We all have to deal with rules we think are stupid now and again -- like the inexplicable wolf skull-loincloth ban at Applebee's -- but for the most part there's nothing you can really do about them. People who make the rules got that power in the first place by being the kind of tough hombres you don't want to mess with. The only thing you can do is cross your arms and, if you're feeling daring, blog about it. Unless you're one of the following people, who exploited loopholes so hard, the system walked funny for a week ...
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Getting financially screwed over by an airline is as much a part of air travel as eating terrible airport food and then immediately regretting eating a bunch of terrible airport food right before your six-hour flight. But without a doubt the most obnoxious rules are the baggage weight limits -- none of us believe that the difference between 25 and 30 pounds of luggage is going to impact the flight enough to warrant a $25 fee, but not all of us go so far as to lose our shit, rip open our bag, and put on 70 items of clothing right there in the luggage line. No, that was just this one noble bastard in China.
Although we imagine that $25 fee was looking a lot more reasonable after the first hour of swamp ass.
And he's far from the only one: The most common strategies involve some common sense (if incredibly embarrassing) travel hacks, like wearing all your heavy stuff instead of packing it, opening the stitching of your jacket and stuffing it full of miscellaneous small stuff, or draping a beach towel around your shoulders and wearing it like a cape under your coat. We have no idea how American airport security would react to a jacket stuffed with phone chargers or a guy pretending he's store-brand Superman, but at least one dude seems to be able to bounce around Europe using these strategies with no problems.
"My cheapness is fueled by Earth's yellow sun."
You probably don't think of coupon exchange as the kind of thing you can be good at. It's not exactly a martial art; there's no belt system for advancing through the ranks of being a cheap bastard. You hand the cashier a piece of colorful paper, she knocks 15 percent off the market price of your Nakatomi Scrotum Shaver, and everybody goes home feeling slightly worse about themselves.
Albeit significantly better groomed.
And it's precisely that kind of defeatist thinking that separates you from the mad genius of Norbert Verswijver, the Norwegian black belt of coupon-fu. After poring over the small print of some coupons in whatever the Norwegian version of the Penny Saver is (Flubenhoffer, we want to say?), Verswijver realized that there were no rules saying he couldn't combine that week's coupons at Blokker. A "20 percent off!" coupon pairs quite well with a "$15 off!" after all. He collected as many as he could and carefully arranged them like a miser's Pokemon deck until he was able to pick up high-end electronics, totally legally, and basically for free.
But how much could you possibly get away with before the Blokkens realize you're bluffing them out of an entire store? Well, Verswijver successfully bought 50,000 euros' worth of electronics ... for 60 cents. That may be his most impressive maneuver, but it's not his only one: He's also purchased shipments of frozen food for free using similar systems and donated it to the poor, earning him his reputation as "the Robin Hood of couponing." We imagine it may have had something to do with the hat as well.
Not to mention the citywide rash of sale flyers hung on arrows.
When the United States briefly tried to ban the consumption of alcohol at the beginning of the 20th century, the entire country whole-heartedly embraced the temperance movement by engaging in sober, thoughtful reflection on how badly they wanted to get hammered. If you didn't want to risk your life dealing with Al Capone and the other bootleggers, you could always get blotto on some good old-fashioned homemade wine, just like grandma used to make. Man, grandma had her problems, didn't she? But thanks to some clever loopholes, at least it was completely legal.
Which can't be said for the rest of her spring break.
Vine-Glo and a handful of other companies sold cans of grape concentrate or compressed grape bricks, sometimes including yeast pills, which could, we suppose, be used to make wine -- but whoever would think of such a thing? That would be violating the nation's newfound vow of temperance, so Vine-Glo included instructions to help their customers avoid this terrible sin, which read:
"Warning. Do not place this brick in a one gallon crock, add sugar and water, cover, and let stand for seven days or else an illegal alcoholic beverage will result.
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"... included hose and funnel should only be used for lubricating machinery."
During Prohibition, people were allowed to make 200 gallons of "nonintoxicating" grape juice a year without taxation. "Nonintoxicating" basically meant juice, but was also loosely interpreted to refer to wine used in religious ceremonies or medicine (side note: pretty much all of our hard drugs were over the counter "medicine" back in the day). Because the term was never properly defined, people took it to mean that you could ferment up some eye-watering fortified "nonintoxicating" wine that would knock your ass in the dirt like a prizefighter, and all on the up and up. It didn't, of course -- they don't call it Prohibition because it's really in favor of hibition -- but with a wink and a nudge, companies exploited the loophole to sell huge quantities of DIY wine, complete with instructions. Because, much like life, getting blitzed always finds a way.