"Back in the day, I found a major flaw in the point of sale system at Blockbuster.
Their system would update overnight, but only certain parts and these parts were on different days of the week. Their new item prices would update on Thursday, their used prices would update on Friday, but their trade-in values would update after closing on Sunday.
This meant if a game dropped in MSRP, it's new version would first lower on Thursday morning ($49.99 to $19.99) and be cheaper than the used version. The next day, on Friday morning, it's used version would be lowered ($47.99 to $17.99).
The trade-in value would still be the same usually, $30-$35, even though you could pull the game off the rack, buy it for $20, and then trade in back without leaving the line.
I did this a few times and felt bad, so I emailed corporate to let them know about the loophole. They told me they didn't take in information/suggestions from outside parties, essentially because they had that set up as part of their 'business strategy.'
I then proceeded to assist them in their endeavors by buying 25 copies of Beowulf from Best Buy for $9.99 ($19.99 - $10 coupons) and trading them in for $800 in-store credit.
Then I repurchased all 25 copies with the store credit for $500.
Then I traded them in again.
Then I bought them again.
I did this a few times over the weekend and ended up with $1,200 in store credit from $250 cash.
Then I found a few games GameStop gave good money for and traded them in over there for store credit. I made some preorders and eventually canceled them and requested cash back for the deposit.
I eventually got a letter from Blockbuster banning me from trading, but it had the wrong date (post dated for the next year), and I kept trading.
I don't feel bad about it."
"This past semester, I needed to take a Biology class with a lab to graduate. I was told that it was one of the easiest classes at my school to take, but as a lit type, I didn't agree much. There was so much information all at once, and I found it boring, so I didn't do so well on the tests or assignments. I got Cs and Ds, even on the final, which I stayed up all night to study for. There were about a hundred and twenty of us, and we each had to write three posts per semester on anything biology-related on the class blog.
I didn't do well in the lab section, either. I failed the multiple choice test and the practical, and I assumed the worst. However, the professor said that if we made comments on our peers' blog posts, and turned in worksheets to show what edits we made, when, and on what topic, we could get five extra points per edit.
Most kids did two or three. I did 97. Got an A for the semester."
"I spent five years on a US Navy submarine. Every two years, we would do a six-month deployment called Westpac. On my second deployment, I got boondoggled with a few guys - the boat goes out for deployment without us, and we got sent to attend various training schools in Pearl Harbor for the first half of the deployment, then catch a flight to meet the boat. So we watched the boat steam off and caught a flight to Pearl Harbor.
We show up with our orders to check in, but there was some miscommunication, and it turned out office personnel messed up. We aren't enrolled in any of our classes. We don't have barracks or meal chits. Nothing at all. They had no idea we were coming. They give us something called a 'non-availability chit,' which allowed us to stay at any reasonably-priced hotel on the government's dime. So naturally, we found a palatial estate a block away from Waikiki. We show up for muster the next day and the PO more or less just told us 'Yeah, I don't want to see you guys again, ever.' We couldn't get a hold of our boat because it was underwater doing secret things. Once the yeomen got their stuff on straight, they realized that our return plane tickets were already paid for, so they just said fine, we'll do it live.
We were getting a per diem and having our housing covered by the navy, never had to muster for work, and never had to check in anywhere. On top of that, we were still collecting our normal pay and allowances, sea pay for three months. I grew a beard, took some stuff and felt completely out of this world as often as possible. I learned to scuba dive, surfed, fooled around with a bunch of international tourists, went on pub crawls every weekend, hiked, and lots of snorkeling. Woke up on the beach a few times with no recollection of how I got there. Best vacation ever. Thanks, navy."
"Washington State high schools have a program called Running Start. It allows juniors and seniors to attend community college classes for both high school and college credit.
I was not enjoying my high school experience. I already knew the material as the Colorado schools I came from were ahead of the Washington state curriculum, and there were a lot of disruptive students that led to half of the teacher's time being dedicated to discipline.
I was losing interest, and my grades started to show it. Having just finished the WASL with great scores, I was called into the guidance office and offered a summer job as a tutor for my peers. I told him how much I hated the classroom environment, and he dusted off a few books, and I started the Running Start program.
The only class I attended at the high school was a homeroom, then I'd walk to the bus, grab a coffee, and spend the rest of my day at a community college that was right next to my house.
Some classes had only a semi-final and final, so I could freely skip them and sleep or play video games at home. Another class, the teacher had quit and it became an online course.
I did well, and by the next year, I didn't even have to show up to the high school. By the time I graduated, I had an associate's degree as well.
The loophole aspect is that the school hadn't used the program for years, and the guidance counselor had no idea what he was doing. I was supposed to be limited on the number of classes I could take in substitution for high school classes. I got away with a logic course being counted as statistics, a forensic anthropology class as lab science, and took a full college load when I should have only been allowed, two classes.
Also, my day should have started and ended at the high school."
"I used to travel for work. I lived in Greensboro, N.C., and worked in Boston. I'd book the same flights every week. Out early Monday morning and back on the 5:30 p.m. flight on Friday. The thing is, I knew ahead of time that my return flight would be overbooked. In fact, it was usually so overbooked that they needed as many as six or seven seats. And so they offered money/miles/flights as needed.
Every Friday, I'd wait for them to make the first announcement. Usually a voucher. Pfft. Then the second announcement, probably a slightly larger voucher. Double Pffft. But the third announcement, that's when they started offering the good stuff. I'd take that one, usually at least a round-trip anywhere in the continental US. Sometimes they offered a flight and a voucher, and once or twice they even offered a free trip anywhere in the world. Sweeeeet!
And then they'd book me a guaranteed seat on the next flight, which was never overbooked anyway. The best part was that got on the same connecting flight as I would have if I had been on the 5:30 p.m. flight out of Boston. I didn't do it that way to scam them. It was the only connection available for either flight.
I took that route 45-50 weeks a year for two whole years. I lost count of how many vouchers and free round-trip tickets I accumulated. I even got calls from the frequent flier miles representative, telling me that I was 'abusing the system' and that if I persisted I would have my miles taken away. I figured, what the heck? I earned maybe two free trips a year with miles. That was peanuts compared to what I got by simply taking advantage of their weekly kindness. They never did take away my miles. It all ended about a month before my Boston job was over. One Friday, the gate agent announced that anyone who wanted a free round-trip ticket in return for them giving up their seat should see her at the podium.
And then she followed it up with 'but not you, Mr. __.'"
"Back in college, we found a loophole with coupons at Kroger for General Mills cereal. If you bought four boxes of cereal each box was a dollar. But if you did the self-checkout, you would be printed out a coupon for $4 off your next purchase. We used the loophole to buy about 300 boxes of cereal. We only spent $12 on all of it. We would've spent less, but we had to go to another Kroger once the manager caught wind of us. We kept around 20 boxes for ourselves and donated the rest to the local food bank. They were excited when we showed up with three vehicles full of cereal. Totally worth the $12 and all the time it took."
Lisa F. Young/Shutterstock
"I used to play a lot of backgammon in Yahoo Games - and some people were real jerks when losing. Most commonly they'd stall the game by taking the maximum five minutes per move, hoping I'd resign. I learned a way to boot these people off Yahoo for as long as I wanted, by trying to log into their account. When I used the wrong password ten times, the account was locked for 24 hours. They couldn't log in again until I chose to allow it."
"My college didn't put any dates on our Student IDs. No graduation year, no expiration date, nothing. As a result, I kept using it to get student discounts for YEARS after I graduated, mostly the 15 percent off J. Crew discount."
"I discovered an exploit in the Windows Microsoft support site in which I could create my own support tickets as if I was an MS employee. Basically, I found this obscure page on the support.microsoft site that is comically hard to find. This page would display all of your open support tickets for personal viewing. So let's say you called Xbox Support about your game acting up. Each of those would display with briefcase details and action was taken. What I found out was, apparently, there was an old outdated feature that they planned to make public in which you could reply to the support request ticket, perhaps with more questions, etc. The functionality was there, but I doubt it was ever used. Anyways I tried it once, I typed a reply and there it went, the closed Support Ticket went from closed to open and when I called about the issue they said they could see the response with my name attached. This is where I got mischievous. I had the brilliant idea to change my name on my Microsoft account to First Name: Microsoft Escalation; Last Name: Department.
Now, every time I submitted a reply to a service request, to the agent who looked at the SR next when referenced, it would display a message from 'Microsoft Escalation Department.'
So then, I had free reign over everything since support representatives thought I (or rather the 'Escalation Department') had authority, so essentially they would respect the request in the ticket.
Naturally, being the greedy teenage boy that I was, I exploited this trick to get Xbox Live Gold Time and then sell the codes for profit. So here was the process:
Call Xbox Support and say some bull about how I had gold applied to my account but it's not showing up, say you have to go and that you want a support ticket so you can reference it when you call back later
Go on the support site, find the SR number and type reply as Microsoft Escalation Department stating something along the lines of 'Customer purchased, in total, 10 months of Xbox Live Gold Membership-10 months was the most profitable because I would get three three-month memberships and one one-month membership code. He reported that the gold was not applied to his account and we have verified that the purchases were made, due to a system bug at the time of the call with the customer we were unable to produce the token request for the customer.' Then I would add a section 'For Customer Service Agent,' please provide the customer with 10 months of Xbox Live Service via a token.' It was all written much better than that, and I had a professional pre-typed version ready to paste at the ready.
Call the agent and give them the SR number, informing them 'They said something about providing me with a token for the membership, I don't know, they said they added notes on the SR number.' I say that they were unable to do it because of a system crash or whatever and then the agent would dutifully perform the task, I mean, who wouldn't obey their superior?
The final step, take the codes, sell them on eBay for retail price (or close to it), make a new Xbox account and start all over. It was a good business until Microsoft made actual changes to their website because of me. In fact, as a temporary fix, Microsoft actually added an addendum to each new reply via the support page that said in big bold letters 'THIS SUPPORT REPLY WAS CREATED BY THE CUSTOMER IN THE BLAH BLAH BLAH PORTAL.' Hilariously, that wasn't nearly enough to stop me. All I did was add a short paragraph under that bold text with what looks like a customer request, then I just hit enter a few times to go to a few lines down and just typed a new 'chapter' so to speak in all caps 'THE FOLLOWING IS THE MICROSOFT ESCALATION DEPARTMENT'S REPLY.'
Then I just did the same thing. Support agents were a little confused now, but the end result was the same. Finally, they changed it to where the page was vastly different and even though you could still make replies the customer service reps couldn't see anything you posted.
So anyways, that's my story of how I exploited Microsoft's support system, became head of the escalation department and got a crap ton of money in Live Membership and served as an instrument in changing the infrastructure of Microsoft's Online Support."
"I worked at a sandwich shop when I was a young lass. We were allowed one free sandwich for the entirety of our employment there.
Being an endless pit of hunger 16-year-olds are, I was determined to get as many free sandwiches as possible.
If someone called in a phone order and never picked it up, the sandwich was fair game for employees after an hour. So I would text my friends to call in the sandwich I wanted and then never pick it up.
Every day I got free sandwiches. It was amazing. If I didn't eat it, I would bring it to school the next day and sell it."
"So I wanted to get cheap coffee filters online as I knew I was going to need them for the foreseeable future and wanted to get the best possible price. So I found a site that had them at half price ($1.95 for 100 filters; usually $3.99 at the store) what I was paying at the store and put them in my cart. When I went to check out it asked me if I wanted to set up an automatic delivery to have them shipped every two weeks, and they would reduce the price. I said sure why not, after all, they were the cheapest I had found and by getting them every week that would mean I didn't have to keep ordering them.
So it brought the price down by like to $1 for 100 filters. I was thrilled. Then it asked me if I wanted to join the Coffee savers program for more discounts! I said sure! So after joining the saver's program, it brought the price down to $0.00. I was stunned. I still had to add my credit card but I was never charged. So for two years, I got 100 filters delivered to my door for free. One day though I got a notice that said they were going out of business and my free filters would end. I was sad. But the stockpile I amassed lasted me about two years, and in the past two weeks, I had to buy new filters. Life will never be the same."
"There's these three Dunkin' Donuts in my area that let you buy 'Coffee Cards,' where you pay $200 for the card and can come through any part of the day, however much you want a day, and get any size coffee for a year. Well, my mom bought one last year, and it had expired; she bought another one this year and it looks EXACTLY THE SAME as the old one; They took no effort into changing the card at all, so my mom gave me her old one, and I get free coffee whenever I want. They're not scannable cards or gift cards. It's just a pink piece of paper in the shape of a card that has the Dunkin Donuts label on it and the locations where it's valid and a managers signature. It does have the date it 'expires' on there, but they have never once checked my card; they only ask me to 'flash' it at them; so I guess the day they ask to inspect it the jig is up."
"Last summer, I went up to Northern Michigan with a buddy of mine. He has a summer cabin in a small town called Oscoda. It's a nice place, with beautiful lake beaches and other fun outdoorsy stuff, but there's not an awful lot to do up there. We walked from his cabin to town and walked into a closing K-Mart. I walked over to the electronics aisle, hoping to find some bargains on video games.
Unfortunately, they only had one crappy game: Putty Squad for PS4, and they had an awful lot of copies. I checked the price. They were on clearance for $14 but were marked at an additional 90% off, bringing the price down to $1.40 each. I did the sensible thing that anyone else would've done and bought 20 copies, even though I had no interest in ever playing any of them nor did I own a PS4. After a weird look from the cashier, he removed the security labels from the games and sent me on my merry way with a bag full of sealed games I spent under $30 for. I brought them home with me and traded them into GameStop one by one every time I went, getting approximately $7 per copy in store credit. I traded in such a high volume of copies, I was banned from trading in games to GameStop! Fortunately, it's a system-issued temporary ban to prevent people from loading off stolen goods. I just traded in my last copy last weekend when they were doing a 50% bonus trade-in credit promotion, and received $10 in-store credit. I made $150 in store credit total off of $28."
"I had to use MyMathLab for a math class, where homework was worth 20 percent of the final grade. It also cost $200. I decided to not buy it and just take the 20-percent hit since it was my last year anyway and I didn't care about my GPA at that point anyway.
I got to about a week before the final and had not been doing great, and I did need to actually pass this class. So I wasn't sure if I was going to do well on the final. So I decided to buy MyMathLab. Still $200 though, but they had a thing where you could get it for three weeks free while waiting for your money to come in. I did that option.
I powered through 16 weeks of homework assignments in five days got about 80 percent finished and took the final. Got my grade back the next day for the final but not the class, and did really well. I figured if the homework grade goes through I'd get a B, if not, then I'd get a D and it wouldn't count for credit, and I'd have to retake the class the next semester.
The three weeks passed and I still hadn't gotten my grade back, but I ended up getting a B+ in the class anyways without having to pay a cent for MyMathLab."
"There used to be an electronics store called 'Hastings' where I grew up that sold both new and used electronics. They had a deal that if you traded in three used games of a common type (e.g. all ps2 games) you could get a brand new game for free no strings attached. So I would go into the store buy three incredibly cheap used games (Bass Pro Hunting or whatever it was called for $5; they had dozens) and then walk out, double back, and then trade those in for a $60 brand new game. I did this constantly for a few months while being harassed by the managers there until they stopped the promotion."
"The grocery store where I lived had a fuel card you could sign up for. If you bought certain items, you would get $0.01 or $0.02 off per gallon, sometimes more depending on the item or week.
One week, they ran a promotion that every one of their store generics would get $0.02 off per gallon, per item.
I walk by the powdered Kool-Aid packets and notice they sell a generic version of that, 10/$1. I do the math.
My vehicle has a 16.5-gallon tank. Gas costs $3.14 per gallon. Each packet of drink mix costs $0.10. Every packet of drink mix I buy will save me $0.33 at the pump. I will need 157 packets of drink mix to get free gas. This will save me $36.11.
I should do this.
So, I count out 157 little individual packets of drink mix, all kinds of flavors, and go to the checkout. I try to save the guy some time by telling him how many there are in each flavor, but the manager had walked by and stopped to see what was going on with the generic Kool-Aid. So, the poor guy has to scan every single one. The manager makes an awkward joke about the amount of drink mix I'm buying, but when I pull out my fuel card, my ploy becomes clear. The cashier reads off my new fuel discount and I'm on my way to the gas station, where I proudly fuel up my vehicle. (I still had to pay $0.16, they wouldn't let you reduce the price all the way to zero.)
Then, I took all the generic drink mix and donated it to the local food pantry, because I hate Kool-Aid."