Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Freedom Fries

Nothing tastes better than free food. Back when I lived in Gainesville, a large number of my friends were employed in the food service industries. This meant that there was always a pretty good chance of walking somewhere and getting a meal on the house.

At one point my roommate, who I probably shouldn't name, as he is now a husband, father and pillar of the community, worked at Burger King. We worked out an pointlessly complicated series of codes for when he worked the drive-thru. I'd be sitting on my bed playing Donkey Kong Country and the phone would ring.

"The rooster crows."*

That was my cue to start the car, drive up and take two or three overflowing bags of food. Even if I wasn't hungry, I took pride in being a good roommate and took the bags anyway. This was the time Burger King was introducing the Western Whopper (basically just a Whopper with Bar-B-Q sauce on it) and we ate those things constantly. He'd also hide garbage bags full of frozen hamburger patties and buns in the trash that I'd pick up later and save for our gin and tonic winter cookouts. Now that I think about it, those cookouts were fueled by burning a bunch of pallets that would always mysteriously show up by the dumpster. Between that and the Burger King patties, there's no telling how many carcinogenics are battling it out in our bodies right now.

But as sweet as that free food was, there were the more elaborate food scams. These involved calling up a restaurant and speaking to the manager with a claim of mild food poisoning. The key to this, as with all lies, is believing your own fiction. While my roommate was amazing at this, he will gladly admit he learned from a true master.

This master, who again, I probably shouldn't name, would get so involved in his lie that he would start believing it himself and get frustrated that these managers wouldn't help him. One night in Atlanta he spoke to two or three Hooters managers in an attempt to get 50 free wings. At one point he put his hand over the phone and said to us, "They want to offer me 25, but we got sick off 50 wings. How do we know which ones we got sick off of?"

The managers caved and we got 50 wings. A lot of times we could tell they didn't believe us, but we got free food, so who cared, right?

We would always tip big, because it wasn't the servers fault we got sick (see, I'm believing it again just thinking about it), and were super polite to everyone we encountered. I guess that sort of made up for the whole "Thou Shall Not Steal" thing.

Now that I'm a grown up and have more money than I know what to do with, thanks to the lucrative field of library science, I look back at our scams with some shame, but still a bit impressed that we were able to pull them off. With today's technology food scams are harder to pull off, but under the current economic picture, every once in a while I think of how I should really sharpen my skills at manager calling, just in case.

*It might have possibly been "The eagle has landed." Something to do with a bird.

1 comment:

Patrick Hughes said...

"The dodo is mysterious."