It’s always fun to find something you’re not supposed to, like a crack in a system that lets you get around it and use it for your own advantage.
When these loopholes benefit people, they rarely notify those responsible for fixing them and will usually exploit them as long as possible. These happenings also make for good stories, so when one Redditor asked people online to share them, the comment section was filled with replies. Scroll down to see the best of them! And if you get so hooked, this list is not enough, here’s a shortcut to another one!
More info: Reddit
One year our entire family went to the dog track for New Year’s Eve. They had a really good dinner deal plus dancing with a great DJ, and of course gambling. At midnight, there was going to be a balloon drop. Each balloon had a strip of paper listing a prize in it. Most were small, like one free $2 bet, a free dessert, things like that. The grand prize was an all-expense paid trip for two to Durango, Colorado to ride a scenic railroad. Earlier that evening, I was on the dance floor, and happened to look up at the balloons. One odd thing stuck out to me… you could see the silhouettes of the paper strips inside the balloons. Most were small, around two inches long, but one right above my head was at least as long as my entire hand. I reasoned that that balloon HAD to have the grand prize in it, as it would take a lot of space to write out “All expenses paid trip for two to Durango, Colorado for a ride on a historic railroad”. I made sure to mark that balloon, and right as it turned midnight, got directly underneath it and watched it like my life depended on it. I grabbed the balloon, and sure enough, I was correct. I won a $2000 trip, but then I turned around and sold the trip on Ebay and got enough money to then buy my wife’s engagement ring. It worked out *really* well for me!
Image credits: DrTenochtitlan
The campground we stayed at when I was a kid had an arcade in the lodge with an air hockey table. I figured out that if you put quarters in and pushed the plunger to start the game just until the air started – you could pull them back out and get a free game.
I had that air hockey table running for HOURS. We had kids lined up around the table. We even did a little tournament – it was so much fun.
When my family was about to leave I told one other kid the trick. Turns out I’m a pretty good judge of character. For 3 years we met back up and ran that Air Hockey table until one of the campground attendants caught on.
The 4th year the table was fixed and cost a dollar to play. The arcade was entirely dead. The thing is – kids would always play other games while they waited for air hockey. The campground decided it was better to have a dead arcade that made nothing rather than one that made a little and had free air hockey. That was when I learned the importance of a loss leader.
Image credits: InterestingNuggett
It’s most likely safe to say that, every once in a while, every one of us has a chance of encountering some overlook in the system that we usually get an opportunity to abuse for our own good. This is no less true when talking about the author of this post.
As Bored Panda found out by reaching out to the OP, u/Aarunascut, also known as Aaruna Njuguna, is a 34-year-old UK resident working as an e-commerce entrepreneur. As he told us himself, he’s a down-to-earth people person who is intrigued by diversity.
The author is a curious human being. He likes to ask questions and loves to get good replies, so she tries to time these posts to get the most responses possible. “It’s exciting reading some of the replies, and it’s kind of self-fulfilling when others say they like such threads.”
During my first year teaching, teachers were each allowed 1500 photocopies a month. I had 150 students. That wasn’t enough. One day, a coworker announced that she was leaving for a different opportunity. I asked her for her copier code. They never deleted her code, so I had 3000 copies per month for the last 5 months of the school year.
Image credits: driveonacid
Not real sure it’s a loophole but I’ll still post it. I run a recycling center and when Mountain Dew did the win a Xbox one with codes under the soda bottle caps we got a total of 20 Xbox ones. Every worker got one that year. Also Casey’s pizza had a thing going that you collect 10 tabs off the large pizza box you’d get a free pizza. We had free pizzas weekly for years till they stopped doing it.
Image credits: Otis_Firefly
Aaruna was eager to make his own addition to the list and share his own loophole story, telling us that in his home country, some random tech-savvy people would post instructions with codes on the X platform. “I’d get 100GB+ internet bundles for free,” shared the poster.
The OP also told us that his favorite story from the comment section was about a student renting a store as a front for getting a deduction, which made it much easier for her to fund her tuition fees. “It got me thinking,” said Aaruna, praising the person for their smartness in coming up with this hack.
Oh, I’ve got a good one.
A well known bank offered a lucrative cashback reward points program for grocery store, gas station, and pharmacy purchases on a credit card they offered. The promotion only lasted the first six months of opening the card, but you could open multiple cards and get the same benefits again every time you opened a new one.
You know those prepaid debit cards you can buy at grocery stores? I maxed out the credit card every day buying those babies, then used them to pay off the credit card balance and just collected the cash from the reward points.
Made thousands of dollars a day doing this. It felt illegal, but it wasn’t. I effectively robbed the bank legally. And since credit card reward points are considered rebates it was all tax-free.
This eventually became my full time job. It got more difficult to pull off over time as the grocery store employees understandably became increasingly suspicious of me and reluctant to keep selling me their cards at such a high volume. I had to start driving longer distances to new stores that didn’t recognize me and work on charming store managers to dissuade them from hassling me. Still beat the hell out of any real job, though.
I rode this gravy train for a little under a year before the bank sent me a letter in the mail gently informing me that they were aware of what I was doing and kindly requested that I stop. I didn’t want to find out what would happen if I pressed my luck any longer so I quit while I was ahead. The bank has since closed the loophole.
It was a pretty surreal year. I grew a huge beard, was baked at least half the time, ate way too much fast food, and went to the beach almost every day. Ultimately I was somewhat relieved when it came to an end, but I do have fond memories from that year.
Image credits: HandsomeChode
My senior year of high school a Chick Fil A opened in our town and to advertise the grand opening they put a free chicken sandwich coupon in the yellow pages of the phone book. No purchase, no stipulations. For whatever reason there was like 1,000 phone books stored in a storeroom off the gym. Me and my buddies ate a chicken sandwich damn near every single day of senior year.
Image credits: Panther90
Making mistakes is human, so there will always be things that are not supposed to be where they are, yet get overlooked and stay there regardless. But it’s also interesting to learn why we keep looking for these easy ways around certain things and where is the place that a line should be drawn.
Looking for answers to these questions, we came across an article by Lifehacker, which explained that loopholes are not inherently good or bad and exist in a pretty gray area. When they’re being exploited, the result will likely tip closer to one or another side. However, that depends on a wide number of various factors.
You’re not actually required to get married or have children. You are totally just allowed to spend that time however you would like.
Image credits: crackeddagger
If you’re a Hilton Honors member and stay at a hotel where you get the $15 food and beverage credit, make sure you reserve as two guests even if it is just you. You will get $30.
Image credits: thisisinput
It’s good to know why we look for these cracks in the systems that can be used. And the very first stop on this list is laziness. Humans like comfort, and we’re often pulled to do as little as necessary to achieve what we want. It may be bad for us, and it might also push us to find better ways of doing something, but the statement is true regardless.
People also love free stuff. So when we find an opportunity to get some, possibly without any apparent consequences, it’s hard to pass on it. At the same time, it comes to the issues with the existing systems, whether to fix it or to get around it.
And lastly, we are curious, love feeling smart, and hate being told “no.” Knowing something that others don’t always make us feel good, doubly so if it brings us benefits. However, when we’re told we can’t do something, it only excites our curiosity more, making us push the limits and see how far we can really take things.
Back in school, I found if you stuck two pennies together the vending machines would accept them as £1.
I had a LOT of cheap chocolate and soda.
Image credits: -Satsujinn-
When I was a little kid, my dad would volunteer at the Farm area of our State Fair every year. I’d go with him all the time, and just run around since there was nobody there in the morning hours before the fair opened for the day.
Across from the Farm area was a beer garden, with a big koi pond. Every morning I would go over to the (currently closed) beer gardens, wade into the pond, and collect like $20-30 in coins from the drunk fair goers the day before.
It was an insane amount of coins, and they were damaging to the fish anyway – so it was a total win-win scenario. I did this every day for the entire month of the fair… several years in a row.
Most things can be somehow justified, and it all usually comes down to our own personal ethics. However, there are some questions that people should ask themselves before exploiting some loophole to make it easier to consider the consequences and find where they believe a line should be drawn.
To start with, ask, “Is it breaking the law?” If it is, being caught can result in losing a lot more than gaining and can cause a lot of regret down the road.
Following that up, another viable question would be, “Is it affecting someone else?” Someone else could easily get in trouble for your actions and have no way to protect themselves. While you might not feel the consequence, that person definitely will.
Back in the 80s we found vending machines which were not regularly serviced that would overflow the coin box and spill quarters on the floor. We used to scrape them out from under the machine with a stick. Was a good time to be a latchkey unattended minor.
Image credits: weakplay
A few years ago, a vending machine company (Selecta) started a game where you would scan the barcode of your purchase (every month had a few partnership items) and get points. If you religiously scanned your 2 items every day, you’d get in 3 months enough points for the best gifts: iPads or TVs, things like that.
Except, to scan a barcode, you don’t need to purchase it, you just need to have it. So if 1st day of the month you buy the chocolate bar, nothing is stopping you from scanning it again and again. You can even just take a picture of the barcode of the soda drink bottle next time you stop at the supermarket and actually never buy it.
And you can make a printable PowerPoint of it, to ease the task.
And you can open accounts to family and friends and share the Ppt.
It lasted a bit more than a year and it was very fruitful.
Image credits: Personal_Shoulder983
If the previous two questions end up with an answer “no,” ask yourself this: “Is it worth the trouble?” Just like breaking the law, this can lead you to bigger losses than gains, or at the very least, cost you precious time.
Lastly, it’s a good idea to think about what someone you respect would think of you if you chose to do it. If the answer is negative and you’re still trying to justify it, you’re most likely already looking for a loophole to get to a loophole, which should be a definite stop sign.
Last July I went to a metal fest. Beer was f*****g €7 and you paid by purchasing a coupon online, which would then be swiped off by the bar attendant on your own smartphone.
After the first legitimately purchased beer I thought to my IT self: what if the swiping off animation of the coupon is on client side? If that’s the case, turning internet off before handing the coupon would prevent it from being voided. Then, turning internet on again and refreshing the web page should present it as new.
I was right. I got 7 free beers and a friend of mine 6.
Image credits: rosso_saturno
Buying oak molding at Home Depot. It was supposed to be $3.50/ foot and one store insisted it was $3.50/each sixteen footer so I bought all of it. When I finished the project I took back the extra and they gave me $3.50/foot about a month later. I think I made about $5k more on the returns than the actual project.
Image credits: old-nomad2020
In the end, there really is no set officiator that could undeniably tell us what is wrong and what is right. Even when talking about abusing some system, agreement, or rule through its shortcomings abuse, there are ways to use that for both good and bad. It all comes down to our own morals, but as long as we don’t hurt anybody, at the very least, we get some good stories to share online or in person.
What do you think of this list? Have you ever found and exploited any loopholes yourself? Well, don’t wait! Come down and share!
My bank thinks the vending machine at work is an ATM and refunds my “atm fee” automatically.. chase bank if anyone wondered
I noticed I was always getting like $1.50 returned to my account here and there and then I realized what it was
Image credits: homerinthebushes
A long time ago when I was attending community college, I worked at an Imax movie theater in a mall. Next door was a two-story arcade that had promotion that if you brought in a ticket stub from the Imax theater or the movie theater, you’d get a $3 free play card. I’d assist in cleaning the theater and find lots of discarded tickets that I’d take to the arcade after my shift. None of the workers cared.
When Pizza Hut first started online ordering they gave me a code for a free pizza for ordering online for the first time. Turns out the code also worked if you just ordered as guest and kept working.
Image credits: Stone_Reign
Back in early 2022 I started using Coinbase for some crypto investing. I have Rakuten setup on my browser which gives you money back for purchases on certain sites. When I logged into Coinbase I’d get a pop up saying they were giving you $30 cash back, so I enabled it. This popup would show up every time I logged in so I would click it thinking nothing of it but turns out there was glitch and they gave me $30 EVERY time I logged in. I ended up getting a check from Rakuten for $800 before they figured it out. Check cleared and everything.
Image credits: Emergency_Pay3110
When me and my boyfriend (now husband) moved in together at 18 we joined a very expensive and nice gym. They told us they had a special deal for married couples that was pretty much two for the price of one. We just had to bring in our marriage license as proof. We never brought one in (obviously bc not married) and any time they’d ask we’d just say we forgot it and we’d bring it next time. Stayed there for almost two years with that fake married couple membership.
Image credits: Historical-Yam7902
For my sons 4th birthday party we went to Chuck E Cheese, he got to stand in the ticket wind machine, imagine a circular phone booth and wind would rush in there and tickets would fly around. The birthday boy got 60 seconds in there to keep what he could catch.
I told him to hold his shirt out and stand there, he was 4000 tickets richer.
Older vending machines like the ones in my high school and car wash used to take golden dollars(yes, the Sacagawea coin), count them as a dollar and then spit them back out. You could buy the whole machine with one golden dollar. My friends and I exploited this for 7 months senior year until they swapped all of the machines out.
Image credits: MapUnitKey
Burger King used to have an app where you’d shake your phone and it would sometimes display a free item. Guy at work write his own app that looked identical to Burger Kings, but would only ever show a Whopper Meal. Every lunch time he’d go to Burger King and get a free meal.
Image credits: RedLeader7
I lived in an apartment in a big city. The building lot was $120 per month. Street parking was $60 for the year, but it was first come first serve street parking, in designated areas. The rest of the street was metered.
There were some nights I had to pay for metered parking, just so I could go to bed. One time though, I found a meter that was broken. Parked there the rest of the year, then never renewed my parking permit and parked there for another year. Saved a bunch of money and uncountable hours of driving time, never got a ticket
Image credits: EsotericHappenstance
When I was a kid I was in the swimclub. It was a pool open for the general public, and we swam when it was closed. A section of lockers had turnstile combination locks, you’d put 50 cent in and choose your combination but they would frequently jam so the 50c wouldn’t come out again. People couldn’t be bothered to get someone from personell for 50c, so the money would pile up in the lock. People kept putting 50c in, the lock wouldn’t work so they’d move to the next one. We swimmers knew the trick of how to get the money back out so it was always a race to get there first. If you were lucky you could get 10 bucks in coins from all of them. That was a lot for a 10 year old 30 years ago, and you’d get yourself a frozen Marsbar, and if you had a big haul you’d buy your friends some to, that was the unspoken rule.
I worked a job where we would have to book clients very expensive last minute hotel rooms if their flights were cancelled. My coworker would book the hotels using his personal rewards account with the hotel. One particularly bad week, he racked up about $15k worth of Marriot reward points. Yes, in one week.
My GF worked at a gas station that had points cards that gave a discount. if the customer didn’t have one she’d scan hers for them to get an item discount and we got the points for discount gas.
Never paid over $1/gal the entire time she worked there.
Image credits: ccx941
Create a new amazon account by adding a “.” (period) to your gmail and get another free 6 months of Amazon prime. Your order emails still comes to the same gmail as gmail is period insensitive.
Image credits: detail_oriented_guy
Long ago, 2009ish, bed bath and beyond gave 20% off coupons if you signed up with an email account. Email accounts are free and unlimited, so the 20% coupons are as well. I would buy an item using a 20% coupon, return it without a receipt, get store credit (consequence of not using receipt), then use the inflated store credit to buy something else using another 20% coupon. This method quickly stacks as compound interest and I would get my original investment out by buying the original item with a fraction of my store credit reserve and return with receipt. I fleeced that place for thousands.
Image credits: JimmyDeanSausage
Enroll in a college class, get the student ID and e-mail address, then drop the class. Usually if you drop in the first week and you don’t have to pay for it. Then you have a valid student ID and email for all the discounts you could get. I got a a lot of VERY cheap software back in the day. In my defense I was in college at the time. But a few semesters after I graduated I did this just to get a few more things I needed but couldn’t afford.
ETA: it seems I need to check to see if my student e-mail still works LOL
Image credits: Robineggblue84
From 1980s found a skiball machine at chuck e cheese that dispensed unlimited tickets but you had to manually pull them. My pops helped and we slowly pulled out 300 tickets.
Image credits: ZealousidealSea2737
When Kmart was big they were running a promotion where if you spent $50, you’d immediately get a $10 gift card for free. I figured out that you could keep purchasing the same gift cards with other gift cards and each transaction would get you a free $10 GC reward. The only catch was that you couldn’t directly buy a $50 GC with a $50 GC. Instead, you had to buy a card with a slightly higher value (+$1) each time but they let you pay for the transaction with 2 GCs. So by the end of the night, I walked out with an iPod Classic and a plasma TV.
I used to abuse the McDonald’s coffee stickers scheme for a couple of years, you needed to purchase 6 cups of coffee and get 7th free.
You could just buy the stickers of eBay and stick them on the redemption cards, worked out 5 pence a coffee.
Then they came out with the app ?
Image credits: Roofbunk
Long, long time ago in school. No alcohol allowed in our dorm rooms and the administrators would check. No way to keep my booze stash. Discovered the admins didn’t track gym lockers. Set up one locker for liquor and one for beer. Problem solved and made extra cash selling to thirsty classmates.
Not quite a loophole but whatever. In the early days of the iTunes Music Store (04-05), Pepsi had a promo for free download codes with each bottle cap. I worked at a university, made little money, didn’t have the internet access to regularly steal music, so would just look in the recycling bins every time I walked in the halls for Pepsi caps. Also befriended a secretary who was addicted to Diet Pepsi that would just give me bags of bottle caps. I probably got at least a dozen albums with that promotion.
Years ago, my office had a Christmas party at a bar and restaurant in the city. Just dinner and drinks. The service was absolutely atrocious, forgotten orders, wrong orders, when offered a free round to apologise, they forgot to bring the free round. So we clearly complained.
Management gave us a call the next morning to apologise and to come in. Myself and a colleague went in and the management gave us a refund for one meal and one drink, and then gave us a voucher for $100 off the next time we were there.
The issue was, this voucher wasn’t numbered. It had no date on it. It had nothing to show that it was unique.
So, my colleague and I did what every good person who has access to a high colour copier would do. We copied the s**t out of it and drank there for free for nearly a year until we both got banned for life.
Thanks Jade Buddha in Brisbane!
Company requested we as remote workers fly out to headquarters every other month just to show face. They let the employees book their own tickets and set up their own car rentals. We just expensed our CC purchases and it was gewchie. There wasn’t a hard limit on how long we stay, just aim for the 10-14 days. I worked 4 on 4 off. Ended up starting my trip on my weekend, taking my 4 off, working my 4 then taking 4 off before flying home. Got my $78/hr OT rate 10hrs a day for 8 days plus per diem while chillin in the hotel, or doing things around town because while it was my weekend, I was out on a work trip and OT applied.
Also because we did the purchasing, we kept all the airline frequent flier and rental miles. Ended when I left for a position offering a nicer check, probably woulda been doing it to this day if I didn’t leave.
2018 I ordered pizza Hut for my office. I noticed the Free Stix coupon code took off like 4 orders of bread sticks… So we maxed it out.
99 orders of bread sticks, FREESTIX took off all 99 orders.. oh boy.. we can’t screw them like that..
So we ordered like 15 and continued to do so as a Saturday night tradition for maybe 3 months before it was fixed.
Dozen orders of bread sticks, completely taken off the total.. order like $12.99 worth of pizza to split.
Okay in the late 90’s the grocery store Albertson’s had a program called fresh or free where if you found an item on the shelf that was expired you got the expired one and a fresh one of the same item for completely free. They didn’t really advertise it but our friend worked there and told us. There were a few stores that were open till 1am so we would go in before midnight and scope everything set to expire that day and then at 12:01am start filling our grocery carts. Baked goods, packaged meat, dairy anything you could think of really. They couldn’t do anything about it. We literally left the store with grocery carts overflowing with all edible good items for completely free that summer. Remember you got the recently expired item (still good) as well as a non expired replacement all for free! It was quite the summer of stocking everyone’s family fridge. All went to college in the fall and guess they discontinued the program not too much longer after that, but holy smokes to have that now when I’m actually paying for my own groceries
I worked in outsourced payroll a number of years back. Somehow, the company figured out they had paying this guy who was let go for 3 years.
The company came after my organization to say it was our error (converting into our system as active). This guy had a reporting manager who must have approved his hire every year (or did a c**p job of just oking it).
The story was they fired this guy and he wasn’t happy with the way they did it. So, he never told the company. The company tried to go after him, but the law wasn’t on their side.
We had our original files for conversion saved and they had sent the guy over to us as an active employee.
Would love for this to happen to me, though I’d probably tell them (unless they pissed me off like they did to this guy)
Image credits: Stay-Thirsty
Okay so here me out. I got ~$400 of premium underwear for like $20 due to a website security issue.
So a few years back the company MeUndies was doing a ‘national underwear day’ sale where new users could order any pair off the site and only had to pay $1 for shipping.
The thing was, they didn’t have any restrictions on verifying new users. You could type in any email address you wanted, slam in a random series of characters for a password, and it would make the account.
Then you could order a pair, log out, type in more random info, and repeat the process.
My apartment mailbox was literally overflowing with these purple confetti design packages. It was wonderful.
Image credits: MrNewt_
College 1985. Had to take a Risk and Insurance class. The professor was terrible and I had no idea what he wanted us to learn. I was a good student and normally I’d figure out in the first week what was needed to pass with a high grade. I was worried, really worried. So I looked in the book and as I recall in the front pages a work book was available. This had helped me greatly in my accounting classes so I called the publisher and ordered the book. It was page after page of multiple choice questions for each chapter with a key in back. I memorized the answer to each of those questions. And as you have likely already guessed the professor used those questions for the exams. I sailed through that class and didn’t tell anyone what I’d done so I didn’t mess up the curve and make the professor suspicious.
Image credits: nagerjaeger
You used to be able to order dollar coins from the mint.
Pay for it on your credit card, free delivery.
Get sky miles.
Take dollar coins to bank, deposit, pay off bill.
Image credits: AMLT1983
Back when Redbox was new, you could enter the promo code BREAK ROOM and get a free rental on a new card. I passed that around like crazy.
Image credits: DarthGayAgenda
The railway crews each had a wallet full of fleet cards (like a credit card, but only usable for fuel and related things) so they’d be able to fuel up anywhere in North America. In the cities, that meant they could choose what gas station to go to, and that choice was usually based on where the crew leader had loyalty cards for. Company pays for fuel, crew leader gets the points.
Anyway, one guy happened to have the points card for the bulk fuel/truck stop that I worked at. One summer they had a major project. They’d bring in two pickup trucks and a large commercial truck one the way to the job. The commercial truck also had a large fuel tank on it that they’d fill up and use to fill the heavy excavators, welders, generators and such. So he’d full that up, and then return later that day, fill the truck and the tank up again and go back out. They were spending thousands of dollars for fuel every day. Those points really added up quickly, and he used them to get gift cards. He used the gift cards to buy smoke and lunch every single day and still had some left over.
When I traveled for work (in the days before Uber) I got a ton of blank taxi receipts. And I’d fill them out for rides to and from the airport. It was $35ish each way. But I’d take the subway for $1.50 instead. So $70ish dollars tax free income for every trip.