Life
by John Hickey on May 13, 2013

1. Get into a movie for free

What’s littered on the ground in front of the movie theater when you arrive? Ticket stubs. Pick up one stub (even if there are two of you) for a movie that just got out. This should be easy because the first thing people do when they leave the theater is litter. Walk right up to the ticket tearer, hold up the stub and act embarrassed. Explain that your girlfriend left her phone in the theater you just left and you need to go find it. If you’re with a date, she can corroborate your story and tell the pimply faced teenager that she needs your help looking for the phone. If you’re asked to procure your own stub, tell him that you threw it away when you left the movie. Then proceed to catch Iron Man 3 then movie hop over to The Great Gatsby, free of charge. 

As a bonus, here’s how you get a free tub of popcorn. This is not recommended if you’re with a date, but instead if you decided to catch a flick “Bro-lo” (patent pending). Most major theater chains offer free refills on popcorn. So all you need is a bucket. Go to the nearest trash can (most are overflowing, because theater workers are incompetent ) and snatch a bucket resting on the top of the can. I know, a little gross, but you’re not putting your mouth on the bucket and nobody else has. If you think this is too far, feel free to pay full price and come up short on rent this month.

2. Floor seats at a concert or sports game

This works best if you’re with a dime piece for a date and takes a little bit of research. Start the event sitting in your crappy nosebleed seats. Note the areas on the floor that have a plethora of open ones. In between songs (or quarters) stroll with your date down to one of these sections and note the section number. As you approach the usher, don’t even bother acknowledging their existence. I’m not saying act visibly suspicious but the goal is to stroll in like you were sitting in these seats the whole time. If the usher asks you to stop, hit her (if it’s a male usher have your date do this) with a million watt smile and tell her “We’re section 113, row 9 thanks.” They’ll be so relieved you aren’t asking them where your seats are that they most likely won’t check your ticket to confirm. If they do ask to see it, tell them it’s in your jacket or your date’s purse down where you were sitting. If you’re a mid-twenties Bro and you have a nice piece of slam with you, they won’t question it. Most seat hoppers are teenagers and people who look like they belong in the rafters.

The key here is confidence and comfortability. Don’t do what I used to do as a teenager, which was to panic and stammer that you must have gotten confused and scamper away before anything “bad happened.” The worst thing that could happen is that they tell you to go back to your seat. If that’s the case just try another section on the floor. While I haven’t always been successful on the first try, I’ve never failed at sitting in floor seats at any concert or sports game I’ve been to.

3. Severely discounted groceries

Unlike the previous two, this one CANNOT be pulled off if you have someone with you. In order to save money, most major grocery chains have gone to about a half dozen self checkout machines. As you’re loading up your cart with the expensive stuff (the lunchmeats, cutlets, etc) pick up a few small bags of produce you buy by the pound. This can be apples, bananas, or tomatoes. Always try to establish the self checkout machine that is the farthest from the nearest cashier and closest to the door.

When you ring up your bag of chicken breasts ($10 full price), instead of waving it over the scanner, choose “Select Item” on the screen and pick tomatoes ($0.79 a pound). Then lay the bag down on the scanner to weigh it. Once the weight is calculated it will give you a price and ask you if you brought a container for it. Select “No Container” and put the chicken breasts into an open plastic bag. The machine will think you just bought three pounds of tomatoes and you just saved yourself about eight bucks. Do this for all of the expensive items but don’t get cocky. Every other item ring up a box of Kleenex or a loaf of bread at full price.

Now, if a store worker confronts you (they rarely do), they’ll say something like, “Sir, it looks like you rang up this pound of salami ($7.49 full price) as bananas ($0.55 a pound).” Since you also bought bananas point to them in the bag and say, “Oh, I thought I rang up the bananas already?”  That usually does the trick but if they press you and say “Sir, you forgot to ring up the salami then,” throw your hands in the air and say, “My mistake, I have no idea how this machine works. I’d be happy to pay for it.” If for some reason you have a bigwig come over and flip out on you for trying to “steal” (it’s never happened), it’s pretty simple what you do. You shake your head no, and walk right out the door without a single item in your hand. It’s not shoplifting and they can’t chase you.     

I know these sound like stupid risks to take for such small advantages but the angles are there. It just takes a Bro with a little insight, confidence and the balls to play the angles. All of the people I mentioned above, the movie theater workers, the ushers and the grocery store employees, hate their jobs. They’re miserable and not looking for reasons to make their day any worse. The last person they’re worried about is a charming, mid twenties Bro who in some cases has a pretty lady on his arm. If you don’t have that pretty lady on your arm yet, start saving yourself some money on groceries, sit in the seats you deserve and become a film connoisseur. You’ll have one soon enough. 

John Hickey is a Chicago based stand up comedian. Follow him on Twitter at @johnnyjhickey or check him out at johnhickeycomedy.com.

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