This morning I headed over to Burger King because they have a two-for-3-bucks croissant thing going on. As far as a fast food breakfast items go, BK ham/egg/cheese croissants are pretty good. Yeah, I know, not healthy, but whatever. It was either the croissants or cook rice and peas for breakfast I'm basically out of food and haven't gone to the market yet (which I will do later today).
So I drive over to BK to get some grub. There's nobody on the road on any early morning Sunday in Tampa. It's weird but cool seeing six-lane (3 on other side) roads with zero cars on them. At the BK there's no one in the drive-thru so I breeze right in. I order 2 h/e/c croissants and a small chocolate milk. The total I've given is $4.28.
At the window, I'm told "Thanks for being our first customer of the day, your order is free." I smile, take my stuff, say thanks and head out.
Now it could very well be that their computers weren't on yet and the manager on duty just said 'screw it, just give it away', and if that happened, cool - but the point is that free grub is free grub.
I've received free food and drinks several times not only from that particular BK but also from other fast food places. Speaking of that particular BK, the last freebie I received was this huge cup of soda. Someone ordered the thing and forgot to take it, so the drive-thru clerk said, "You want this?" Heck yeah I wanted it because it was a big-ass 3-dollar cup of soda. At the Dunkin' Donuts places I visit, it's not uncommon I get free coffees. At 7-Elevens I sometimes get free chicken pieces. A few times at Hess stations I've received free breakfast foods and one time a few free slices of pizza.
Bear in mind I never ask for the freebies. They just happen.
In the part of New England I lived in, it was rare that I'd ever receive freebies for anything be it a fast food place or convenience store - but I know exactly why it was like that. Stores in that part of the world have to work a whole lot harder to make a buck because they simply don't have the traffic. Here in Tampa there's boatloads of traffic not only from locals but tourists as well, and even as rigid as some franchises are about recording every single transaction, they ease up when it comes to Tampa locations because they know they're already making tons of money anyway.
In the Connecticut town I grew up in, a store giving away a $4.28 sale would be considered heresy. In Tampa, it's not a big deal - nor should it be.