How To Get Free Stuff From The Vending Machine (Legally, Too!)

Years ago, I worked in a call center.  There were rows and rows of workers answering calls.

I got to be work friends with a few people, and one of them impressed me with a method where he was able to get ‘free’ stuff from the vending machine for over a week.  And it didn’t involve scamming anybody in the process!

The idea was simple: He basically went up and down rows (a couple at a time so as not to draw suspicion) and asked ‘Hey can I borrow a quarter?’

After spreading out his visits over the period of a couple of days, he’d collected over six dollars in change!  For the rest of the week, if he wanted a snack or something to drink from the machine, he would tap into his ‘fund’.

Obviously, this was not something he could repeat on a regular basis, because people will tire quickly of giving someone a quarter over and over.

But, his ingenuity impressed me, because he realized that a quarter, to most people, is no big deal.  We’ve probably all borrowed some change or had someone borrow change, and 99 times out of 100, it gets forgotten about and not re-paid, which is fine for everybody involved.  If you start borrowing a dollar or more, that’s when repayment is expected.

He was able to take the fact that a quarter was no big deal, multiply that on a grander scale, and end up with a few bucks in his pocket.


I’ve lost touch with him since, but this memory always sticks out as one that brought a smile to my face.

10 thoughts on “How To Get Free Stuff From The Vending Machine (Legally, Too!)”

  1. That's funny!

    I would never do something like that, as I'd feel guilty about taking advantage of others.

    However, I can appreciate how it's funny that the guy did this. Very clever on his part, taking little insignificant amounts and aggregating them into something worth much more.

  2. This isn't really how to get free stuff from a vending machine. This is just how to get people to give you money. It's basically panhandling, no?

  3. If I "borrow" as little as a quarter, I have to pay it back. I would get tired of his "borrowing a quarter" every day.

  4. I would feel bad asking people for money when I didn't really need it. Even a quarter. If I did need some change and a co-worker was nice enough to help me out I would certainly remember that.

  5. Yeah, I tend to agree with the other commenters. Now, if he said, "Can you spare a quarter?" then I might not expect to get paid back. But with "borrow" the intention is pretty clear.

  6. I probably wouldn't have had a quarter to give him, so he'd have been out of luck 🙂

    I specifically don't keep cash on hand because all I do otherwise is…spending it in vending machines.

  7. I agree with the other commenters as well, and would pay back a borrowed quarter.

    He definitely couldn't keep that up, or he'd be known around the office as the quarter guy!

  8. I did that at lunch at just asked different people for a quarter, made 10 dollars in change by Friday.

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