Wednesday, May 2, 2012

how to get free stuff, just because you were born.

my birthday was only three days ago, so i think it's fair to keep talking about it. and if you think it's annoying, well let me tell you - today this birthday chatter is really about you. i'd like to tell you about the best deals you'll find around town as you celebrate your own special day.

if there's one thing i've learned in the past week, it's that not every free gift that arrives in your inbox is worth your time. let's start with what i've found to be the least worthwhile "free gift" (i'm looking at you panera). since i'm a myPanera card holder, they emailed to say, "happy birthday, there's a surprise waiting for you on you card." so i walked my way in there yesterday in need of coffee and a breakfast i didn't have to make myself. they offered me a free bagel. when the total for my "free" bagel, cream cheese and small coffee came to over $3, i naturally assumed she had forgotten i was celebrating MY BIRTHDAY. but wisely i said nothing and waited until i had a receipt i could use as evidence. this is when i discovered that bagels are really quite cheap and cream cheese is not so. lesson learned- a free bagel is a free bagel but a free bagel with cream cheese sure doesn't feel free.

the rest of the birthday deals i've enjoyed have been much better, though they don't make nearly as good of a story. so let me just say, i suggest you spend your birthday lunching at rose's. it's the ultimate location for ladies who lunch, the pesto chicken salad never disappoints and they offer you a free dessert. get the bread pudding, even if you don't like bread pudding... you will be happy you did.

i also suggest that you register your starbucks card. why? because you get free modifiers, like soy milk or caramel sauce, all year long. but as it relates to this post, register and you get a free drink to use during the two or three weeks surrounding your birthday. which is the perfect opportunity to consume the largest, craziest drink that you'd never spend your own money on. (i'm looking at you venti java chip vanilla creme caramel frap with extra whip).

and then there's noodles & company. dude, they basically give you a free meal. i love that. thanks to noodles i enjoyed a delicious bowl of pesto cavatappi with parmesan crusted chicken while i watched the latest episode of new girl* today. it was a pretty awesome lunch.

so if you like free stuff and you like celebrating your birthday for at least a week, i suggest you follow the above advice. if instead you prefer to slink by with little recognition that you are now a year older, well then we probably shouldn't be friends. life is for celebrating, let's get to it.

*if you stopped watching because you thought it wasn't that great, it got better. a lot better. just watch yesterday's episode, it's full of gems. you will laugh, you will smile, you may even sigh with a slight air of regret.

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