Three Ways to Eat for Free

{ Dear Cookbook, I just read your article about how important it is to eat before a job interview, and I totally agree. However, what do you do if you don’t have any food to eat? Hungry Helen }

Hungry Helen, I appreciate you taking the time to read my previous articles and for actually bringing up a valid point. So much so, that I’m not even going to mock you for your obviously fake name. Instead, I am going to jump right into answering your question.

Since we’ve already established how important it is to eat before a job interview, let’s talk about how you can make that happen. After all, you’re broke, right? And odds are you’ve finally crossed that line between unemployed and desperate? This means you are probably ready to start thinking outside of the box. Now before you freak out, I’m not going to tell you that dumpster diving is the ‘new’ McDonald’s, or give you a list of edible ‘plants’ in your neighborhood. I’m not a hippie and I don’t find either of those two options very palatable. Instead, I’m going suggest three different methods for getting fed before an interview, that will cost you absolutely nothing – not even your pride.

Method No.1 – Can you say Costco? There are a few ways to do this that lead to more than one sample. You can either tell the sampler person that you’re grabbing an ‘extra one’ for your friend and then point to a person who is an aisle or two away, as you scamper off. Another option is to wait until a big group descends on to the sample table, then you can try to grab one completely unnoticed. That way, you can come back later and snag another sample as if it is your first. Either way works, you’ll develop the method that works best for you.

Couldn’t afford to keep your Costco membership? No worries, there is a way around that too. About 5 feet from the front door and in view of the card checker, compliment someone else on their way in. I prefer something like, “By the way, that jacket you are wearing today is absolutely fabulous!” Now the card checker believes you are together, so hang back about a foot from the person you just complimented, when they show their card to the attendant you can smile, point and mouth, “I’m with them.”

Method No.2 – Read the announcement section of the newspaper. Are there any community events that you can crash? Birthdays, weddings, showers and celebrations in general are great ways to get free food.  The easiest way to get in is to pretend you came with another guest.  You could try using the Costco method at an event or you could do some snooping outside the venue instead.  If you listen long enough, you might be able to hear two guests complaining about another guest.  All you need is their name.  Odds are the person they were talking about is not that popular, which means you will likely be ignored by association. A good way to make sure you are not discovered is to find that person inside the event itself, then stick by their side throughout your search for free food.  And once you’ve been fed, you can leave.  Bonus tip: In fact, if there is a clear shot to the door, you could just load up a plate and make a break for it!

Method No.3 – Call your family and friends and start talking about this great new job interview you are going to.  Mention how close this ‘interview’ is to their home or office and see if they want to meet you for ‘coffee’ beforehand. Important! Be sure to allow the other person to get there first. Wait until they order for themselves, and then rush in. Next, apologize for being late and make up a story about locking yourself out of your house and/or car. Now hold your stomach as you explain to them you didn’t even eat breakfast this morning, as you were meaning to pick something up on the way. To make it even worse, you’ve apparently ‘forgotten’ your wallet! I recommend that you try to squeeze out a few tears for dramatic effect, then explain how excited you were about this great job opportunity you’re interviewing for today. Oh, and don’t forget to sigh for dramatic effect during this entire song and dance. Odds are, your friend/family member will immediately offer to buy something for you to eat. And if you’ve got any tears left, squeeze out a few more and let them know how much their generosity has genuinely touched you.  Nine times out of ten, this little act will also score you an easy $20-spot!

3 Ways to Eat for Free

Are you thinking about using some of this advice to get fed before an interview? Before you do, let’s take a gander at Jobless Johnny and Hireable Hank’s results:

Jobless Johnny was on his way to a local town hall meeting (for the free cookies and coffee) when he ran into his friend Freebie Frank. When Johnny told Frank what he was up to, Frank invited him to go dumpster diving instead. Johnny couldn’t remember what the Cookbook had said about dumpster diving, so he decided to give it a try to see how it would work out. After all, the point was to eat for ‘free’ right? Besides, getting things out of the dumpster before it gets picked up must be eco-friendly, right? At least that’s what Freebie Frank thinks. He’s a self-proclaimed ‘freecycler’ with a rather large trust a fund to live on. He brings all of his treasures back to his 10,000 square foot mansion. With Freebie Frank’s help, Johnny was able to find a very crispy piece of bacon, half of an old Halloween candy bar, and the bottom part of what he hopes was a blueberry muffin. He almost had part of an orange, but it was stolen by a rat the size of a large cat. After his feast, he continued on to his job interview smelling like a dumpster.

Hireable Hank is also hungry, but he’s not quite ready to the ‘crash strangers weddings and parties’ stage just yet. Instead, he’s going to keep an eye out for events that he actually wants to go to. If they have free food, so much the better. And not having to dumpster dive with a ‘trust fund baby’ is an added bonus!



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