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Mooching 101: Anything goes,
just let the bride cut the cake

I’m not the first to tell you this: times are hard. A friend complained, “If the economy gets worse, my wife must find a job, and if it doesn’t improve, I’ll look for one too.”

Looking for work is a drastic step for most of my friends; so if you guys are reading this (and who else does?), let’s review a survival skill we learned in college –- mooching.
First, mooching is not stealing. Rather it is making the most out of something offered for free. Opportunities are everywhere. In Gone With the Wind, Scarlet O’Hara’s proclaimed: “I’ll plant Tara, and never go hungry again.”  Hunger would not of been an issue if she had only known about super center free samples. Let’s start there.

I won't mention the name of this shopping center but the last name is Warehouse and the first name rhymes with Spam’s. On any given day, employees serve bite size food portions for possible customers. The idea is to coax one into purchasing more of the item just nibbled. That’s up to you. But here are three tips on how to make a meal of it:

A second good moocher venue is weddings. Men attend other people’s weddings for one reason: to provide transportation for females attending the same wedding. So in my opinion when the reception buffet is rolled out, they owe us for sitting through an American Idol wannabe belt out “Oh Promise Me.”

Back when I married, when the earth was void and without form, our reception food was basically punch and large can of Planter’s Nuts. Not anymore. Today’s brides are obligated to feed the world. It can work to your advantage.

My nuptial reception strategy is all about logistics: Be near first in line while the Swedish meatballs are warm. But no matter what line position you have, let the bride and groom cut the wedding cake first. It is very tempting to slice a section while they are having pictures made but will be really awkward if you do. Tradition says the bride must take a slice of wedding cake and shove it in the groom’s face. Women find this hilarious so don’t fight it.

Soon you will move on to advanced mooching such as double dipping. First time through the reception line, say you are a friend of the groom, second time, friend of the bride. Technically it’s honest, as you probably like them both -– allowing seconds on chicken wings.

Another great opportunity, though seasonal, is Halloween. But don’t take your kids trick or treating in your neighborhood. Those folks are as broke as you are. Try perusing wealthy areas. The rich give great goodies. I am told that on Halloween, Gulf Shores, Ono Island residents hand out pork chops.

(Burnett has been a freelance writer in Mobile for more than 20 years. For more information, visit his website.)
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by Emmett Burnett