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.