza. However, the only control in place was you could only enter the contest one time per email address. I knew exactly what I had to do.
I created more than 60 emails, half of them calling heads, half tails. I ate free for six weeks.
My roommate at the time bought a car with his Best Buy bucks. He sent in a ton of self-addressed stamped envelopes to get game pieces. Each game piece had at least $1 of BB money, but some had $3. There’s a law in Vermont that doesn’t require the sender to provide postage for the return envelope on a SASE.
So he had all his game pieces mailed to a PO box in Vermont, thus saving 37 cents per entry. Then he had all the game pieces shipped to his home in bulk. Much cheaper than spending 37 cents per entry. Once he got his game pieces, he peeled all of them, collected his Best Buy bucks, and went around buying MP3 players from stores.
Best Buy got wise to this pretty quickly and had a $200 spending limit per day, so he’d travel around the entire metro area hitting every single Best Buy and spending $200 at each one. Then he sold them on eBay as new in box for like $10-$20 off the retail price. I think he made around $10,000. It was a lot of work, but it beats a job I guess.
46. The Rent Collector
There is an ATM in Manhattan around the corner from my apartment. It has a horrible design where the money gets stuck, and to the user, it seems like it never comes out. Really though, the money is there but hidden from view. It helps that I live near many bars so users are likely pretty inebriated when they’re trying to withdraw.
Anyway, before I go to work each morning, I stop by the ATM and collect. This ATM pays my rent.
The IT manager at the place my wife works at had a budget for new assets (company phones and tablets and the like) and found out that there was a lump purchase threshold below which there was actually zero accounting as it was within his self-approval level.
So basically he could buy a couple thousand dollars worth of stuff at a time and if it didn’t exceed his annual budget or the one-time purchase audit trigger of the corporate card payment system, then no red flags were raised. However, he took it way too far. For several years he was taking trips and cruises around the world every few months.
Recently, corporate finally did an audit because somebody familiar with his pay grade got wind of his adventures, and found that he was buying the latest generation iPhones and iPads in the guise of upgrading employee assets and selling them on eBay to fund his frequent vacations.
48. Open Bar
A (very) old place of work decided to have a Christmas party and provide everyone with a few vouchers each for free drinks. They’d arranged with the venue that employees would hand over one tag for any drink of any size, and would settle up in the days after the event. Well, it all went so wrong.
The problem was that these vouchers were simply tags that you’d put into a filing cabinet sleeve (and write on) with a colored sticky dot on them. They distributed the tickets half an hour before we closed for the party. Guess what was stocked in the stationery cabinet? Filing tags and sticky dots. They had no idea how the bar bill was nearly £10,000…
49. Read The Fine Print
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 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 disappears, my friend is left with both the car and the title to the car, and the dealer has no legal rights to the car.
The dealership called her and asked when she would be returning the car, she said, “I’m not”. They said, “Oh, you’re buying the car?” She says “no I’m just gonna keep it, thanks”. The dealer sued her, then once they looked closer they realized they screwed 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 but the settlement ended up being her buying the car for like 20% of its value.
50. Time To Leave
I had an agreement with an employer on school reimbursement with additional pay. I had to agree to remain at the company until X date and they would pay for my schooling and other various things. If I left, I would have had to pay the money back. The parent company of my division changed after the agreement was signed and then the time came for me to get the cash owed to me.
The head of HR refused to pay. I went to him and asked why I wasn’t getting the check we agreed to. He stated that the agreement was with the previous parent company and therefore was no longer valid. He had this smug look on his face, but then he noticed I had a big smile on my face.
I could tell he couldn’t figure out why. I asked him again if they were refusing to pay and he said yes. I then stated that I no longer have anything binding me here because the contract stated “if I willingly leave the company, I have to repay the money”. He agreed and asked what my point was.
I then stated that if the parent company did change then I did leave said company, but I did not willingly leave. Therefore, I did not owe any money if I left this company as it was not the company I signed the agreement with. The expression on his face changed.
I continued on with, “If I, hypothetically, put my two weeks notice in now, I would be able to leave without owing any money”. It didn’t take him long. He realized by stating that the agreement was no longer valid because the company changed that he gave me the information I needed to get out of the contract.
He agreed to pay me the money. Spoiler alert, he was fired a few weeks later for various reasons. He was one of the worst HR directors I have ever seen.
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