Getting Groceries for Free

Want to get groceries for free? HEB has a spectacular policy called “Fresh or Free”. This is not a joke or hype or any kind of sales pitch. This grocery store actually provides an opportunity for anyone to get groceries for free. If you do not know of the HEB grocery chain, it’s probably because the chain is only located in Texas. My wife and I shop there almost exclusively, especially because of the Fresh or Free program. Here is a basic rundown of how to take advantage of this great policy:

1. Hunt for items that have expired.

This is the first and foremost rule. So when you arrive at the store, carefully look through the stock of particular items you are interested in, and hunt for the expired one(s). Try to utilize some stealth, as the staff is trained to seek out “fresh or free-ers” like us. The staff cannot stop you from looking, but they may start going through the stock along side of you and weed out expired items.

2. Once you have found an expired item, put it in your basket, along with an identical, fresh item.

3. You are only allowed to fresh or free one item per SKU, per person.

This doesn’t mean you can’t walk away with hundreds of dollars or more in groceries for free, it just means if you find 10 expired Tombstone Pepperoni Pizzas, you can only take one fresh one, per person. But if you find one Tombstone Pepperoni Pizza, and one Red Baron Pepperoni Pizza that have expired, then you get one of each for free.

4. Go to the cash register and place your items in pairs (one expired, one fresh) on the conveyor belt.

5. Tell the cashier “I have some expired items here.”

We have had times where the staff is not friendly, and sometimes downright mean about us getting groceries for free. Don’t let this dissuade you, they are obligated by the policy to give you the groceries for free. We’ve heard every excuse in the book, and you will too, if you participate in the program. If they get too mean, just have a manager come over and take care of it.

My personal opinion of why they offer groceries for free:

* I believe that the program makes an incredible amount of sense from a business perspective. HEB is basically hiring the general public to wade through their current stock, and eliminate expired items. Now I know this is a job that should be handled by the night stockers, but think about the average night stocker, why would they care about checking dates? That would be far more time and effort to complete the stocking for the night. And with the small wage that HEB is paying their stockers, it makes sense to offer groceries for free under this program.

* Also, this program allows HEB upper management to identify weakness in their lower management, especially night stocking crew management. So in effect, we are helping them to root out bad management, and provide the best quality food. It is a win-win situation for the company, and for us as customers (or should I say, previous customers, 😉 ).

In closing, the HEB fresh or free program is a fantastically easy way to obtain quality, free groceries. The only groceries that are exempt from the policy are ones that have no expiration. Other than that, it is open season. So take advantage of it, and leave me a few comments on your experiences if you get the chance.

Coupon Codes & Discounts For Online Shopping – Hints & Tips!

1. Can you use coupon codes at that particular store?

Have you ever shopped at an online retailer and seen an empty field such as ‘promo code’ or ‘promotional codes’? Well, this field can be used to get you extra discounts on your purchases. For example, I once received a 25% discount on an online contact lens order using a ‘Clearly Contacts discount code’.

So, any time you are shopping online and are in the process of going through the checkout, take a look for the coupon code box. It can come under many different names, from Swiss Chalet promo codes, Air Canada discount codes, an Avon Canada coupon code, or an Aldo Shoes promo code.

2. Search for the discount codes!

It is recommended that you search Google Canada for the exact search term and the company name. For example, ‘Staples coupon code’. You can also check out sites that have listings of promo codes, such as Retailmenot. You may find a dollar discount, a percentage discount, or perhaps a coupon code for free shipping.

3. Search more!

Do NOT settle for the first coupon code that you come across. There could be bigger and better discount coupons online. A couple of minutes of searching can save you a lot of cash in the end!

4. Adjust the discount code!

Companies can be quite predictable. For example, SEARS10 may give you a 10% discount, SEARS20 could give you 20% discount! When you find any promo code and enter it in the box provided, you can try a few other variations and see if you stumble upon a higher discount amount!

5. Check duration of discounts!

Occasionally, the promo codes cease to work before their stated expiry date. They may have been very popular and the retailer decided to cancel the offer code early. However, the opposite to this can also be true: sometimes the coupon codes continue to work well after the original expiry date. Be sure you see the exact discount amount shown in your shopping cart or when you go start to through the checkout. The discount code may not have worked, and you could be charged full price on your products or services.

6. Useful tips:

  • Some discount codes may be case sensitive (For example, ’10OFF’ might work well, but ’10off’ might not)
  • You might only be able to use a discount coupon once per customer account
  • Some of the voucher codes may only apply to certain types of products (E.g. Hardware)
  • Each promo code may have a limited life span (E.g. expires 31st December)

7. Subscriptions!

Lots of retailers send out free discount coupons when you subscribe to email newsletters. For example: every week, Michaels Canada sends out various coupons by email. You can sign up to a lot of newsletters using a junk email address, and get interesting coupons through! If you do decide to subscribe to a lot of newsletters, it is recommend that you use a disposable email account such as mailinator, or a new gmail account just for that purpose.