- Personal Finance
The Slackers: The Moochers Bible
Starving in the Land of Plenty
American is the land of plenty. We throw away food every day here.
Nevertheless, we are told there are people riding right next to us on the subway who are starving to death.
Okay so I don’t believe that anyone riding next to me on the subway is starving to death. The reason I don’t believe that is that every time I go to some place like McDonald’s I inevitably see some stray morsel of food left on someone’s abandoned tray. I don’t know about you but my dictionary definition of starvation is I will eat anything that is vaguely edible irrespective of where it is found. I know that is the correct definition because whenever they show documentaries of third world people who really are starving you can always find some of them at the local garbage dump looking for stuff to sell and scarfing up anything that looks edible that they can find.
So, while I do not believe my fellow man is starving in the United States I do believe there are folks who have expended 100% of their resources when only 66% of the month is over and they are desperately hoping that no one notices because they are embarrassed about that. While I might consider feeling callous disregard over some lazy or foolish man who did that, I cannot entertain such disregard over a mother and her children. Surely the children should not deserve to suffer from her bad choices.
Fortunately what I said earlier is still in effect. There is more free food in the country than you can shake a stick at. If you include cheap food in that total we could probably feed a great deal of the planet with what we are either not eating or are flat out wasting.
I don’t know about your web surfing habits but I keep bumping into people who are begging me to take food samples. As someone with a job and a home I get tired of corporate American’s attempts to force free food on me… And there it is. Some free food that every poor family that is living hand to mouth should know about. I have put the websites of several online free sample clubs in the Resource module. The biggest problem you may have with such groups is the amount of spam and junk mail you open yourself up to. By the way, if for whatever reason you think that someone who needs free food cannot reasonably be expected to sign up for it then you sign up for the free samples and donate it to the needy when you get it. You could even create a club or food organization action network that does that if it written on your heart that you need to fed starving children.
Full disclosure, I have availed myself of some free food samples so the ones I have tried are real. Since I was not trying to subsist on free sample food I cannot attest to how healthy it is. It does seem that coffee and tea are very easy to come buy but you cannot live on those. Also anything with sugar in it seemed pretty easy to get—I ate several free candy bars. Although I myself never tried it, it looks like free starchy food like cold cereal would be easy to get. I have seen coupons for cheap vegetables but I rarely seen anyone giving away veggies. I conclude from this that while you could live off free samples, it may not be good for your health to do so long term. Those of you who believe that you cannot live off sugar and starches for extended periods may want to avert your eyes now as I am about to discuss what to you will seem an abomination. The abomination is called: college students. Even though I was one at one time and I ate my share of crazy stuff I am still deeply puzzled when I hear some college student saying he lives off ramen noodles and hot water. I don’t think he’s lying, I am just amazed. When I researched the subject online I preferred the examples from people that said they would cut up a carrot in the noodles now and then or have an occasional egg. However, the fact remains, if we really were talking about starving people who also manage to have cellphones, clothes and shoes….it is clear they could live off food samples alone if they had too. This does bring up the notion that at least some of the poor who are on food stamps or other kinds of assistance must be doing something with their assistance other than buying food. Again, avert your eyes, progressives, when I lived amongst the hand to mouth set who were barely above the homeless, they sometimes exchanged their food stamps and even their blood and plasma for cash. And then they bought their drug of choice with the money. Usually booze.
For about a month, around the time of your birthday, you could eat every meal for free if you like. Google each of your favorite and for that matter non-favorite restaurants and fast food places online. You may have to sign up to get spammed as the price you pay for some free birthday food. Look in the Resource page for some websites that list everyone who is eager to feed you on your natal day. I have eaten some of this free food on or near my birthday and the only ill effects I detected were the numerous 15% off coupons and offers I received during my non birthday periods. That and whenever Subway has that really cheap sandwich promotion they always feel the need to tell me about. Who can resist a cheap sandwich? Since we are talking about free or cheap food, with exception of cheap sandwiches, I recommend that you hold out for bogos. Buy one, get one free. Now that’s a deal. Avoid the buy one get half of something you don’t really want free. Go for the genuine bogo.
Join the military
Veterans can sometimes get free meals around Veterans Day and other patriotic holidays. Looks for the details online. Your military ID may be your ticket to a free meal.
Crazy Holidays and Observances
There are national and even international days or months, or weeks for donuts, pancakes, coffee, hotdogs and just about any other food or occasion you can imagine. During those special times you can if you search online find some establishment that is for a limited time, giving it away for free. Links in the Resources.
When is the Year of the Pancake by the way? I think I’m ready for that. Probably time for the decade of the diet right after it though.
Okay so don’t try this at home. It wouldn’t be right.
If what follows does not point to truth north on your moral compass, skip it.
I was invited to a PhD thesis defense once. I sat through a lecture and got free food. They did not ask for ID….I don’t think it would be unethical to cultivate friendships with budding doctorate candidates and offer to route for them during their oral exams—in exchange for food, of course. I don’t think they actually allow cheering but I am sure your moral support will be appreciated.
When my wife and I were traveling, we only stayed at places that offered free breakfast. They did not ask for ID…
If you have ever been to a reception of any sort they often serve free food.
Some community events serve free food to folks who volunteer to pick up trash and such.
Some grocery stores give out so much food in free samples you could have a meal there.
My wife and I have dutifully pretended to listen to dozens of presentations. We did not pretend to eat the free food. We actually ate it. No pretense. Look online and volunteer to get spammed by timeshare folks, retirement annuity folks and just about any large company or corporation that survives by separating middle class folks from their money. Whenever they offer a presentation, check to see if there is free food involved. Go if there is. Don’t go if there isn’t. Any bank or brokerage firm selling stocks, bonds, 401Ks, retirement accounts and the like is a prime target for the corporate grazer
Always volunteer to help any person, place or thing where there is free food involved. Show up early and leave early if food is served early. If food is served late then show up late and leave after you eat.
Grow Your Own
Some communities offer garden plots. If they provide plots, tools and seeds, it is your civic duty to grow and eat your own food.
You ate parts of insects for breakfast this morning. So did I. Look it up if you really feel you need to but if you are either intelligent or honest you already know it must be true. By the time you are old enough to read and understand these words you are old enough to know that our world is more crowded with more insects, viruses and bacteria than people. No rational person thinks we can ever get them out of everything. In fact, since we evolved in this environment, it might be worth our lives to try live in a truly sterile environment. If centuries from now, Martian colonists from earth are dying for mysterious, unknown reasons, it would not surprise me in the least if it turns out that that human beings have to have trace amounts of bug parts in their diet just to survive.
Moreover, there are cultures eat bugs. You can buy then roasted on the streets in some countries. Did you know that the United Nations wants you to eat bugs? They do. If you think of the resources required to grow, slaughter and eat a cow and those required to grow, kill and eat insects, it’s a no brainer. Anyone who believes that Climate Change is real and anthropogenic should either be a vegetarian or they should already be getting their protein from insects. So yes, the poor can eat insects. Get your Googler on and you will see that some of the rich already do—for the good of the earth, of course.
Many hubbers, far more knowledgeable about wood lore than I, have already stated that eating things like dandelion salad is a good thing. Before living off weeds I believe that folks should study the subject extensively by going down to the public library and looking at foraging books that have lots of pictures. Even then, it’s best to go out a few times with a guide to help you see what real edible plants look like in the wild. After all, the first mistake you make about edible mushrooms might be your last. Eat weeds at your own risk.
Freecycle and Recycling
There are any number of folks, some of whom are not even poor, who believe in having the smallest footprint possible on the planet. People who belong to such groups could surely tell you if there are any gleaning opportunities in your area. Freecycle links are in the resource module.
I am not much of a couponer myself, but I have little doubt some hubber is and I will defer to them on the finer points of couponing. If you are trying to live mostly on free food, the place I would suggest that one place you should spend a little money anyway is on veggies and protein. The couponers should be able to tell you where to get coupons that will enable you to buy veggies and protein cheaply. I have a few links on the subject in the resource module.