The McKirdy Bros Professionally Eating Ribs

The McKirdy Bros Professionally Eating Ribs

Times are tough, for many people this isn’t the first time they’ve struggled to make ends meet. I’d like to humbly share a time in my life my frugality took a dark but interesting turn. It was 2008 and I was a student at the University of Oregon. My major was international studies and so, in a way I was honing my skills for a life of financial hardship. I was “in between jobs” as they say, and while I had saved enough money to still afford rent, my savings were diminishing fast. Food was expensive. I had contributed to society, paid my taxes for long enough for me to feel less guilty about what I was scheming. I looked to the homeless for inspiration and I found none. “They are doing it all wrong” I said to myself.
 
I had long been a fan of free food so I started brainstorming of all the past places food was a plenty. Buffets. Breakfast buffets. Continental breakfasts. The Holiday Inn Express was closest to my house, so that’s where I first walked in as confidently as possible, to a hotel I’ve never been in before. Oatmeal. Apples. Oranges. Muffins. It was a beautiful display of food not meant for me, which made it even more exciting. I had my backpack on me because my Spanish class was in a half an hour. I ate what I could, and opened my bag to shove a bundle of bananas in. I took an extra muffin for my friend because he was broke like me, and as it turns out I’m very generous with other people’s food. This went on for a while. So long that I started to rank the hotels. Phoenix Inn had apple juice and hot chocolate so I gave it a B+. But breakfast was only one meal out of the suggested 3 a day. I had started noticing official University of Oregon food golf carts zipping around campus. I was lucky enough to have experienced this before at catered public events and so I knew they had the goods. One day in between classes I saw a green cart zip right in front of me and if it were possible I would have jumped right on the back and followed it to wherever it was going, but I had to be more inconspicuous. So, I ran. Calmly. Like I was late for a class across campus. Finally the cart stopped in front of the law building. Taking from future lawyers was alright by me. I wasn’t stealing. I was taking something being offered just not to me. Oh was it delicious. The pasta was seasoned and covered in feta cheese and oil. I was in heaven. The breakfasts and occasional catered meal kept me for only so long. I did some grocery shopping rather often to buy my bulk items of hummus, rice, beans and oats. Cheap nutritious foods. I was at Whole Foods when I noticed a bread man checking the dates of each loaf and then collecting the ones that were about to expire. I striked up a  conversation and he told me that he could give me some just not in the store. He told me to meet him out back. A couple of minutes later he was noticeably more casual with me. He didn’t care about the bread. So I took all that I could. Six loaves of organic whole wheat bread. It only lasted me a few days. 
 
Turns out he gave the rest to the Eugene food pantry, but they always had plenty of bread from other donations besides his company. I looked into the pantry and I qualified. I rode my bike to the pantry, and again only had my backpack. They told me to go outside and they would bring me my food allowance. They rolled out a two level push cart full of canned foods, cold milk and other dairy products including a very cheap pint of chocolate ice cream. I could only carry about a quarter of what I was alloted. I wouldn’t have eaten most of the other stuff any way because it was full of MSG, salt and I knew it would taste awful. 

Eventually I was able to get a job and save up some money so I didn’t have to go to all the trouble, but I had a good run. Without all the ways I found to get free food I am sure I would have started charging groceries on a credit card. I hope I don’t have to do it again, but it is nice to know that sometimes beggars can be choosers if you’re smart enough. I am very thankful for each and every free bite to this day. 

Andrew McKirdy

Andrew Scoring Free Organic Bread

Andrew Scoring Free Organic Bread

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Comments
  1. […] brother use to creep into fine hotels in Eugene about twice a month to get his fill before class.  Andrew blogged about it here on Survival Bros.  It’s funny.  But I’m not advising you to steal, just sharing a survival tactic for […]

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