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Want free food? Just lose a little self-respect!

March 23, 2010

CNN.com had an interesting “article” (I use that term very loosely today) today about ways to score free food. It starts with the ways that several chain restaurants have enticed customers with days of offering free food, whether it be scoring a pastry with the purchase of a drink (Starbucks) or just being lucky enough to get a free ice cream cone (Ben & Jerry’s–Yum!).

The article, however, takes a particularly amusing turn when the author decides to list ways to obtain free food on a daily basis. I will admit that I have done a couple of these tasks to get a free lunch or dinner (hello, Costco!), but a couple of the ideas had me saying, “Huh?” and shaking my head.

First of all, the author, Sarah LeTrent, encourages dumpster diving! What? Yep, you heard me right. Ms. LeTrent actually infers that if you want to save money, hit up the dumpsters behind grocery stores and bakeries, and therein might lie a treasure (albeit, a stinky treasure that is crawling with who knows how many types of bacteria and grossness) for your tastebuds. You know, I think I just really may value my health over trying to save $2-3 for a fresh loaf of bread (not to mention that dumpster diving is actually illegal in some areas).

Ms. LeTrent also states, “If you’re willing to risk the embarrassment of tone-deaf employees droning the traditional song, many restaurants will spot at least one free, candle-adorned dessert in celebration of your very merry unbirthday.” Alright then. Who’s heard of theft? The word theft might sound extreme in this instance, but let’s think about it for a minute. If you don’t patronize that particular establishment very often, you might be able to get away with having a dessert on your birthday and a dessert on your “unbirthday.” Well, on your unbirthday, you just stole maybe $3-4 worth of dessert from the restaurant. It may not seem like a huge deal in the grand scheme of things (especially, since some restaurants do make a ton of money each year), but ethically, it’s still wrong. I don’t know about you, but I think my guilty conscience would take over for quite some time after I tried to have an “unbirthday” dessert. Maybe Ms. LeTrent doesn’t have a conscience (nah, just kidding about that one–but you have to wonder since she did write this article).

I suppose this article just rubbed me the wrong way this morning. After all, we by no means are anywhere near rich. We are trying to save money so we can attempt to pay off our debts more quickly. But, we are going about it the more honest way–using coupons, shopping the sales, cutting out some of our wants and focusing on our needs, etc. I’m not sure that this blog post will make a huge difference to anyone, but I encourage you to be honest and trustworthy, especially on the day when you’re just trying to eke by. You WILL reap what you sow!

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