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