There's no greater feeling than figuring out little ways to "game the system" for personal gain, especially when it feels like the system is trying to work against them. Sometimes these benefits come in the form of free or discounted goods. Other times these life hacks can lead to business opportunities or privileges that just generally make life easier for people.
Some people may feel morally above getting in on these scams. However, these Redditors feel no remorse in taking advantage of the system that often takes advantage of them. Content has been edited for clarity.
Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number
“My friend moved out west for a season to be a ski bum. He didn’t have a lot of money, so I told him that you can easily lie about your age when purchasing a season pass to get cheaper since they mail them to your house without any kind of age verification. I was just barely too old for the teen pass at the time and simply set my birthday back a few years to become eligible.
Well, my friend decided he was going to go all out and buy a CHILD pass with a max age of 12. He also, for some unknown reason, decided not to have the pass shipped and actually had to go down to the pass office to pick it up. Obviously, he was immediately questioned about his age and asked to show ID.
He told the employee, ‘I don’t have an ID, I’m 12.’ They gave him his pass and he was never questioned again.”
Never Underestimate Discount Food
“Back when my girlfriend and I were poor, I would go to the local supermarket (Sainsbury’s) at the end of the night when they were reducing food going out of date to a few pence.
Some of the items, at full price, were discounted for buying multiples (for example, £1 each or 2 for £1.50). The way the register worked, it would add £2 to the bill then deduct 50p at the end. Some of the stuff would be reduced to say 20p but if I bought 2 of them (40p) it would still deduct 50p at the end of the bill giving me a 10p profit.
I would buy loads of these and make the bill look reasonable by getting some ‘luxury’ items, which in those days was stuff like coffee. As long as the bill was over a few pounds, the tellers didn’t seem to notice.
Then I would go all around town giving the bulk of it to homeless folk and put the rest in the freezer.”
It Pays To Know A Programmer
“We were the first senior class to be given laptops in high school. It came with some monitoring application that allowed teachers to see when we were using our laptops, watch our screens, etc. We didn’t have the rights to disable it or kill the service, but it took a buddy of mine in our programming class about a week to write a little program that would do it anyway. Click a button and it kills the service. Click it again and the service restarts.
This was even better than not being monitored at all because it gave teachers a false sense of security. We could turn it on when attendance was being taken and then turn it off when test time came so we could Google all the answers. Also spent a lot of time chatting, playing alpha Minecraft, etc. when we were supposed to be taking notes in class. Basically just did whatever we wanted that year.”
He Calls It “Knocking Down Dominoes”
“My uncle is a carpenter. He buys gift cards to Lowe’s (home improvement store) from the grocery store, thousands of dollars’ worth at a time, and uses those to buy all his business supplies. Meanwhile, the credit from buying the gift cards gets added to his grocery store loyalty card.
This is redeemable as discounted gas. Well, he also has a 500-gallon gas tank in his yard. A few times a year, he loads the back of his pickup with 50-gallon drums and uses the accumulated discount to fill them all up at a dollar-something per gallon, and then has half-price (or less) gas until the next trip in.
‘They set up the dominoes, I just knock ’em down,’ he says.”
The Scam That Shut The Store down
“I worked at a supplement store in university that had a bizarre commission system. Basically, the store had a set of items that you would earn commission on, but the commission was always $1 per item, no matter how much the item actually cost. So you could sell a $90 tub of protein powder, a $30 bottle of multivitamins, or a $6 bottle of ephedrine, and you’d get the same commission: one dollar.
I also figured out that while there was an item in the computer for a 12-pack of ephedrine, it only gave you $1 in commission as well. However, we kept stock by number of individual bottles only.
So whenever I’d sell a 12-pack of ephedrine, I’d just ring in 12 individual bottles, adjust the price to match the 12-pack and make $12 instead of $1. I’d easily earn an extra $200 on each paycheck by manipulating their commission system to my advantage.
Their system was dumb and they closed down eventually. Also, all the staff was just straight-up stealing, aside from our shady commission practices. It was a lucrative operation for a little while though.”
That’s One Way To Write A Resume
“I had an awful internship after grad school. It took all my time, was utterly wasteful of my skills, but offered me the tiniest bit of power in the company. I wanted to move on to something better, but I also realized I needed to massively redesign my resume to stand out for the jobs I wanted.
I posted a fake advertisement for a position at the company requiring the skills and background I had and then went through all the resumes to find the formatting and language that looked the most impressive. With just a little bit of time adjusting things to fit right into my background, I was off applying to better jobs with a snazzy and professional CV all thanks to some guys who were just trying to get a job.
Best of all, I was able to walk out of the internship and immediately recommend a qualified person to fill my position. No bridges burned!”
Being In Charge Has Its Perks
“In college, at a private university, student activities fees were pooled and distributed by vote through student council. Upon learning this Sophomore year, I ran for office on a ‘let’s use the money for fun’ campaign. I became a student representative and then class president the following years, all while being a leader of the university’s gaming club.
I used my legislative powers to divert thousands of dollars to buying gaming systems, high payout tournaments, and a legit after-school gaming program for local schools.
My run was ended during my senior year in impeachment. “
Gaming The System For A Game System
“Our local grocery store was having a raffle for a Super Nintendo. Our parents refused to buy us one, so this was our only chance. Everyday my brother and I would go to the store and take all of the entry forms, fill them out, and return them the next day. We would take more entry forms and start the process over again. This went on for weeks. When the day of the drawing arrived, we ran to the store to find out who won. The manager told us that my brother had his drawn and was the winner. He also called us out on stuffing the entry box. Luckily he didn’t pull some adult garbage and make up rules to not let us win.
So you could say my brother and I gamed the system, for a game system.”
Good Thing He Saved His Receipt!
“About six years ago, I was buying a mattress from Sam’s Club. This awesome customer stopped me on the way out and told me to save my receipt, as the mattresses have a 10-year warranty against sagging.
Two years later, the mattress started sagging. I got a big bag from Sam’s, returned the mattress for a full refund, and paid $200 to upgrade to the next level.
Two years later, the new mattress started sagging, so I did the same thing and upgraded to a mid-level mattress.
I just returned that one a few weeks back, now have the top of the line mattress they carry. I figure next time I’ll upgrade from queen to king-sized.”
Working Smarter, Not Harder
“Freshman year of college, I was taking a ‘College Writing’ course. It was basically an intro to writing.
I went to a private school K-12 that had a really, really heavy emphasis on creative writing, so I was really well prepared for college writing in general, but I also had zero work ethic because I had succeeded easily before college. That was a lesson I learned fast…
Anyways, back to college writing.
I did 6 of the 45 assignments, got a B+ in the class and got exempt from the final. Why?
I put 110% effort into the first paper and last presentation of the class. I wrote a really well-researched paper about how penguins are really awful animals and would make a really terrible school mascot. The last presentation was about different writing techniques, and I made my presentation about the importance of intro and conclusion paragraphs and topic and hook sentences. I equated them all to parentheses, saying that the intro and conclusion were like parentheses that tell the reader everything coming is related to itself and that topic and hook sentences were just ways of telling the reader that the following content relates to the overall topic in this way and the hook says, ‘and this paragraph relates to the topic of the paper like this and it relates to the next paragraph like this.’
It was really, really minimal thinking effort, high effort research, and medium level writing effort. So worth it.”
“It Was The Best Experience I Ever Had In High School”
“In my school, we got some of the first computers and man did they try to shut those things down so we couldn’t use them for anything but education.
However, that’s how I found the gems of portable flash drive Minecraft and Halo. We made four versions of Halo CE and two of Minecraft. Even when they banned one, we still had the others to fall back on.
The kids in our school distributed flash drives with the games on them and everyone downloaded them to their disks.
We had LAN games during breaks and classes and built some pretty awesome servers and custom Halo modes. We’d be playing it during class and as soon as the teacher came around everyone minimized the tab and we consecutively agreed to stop playing until the teacher had sat back down so no one would die during the ‘inspection.’
I even found a way to watch the educational version of YouTube, which included Good Mythical Morning, a funny channel I never knew I needed.
It was the best experience I ever had in high school.”
Thinking Outside The Box
“In a course back in 1976, we had to manage a virtual trucking company, each week providing inputs and getting the results back. One point was to be given to the team with the highest revenue, lowest operating ratio (revenue to expenses), and highest equity to debt ratio at the end.
The team I was on decided we would shoot for the debt to equity ratio point since if we paid off all our debt, the ratio would be infinite and we would win, even if another team did the same.
Each week we were given averages for all the teams so we could see how we were doing. So once it became evident through the reported average debt to equity ratios that no other team was pursuing the same strategy, we concentrated on the other points and ended up winning all three.
I knew the professor outside of class and when he informally questioned me about our strategy halfway through the simulation, I kept mum on the overall strategy. Once it was over, I spilled the beans. He thought we were pretty smart and gave each member an extra half grade overall along with the point.”
Never Pass Up A Good Trade-In Deal
“GameStop was doing a deal where they would give an extra 70% on certain trade-in games and one of them was some Plants Vs. Zombies game. They were offering $27 a pop for them. Come to find out, that specific game was on clearance at Walmart and Target for $5 each. I went to every store that had stock within a 20-mile radius, then opened the games and traded them in.
The first few GameStops I went to only allowed me to trade in five copies at a time. Then only one. By that time, though, I’d acquired about $250 in credit so I checked trade values on other games and purchased used copies (getting 10% off with pro membership) and re-traded them in at the next GameStop I went to. Breath of the wild, pretty much any Pokemon game, and Mario Kart 8 were moneymakers. There were usually in the $15-20 range.
I stopped once I’d made enough to pay for my Xbox One X Scorpio Edition. I probably could have made even more, but I didn’t want to push my luck any further. I ended up paying about $70 total for the initial investment, and about four hours on my day off going back and forth.”
Speeding Through The System
“I got a speeding ticket.
In that state, you can take a driving test online (which takes like ten minutes) to get it off your record. I did this. I ended up getting another ticket a year later. I called and they asked, ‘Have you taken the driving test in the past three years?’
I said, ‘Yes,’ and was informed that I couldn’t take it again.
So I called back later and she asked her same question. This time, I said ‘no’ and she gave me a password. It worked. I did this two more times.”
Always Keep A Spare
“Whenever I would get my new driver’s license in the mail, I would call in several weeks later saying that I never received it. They send me a new one free of charge.
Now I have one card at home and one with me. I never have to worry about losing it and having to wait for infinity and a day at the DMV for another one. I’m not sure if this even works anymore.”
Fangirls Will Buy Anything
“Back in the late 90s-early 2000s, we had this punk rock music store in our town.
Well, record companies would send them all kinds of free sample stuff and they had a big tub at the entrance of the store where they put all the bumper stickers and album singles they got and the customers could just grab any of the stuff they want. They started getting all of these Nsync and Backstreet Boys bumper stickers and patches and posters. Well…this store was not exactly the market for pop music.
My boyfriend and I grabbed all of the pop music stuff and sold them on eBay.
Those teeny boppers wanted anything they could get their hands on. I was able to buy my first car!”
You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid
“When I was 11, my family had a layover in the Houston airport for about six hours. Back then, the airport had a luggage cart return system, where when you return a cart you would receive 25 cents. As an 11-year-old, I thought this was great, so I ran around collecting carts.
After a while, I noticed these college guys showing up with 40 carts at a time and collecting their payday. I knew I couldn’t compete with that, so I began thinking of a different approach. I realized if someone wanted to purchase a cart, it would cost them $3. So instead of a returning the cart right away for 25 cents, I would wait until someone was about to buy a cart and I offer them $2 for it. They bought it. Every time.
I walked away with close to $35 for 2.5 hours worth of work. I probably bought some magic cards with the money.”
Free Lunch Friday
“I used to work at a private school. Every other Friday was a half day for students while teachers did training stuff. The kids were dismissed at 11:30 so that meant lunch was at 11, which was earlier than a normal day.
For lunch, they gave bagged lunches for kids to eat in their homerooms while they packed everything up. I had three kids in my homeroom, but I told the cafeteria staff four lunches to see if I could get one too. It worked.
So every half day, I got a free lunch and nobody in the cafeteria ever questioned me. Some teachers gave me confused looks. I flat out told them what I did, but they just shrugged it off.”
“He’s Lucky He Was Never Arrested”
“When the original Xbox launched in 2001, my friend bought one (as did I), and his died very quickly. Having no warranty, he bought a new one.
I dared him to try to return his broken Xbox to Walmart in the packaging of the new one, and try to get a refund for it. He did it and had no trouble.
He very quickly turned it into a full-time scam. He went on newsgroups (for those of you who don’t remember, newsgroups were the best place to buy and sell things back in the day) and posted ads that he wanted to buy broken Xboxes and PS2s. He managed to buy them for about $50 each, and bought new models in Walmart, and then returned the broken ones. Then he would sell the new ones online for a bit less than MSRP. Sometimes he got the original packaging with the broken one, but sometimes he would have to sell the new ones with no packaging.
He would use different Walmarts as often as possible, but things eventually got difficult for him. Stores would recognize him and give him trouble. After that, he would do a quick trip to another town to scam their Walmarts. He would try to do 10 or 15 in one trip.
Things eventually got harder for him when Xbox and PS2 packaging eventually started putting a small cut-out window on the box, and they stopped printing the UPC code on the box. This forced cashiers to scan the UPC code on the device itself. When the device didn’t match the receipt, they would refuse the refund.
After that, he managed to scam Walmart a few more times. He would flip the Xbox around backward, making it appear like there was no UPC code on it, and if the Walmart employee was dumb enough, they would refund it anyways. It took a few attempts to get an employee that would let it slip, but it was no longer as predictably profitable. He stopped doing it altogether.
He thinks he scammed Walmart for more than 300 Xboxes and PS2s over the course of 2 years. By the end, he was using Walmarts in four different cities, and he was driving 2 or 3 hours to some of them. He was also buying broken consoles in all these cities too to maximize his profit.
He’s lucky he was never arrested, it would have been pretty easy to catch him. He wasn’t careful at all.”