By Mickie McLeod
CBS 62/CW50 Intern
Like Max and Caroline from the CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls, at some point in your life you may go through the “broke stage.” I’d be lying if I said I haven’t gone through it myself. I’ve unfortunately been the person who bought a Dollar Store steak (which didn’t turn out to be that bad actually) and even used coffee filters as toilet paper when I was 18.
The TV show 2 Broke Girls reminds me that we’ve all had those “broke” moments. The worse part, however, is being broke and being hungry. If your wallet is as empty as your stomach, here is my guide to eating free for a day.
The phrase “free food” is music to my ears. I have the stomach of a sumo wrestler and I will never pass up a meal. Sadly, the “broke stage” often makes us sacrifice things we love, like coffee. While going through these tough times, I’ve made a lot of discoveries how I can still eat and even drink for free.
If you’re a coffee addict like me, consider waking up a half hour earlier to visit your local bank. Walk into your bank and act like you’re waiting for an appointment. Meanwhile, enjoy the complimentary coffee that is ALWAYS available there (and quite frankly, that no one drinks). Be the person who drinks the complimentary coffee. Pick a brochure on your way out and be cool about it.
Heaven is a place on Earth and its called Costco. First of all, you need to have a membership or find someone who does. Then prepare for the feeding frenzy. Make sure you wear sweat pants and tennis shoes. You’ll need the elastic waist band for extra room and the shoes to dodge your way around crowds to each station. You’ll soon realize while in Costco, claiming your free samples is a sport.
The best time to go is on the weekends, especially around 3:00PM. During this time it’s usually busier, but the food selection has top-notch choices such as sweet and sour chicken, pizza bagels, and Kirkland Brand fruit smoothies. If you’re there just for lunch, start at the food stations near the cash registers. That way, you can start with the samples that are usually the worst, such as an energy potion. Then, I suggest skipping the following stations of pretzels and the chips and dip. You can do much better than that.
Watch out for the sample stations ahead. Once you see a microwave on the stand, you know its game on. Check out each sample along the way, but find where the main crowd is. Beware of the senior citizens and children. They will not be shy and will take the last chicken nugget if they spot it. Make sure you are well prepared to grab and go. And don’t be afraid to get seconds.
On your way home from your hyper Costco experience, you may be interested in a sweet treat. Take the scenic route home and cruise around your neighborhood. Search and find a sign that says “Open House.” Park your car and enter the Open House with the intention of finding the Hors d’oeuvres. Hopefully, the realtor had provided some. I mostly expect cheese, salami, and crackers. I’ve also seen sugar cookies before. However, keep your expectations low because these cookies will most likely will be store-bought. Then, enjoy your afternoon snacks with a tour of your neighbor’s house.
Something I do for dinner is to plan around my parent’s dinner schedule. I then find an excuse why I need to come over around that particular time. My excuses vary from “I need to use your printer” or “I want to show you something I saw on YouTube” to the simple one “I just want to visit the cats.” If you decide this is your path for dinner, make sure you have a real reason why you’re planning to come over. That way, since you’re already there, your parents will automatically invite you for complimentary dinner. Don’t expect the dinner, though, that’s why you must come up with the strategic excuse and time.
If going to your parent’s house for dinner doesn’t excite you, make sure you attend your “cousin’s” graduation party for dinner instead. Don’t have a cousin? Act like a cousin. When Grad Party Season is here, sneak into the neighborhood’s local graduation party and enjoy the buffet. Act like a long lost cousin if someone does notice you. Usually, no one says anything if the party is large enough. After the feast, grab a slice of cake for dessert and don’t forget to sign the poster board.
2 Broke Girls has inspired me to keep improvising more money-saving schemes and I’m getting pretty good at it. Maybe I should join the show. We could rename it “2 Broke Girls with 1 Broke Intern.” I think Max, Caroline, and I would make a great trio.
Just remember that your broke days won’t last forever. I plan on having fun with it now so when I’m “One Rich Woman,” I’ll be appreciating my days of eating Costco samples just a little more.
Mickie McLeod is a Livonia, MI native. She’s currently majoring in Communication Studies at Wayne State University and is a CBS 62/CW50 Intern.