Buy a drink, get a free Whopper - every single day?

by Troy Hadley on 28 March 2007 19 comments

 Did your mom always nag you to keep your receipts? Mine did. She'd see me charge something to a credit card and then casually toss away the receipt, and I'd get an immediate lecture about what it means to keep track of my expenses yada yada yada (Mom actually included the yada's). Frankly, budgeting has never been an issue for me, even when I was close to the poverty line, and receipts seemed to be a wallet-cluttering nuisance. But that all changed for me recently, and now I treasure receipts because they are kind of convenience that is rare - they are pre-cut coupons.

You've probably noticed that lots of stores and restaurants print coupons on the back of their receipts. You probably throw them out like I used to.

I'd still be throwing them out if my local Albertson's hadn't started printing a rent-one-get-one-free coupon for my favorite independent video rental store. At $4 a pop, I felt like I was doing my duty, keeping a local, independently-owned business in business, but honestly, with the number of films that I watch, it was really starting to hurt my bottom line. The coupon helped me reduce the cost of my film habit without reducing my intake. Yes, I'm paying a bit less to the store than I used to, but I still buy my caramel corn there. Lots and lots of caramel corn.

I understand that many coupons are not really a money-saving device, because you have to buy something to get something. And it's true that if you go out of your way to get $5 off of a meal at a Greek restaurant that you never eat at because you have a receipt-coupon in hand, then you're not saving money at all. But, if you use a coupon for a place that you frequent... frequently..., then coupons like this can be your best friend.

Paul's Ghetto Burger post reminded me that I've been living large on more-or-less complimentary BK Whoppers for a while. I didn't exactly classify my situation as 'ghetto', but rather 'frugally fabulous'. You can call it what you will.

 OK, is it really free? No, I suppose it isn't. But it's as close to free as I can hope to get.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

The back of every Burger King receipt should have a coupon for a free Whopper with the purchase of a drink at Burger King, should you take 5 minutes to answer survey questions on the phone (you have to fill out your survey code on the receipt to get your pseudo-free Whopper). My first thought was, "Well, it's the least I can do. I eat here pretty often."

So I rang up the toll-free number on my cell phone and spent the next 10 minutes politely trying to help the automated system understand that the Burger King that I eat lunch at is neither clean, nor friendly, nor prompt. The problem is that every time you answer with a less than perfect score (let's say you give them a 4 out of 5 on service), you'll be asked to tell them more, and rate EVERY ASPECT OF THEIR SERVICE. Is the bathroom clean? Are the employees human? Do the employees bathe frequently?

The crazy thing is, once I filled out my code and brought in my receipt-coupon, bought my obligatory Coke and got my free Whopper, I got another receipt for the Coke. With another coupon for another free Whopper on the back. All I had to do was master the phone system, and I appeared to be set for life with close-to-free Whoppers.

My advice, should your discount coupon rely on something like an online or phone survey code, make sure you do it on a landline or during your offpeak hours on your cell. If you are really smart, you can use your VoIP system to call the survey line using your computer, and assuming you have dynamic IP capabilities, it shouldn't be obvious that you are the same person calling everyday. Answer every question as though the company couldn't be better and you simply love them to death, unless you really want to give honest feedback (this takes some more time - and time is money, so it's really up to you).

I'm not sure that every Burger King is like this, or for how long this kind of discount will continue, but for now, I'm enjoying my nearly free burger binge. Because there is such thing as a mostly free lunch.

5
Average: 5 (3 votes)
Your rating: None
ShareThis

comments

19 discussions

Add New Comment

CAPTCHA
This test helps prevent automated spam submissions.
Guest's picture
Guest

Unless there is a audible or written request to not complete the survey more than once in a given time frame there isn't any reason why not to use your land line. But really can how many consectutive days can you a whopper? Also I would do it just for the look on the minimum waged employee at the counter. "Haven't I seen you with this coupon before?"

Andrea Karim's picture

So I'm not sure if this would work for me or not. Incidentally, I heard on NPR today that Burger King is going to start treating some of their animals better before they become food.

Has anyone noticed that "I heard on NPR that..." is sort of my version of "And this one time? At band camp?"?

Troy Hadley's picture

You're probably right about the coupon usage. I haven't heard anything that says that I can't do this every day. Yet.

But man, I could care less what the kid behind the counter thinks of my cheap ass. I'm nice as can be to all of the people who work there, because I've certainly flipped my share of burgers. My survey-free-burgering isn't affecting the employees bottom line because they don't work on commission. When it comes to minimum wage workers, your consideration and patience, as a customer, are honestly the only perks to the job. You can make or break someone's day, so don't sweat the coupon madness and give the poor kid a smile and tell them they did a great job.

Guest's picture
Guest

The BK in our area must be slightly different. It requires that you purchase a drink *and* fries to get the "free" whopper. If you add up the cost of the drink + fries (their highest profit margin items) and compare it to a combo meal.... well, a penny saved is a penny earned is almost accurate.

Regardless, the tradeoff is essentially $1 for whatever amount of time you spend on the phone to get the code.

But hey, I was glad to learn about this. I never paid any attention to the back of BK reciepts before and in fact ate lunch there specifically to get a reciept.

Jessica Okon's picture

Today in the weekly annoying coupons that are shoved in my mailbox were coupons from McDonalds & Wendy's-both for their breakfast items (in case you were unaware of the big battle o' the breakfasts), Taco Bell and a friendly reminder about BK's $1 breakfast.

I don't recall an onslaught of fast food coupons like this.

Troy Hadley's picture

OK, so I went and talked to the manager at my BK last night, and it turns out that the whole "buy a drink" thing is only a temporary promotion, and it will eventually be "buy fries and a drink", like the Guest above mentioned. So I wish I had researched this with more care before posting.

If Guest's math is correct, then it's only a dollar off of the price of what the meal would be. But I guess it's still a dollar discount, so I'll keep calling in, even after they start forcing me to buy fries.

Paul Michael's picture

I think it all depends on how you value your time. Is 10 minutes of my time worth $1? I would say no, but that's just me. For some people, $1 is a $1, so go for it!

Guest's picture
Guest

Just say that everything was super good 5/5,
no more questions ... take 2 minutes for a free whopper...

Paul Michael's picture

If you are going to eat a Whopper a day, eat fruit and veg like crazy. Whoppers aren;t known for their nutritional value, know what I mean?

Guest's picture
Moneymonk

It is nothing wrong with getting something free. But having a burger or soda everyday will do more harm than good.

Guest's picture
Gregg

I haven't tried this, as I don't do fast food joints and even if I did I'm not sure if they have the same promotion in Canada, but I've seen sites like this one quite a few times. Whether you use it or not I guess would be similar as to whether you would answer the surveys honestly or take the quick "everything is great" path through their questions.

Troy Hadley's picture

I meant "everyday" in a non-literal sense. As in "you could do it everyday if you wanted to." You people are so literal.

Guest's picture
Burgemeister

You only have to complete it once a month. And when you do that, make a note of the two letter characters that are the beginning of the code. For example the code I got for April 2007 is PL86859. Well every time I go, I simply use the same code. And if I go with a friend, he writes down a variant, but with those beginning letters. It's as simple as that, no need to do that laborious survey every time.

Another tip: If you are ordering to go, ask to substitute that overpriced drink ($1 for 12 oz of weakly carbonated water? - WTF?) with a small onion ring (they still take in $1 from you), and provide your own soda. I and up leaving with a small onion ring, medium fries and a Whopper for $2.34. If your friend is in on it, pick up a 2 liter RC Cola for $1.39.

Troy Hadley's picture

Thanks, Burgermeister!

My buddy John, who is what you might call lazy and greedy, if you were being brutally honest, tried using the same code, but our local BK noticed and called him out on it, so he makes sure to do the survery every day (it's sort of a ritual for us now, first thing in the morning).

I thought about posting what you mentioned, that is, code-faking, but I felt that ethically, it stepped slightly over the ethical line because it's dishonest. Mind you, so is filling out a survey with all perfect marks when the place isn't perfect, so I guess I don't want to make too many judgement calls.

Now, I had NO IDEA about the onions rings. This is why we freaking love Wise Bread readers. So Burgermeister, should you want to blog for us, please please contact our admins. We can always use a devious, frugal mind like yours.

Guest's picture
Burgerneister

If your BK is militant about this, simply make up a random number using the first number after the letters as a starting point. Make sure your number value goes up each time you do this.

A revelation about the "hacking" of the code and these BK code generators. The big l33t hacking consisted of looking at the printed code list (that lists the letter codes for each month) that BK has taped on the counter in front of the cash registers.

Also, about substituting, not every BK will do this. It depends on how hardass the manager is. Just ask nicely and explain how you still end up spending the same amount of money, and they more than likely will do it. And if they don't, then make sure you drink up on plenty of soda (forget sip stealing, it's gulp stealing) before your order is ready.

I also recommend asking for extra lettuce on the whopper, it adds more value (and heft) to the burger. I personally go with extra lettuce and onion.

On the times I substitute the drink with a salad, I'll ask for extra lettuce and pickles on the side (in addition to on the burger), and then add that to my salad. But considering lettuce is so inexpensive, it's cheaper to provide your own salad if possible.

Too bad the Pollo Loco B1G1 Free promotion is over, else I would show you how to walk out with 2 combos ( 5 pieces of chicken with 4 sides, 6 tortillas and 2 drinks), 16+ oz of salsa, a $1 appetizer and 4 trays of chips for $5.64.

Guest's picture
sourpickle

u are a real idiot dude. stop being a cheapo and just go buy a burger. its only a dollar and u waste 15 minutes doing some survey on the phone. freakin loser..

Guest's picture
RICH

sourpickle you are an idiot..this is a great deal and i use it Often..all you Health food loosers can buzz off. you can buy the Value Soda-pop, and Value Fries, for A Buck Each, and get a free whopper. so u only pay $2 (Plus Tax), and get A Drink, fries, and a whopper! u cant beat this! i Love whoppers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Guest's picture
RICH

COME on red meat rules! i eat Whoppers Quite Often..and you can buy the Value fries, Drinks, $1 Each, so u pay $2, get your Coke, fries, and free Whopper..and When u do it they give u A Receipt so u can do it again...you can make a racket out if it!

Guest's picture
Been there done that

I still spent over $4 dollars for my 'free' burger...not so free now is it?!?!