Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Free Stuff Isn't Free // Trying To Use Birthday Coupons

So, if you follow me on Twitter, this little life update may have shown up in your feed yesterday:

This was me trying to set myself up to live tweet about the 340845 places that I would get free food from because it was my birthday.  I Googled up a list of over one hundred places that would give me free stuff for officially being a year older and then chose five or six that are pretty close to my house, figuring that I'd be gone and back in about an hour with the car overflowing with free coffee, ice cream, subs, and stir-fry meals.

After convincing my little sister that, yes, she did want to ride around with my while I got free birthday food and ate it in front of her, I headed for my first destination:  Baskin Robbins.  BR promised me a free 2.5 ounce scoop of ice cream on my birthday and I had the coupon to prove it, so I was pretty confident as we waded through the parking lot as fast as we could to avoid the rain.  I walked in and smelled the smell of ice cream shop, which, for those of you who haven't had the pleasure of smelling it, is pretty delicious.  When I walked in, the ice cream lady was helping another customer, so I scouted out my options and laid my eyes on the most delicious, chocolatey ice cream I have ever seen.  And then the other customers left and it was time for me to get 2.5 ounces of it for free.  I was so excited, so full of hope, so completely sure that free ice cream was headed my way. . . (foreshadowing)

"Hi! Do you do the whole free ice cream on your birthday thing?"


Oh.  OH.  I don't thing I said any words; I just kind of walked out of there, secretly steaming at the ice cream lady.  How DARE her Basking Robbin's not participate in the free birthday ice cream promotion? Why was she so mean?  She was trying to ruin my birthday!

As disappointing as that was,  I'm not one to give up on free food that easily.  I had my dad's word that Biggby gives you free coffee on your birthday, even if you show up with no coupon and no legal ID.   We drove a little further away from home, country radio blasting and wind shield wipers in a frenzy.  We sloshed through another parking lot and I approached another cashier with slightly less confidence.

"Um, hi.  I heard that you get free ice cream here if it's your birthday?"

"You do if you're registered! Is it your birthday?"

"Yeah . . . I'm not registered.  That's disappointing.  It's okay."

The two Biggby cashiers proceeded to feel appropriately sorry for me as I hung my head and walked out the door.  It was so sad.  I thought I was going to cry, true story.   I guess once I get set on something, it's really hard to give it up.

Brooke and I sat down in the car to regroup.  I checked my email, desperately searching for birthday freebie offers, and WHAT DID I SEE but five free dollars from Menchie's!  Which is froyo.  Which I love.  Brooke transformed into my copilot and informed me that the nearest Menchie's was twenty minutes away, which was obviously a small distance to travel for five glorious dollars worth of free froyo.  So we drove, and it was still rainy.  And at one point we were stopped at a red light because that's the law and I was dancing to the song on the radio because I was so overjoyed about my free froyo.  And then I looked up and apparently the guy in the truck next to us thought that show was for him, because he was just staring away and laughing.  The nerve.  Of course, that light proceeded to be red for about the next five years, giving me a change to act really sophisticated and erase all memories of the dancing that had just been going on.

Anyway, when the light turned green we got to go to Menchie's.  I grabbed myself a cup and eyeballed five dollars worth of mint - iced coffee swirl, which I easily paid for with my five free birthday dollars.  Except my eyeballs were a little off, because I had only spent $2.50.  After demolishing my froyo, I decided that, it being my birthday and all, I'd shell out the other $2.50 for Brooke to get a cup of her own.  She was super happy and concocted herself a mix of lemon yogurt and gummi bears and lots of other fruity stuff and we went to pay.  By pay I mean, not pay.  But then there was a birthday surprise, which was that apparently you have to use all five of your birthday dollars in the same transaction.  I mean, obviously.  So I had to give the lady some actual money and then we left.

At that point, I was slightly discouraged.  We'd been out for quite a while with only some BOGO froyo to show for it, and that was unacceptable.  Naturally, I told Brooke that we were going home and that the only way we could get something else was if we saw one of the free birthday stuff stops on the way.

We saw it on the way. "It" being Firehouse Subs.  I didn't really want a sub, but by that point I was numb to the pain of rejection, so it was worth a shot.  WE DIDN'T EVEN GET REJECTED!  The really nice cashier glanced at my drivers license to make sure I wasn't making the whole birthday thing up, helped me choose a sub, and gave it to me for free without any trouble.  It was a really good sub, and I can not tell you how much that helped my mood.  Suddenly, I felt like we had had a super productive day and that it had all been worth it.  I probably should have told the manager of Firehouse Subs some of that.  My cashier might be able to get a promotion or something.

So, yeah.  Two + hours of driving for BOGO Menchie's and one Turkey Bacon Ranch Firehouse Sub. A word to the wise:  on your birthday, don't go to Basking Robbins expecting a free scoop OR try and step food in Biggby without registering first OR use your five Menchie's dollars in two transactions.  These people are ready and willing to play hardball with you, birthday or not.  You're better off signing up for the birthday coupons now and hitting up Firehouse Subs for a TBR on wheat.  Trust me.


But, seriously.  Where do you guys go for free birthday food?

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