Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic there have been some huge economic shifts that have had a number of financial repercussions on a lot of industries and individual people. Once viable career options have become dead-end jobs or just completely obsolete. And while there have been new employment opportunities (UberEats and Amazon need plenty of people), a lot of folks just aren't making as much money as they used to, and need every advantage that they can get to survive.
And while this TikTok-er's food hack is definitely a way to make sure your food needs are more or less completely taken care of, it comes at the cost of defrauding local restaurants.
Noah Wille is a college student, who, like many other youngsters attending university, is broke. It's not easy trying to pay for classes while also working an entry level job that doesn't really pay all that much — and affording "optional" things like food really is difficult.
But it's also no secret that restaurants, especially local ones that don't have the benefit of large-scale chain presence and huge customer bases with a widely supported online ordering infrastructure, are hurting bad during the pandemic. As of the end of June 2020, some 16,000 restaurants have been permanently closed as a result of the novel coronavirus.
So while you could definitely use this hack to get free food, just keep that in mind.
So how does the hack work? Well, Noah worked pretty meticulously to map out all 800 restaurants in his area and then put them into a spreadsheet. He then whittled the list down to see which restaurants offered a free birthday treat or meal. Then, he assigned a different day of the year to each restaurant, ensuring that he had something free to eat every single day.
Whether it's a pretzel from Auntie Anne's or a free scoop of ice cream from Ben & Jerry's, Noah's completely covered.
"OK, life hack that's also kind of terrible. I really hope I am not the only person who is crazy enough to do this," he said in his now viral TikTok showing off his handiwork.
Noah said in an interview with In The Know that having his video go viral is a double-edged sword, because he doesn't want to compromise continually getting these perks.
"I’ve really wanted my social media to be a way to help people but I’ve never really been in a financial situation to help out that much," he said. "I asked people to Venmo Me what the spreadsheet is worth to them … even though it’s usually small it’s something that helps me help them."
He added that although the spreadsheet he created is specifically made for the Southern California area, he hopes that the format can be applied to other regions. While it's arguably a grimy way for people to game the system, folks also contest that it's really not that bad, as each restaurant is willing to offer one free item a year for whoever signs up for their mailing list.
Noah just decided to "space out" his birthday perks so he can share the love all year round. People had varying opinions on this practice.
What do you think? Is it messed up of Noah to secure himself free food in this fashion? Or do you think that this could be a great way for the less fortunate to get themselves a free little treat that they otherwise wouldn't be able to afford?
Personally, I wish my parents did something like this for me when I was a kid, there was nothing better than getting out of the house for a little treat, it was kinda like going to Disneyland.