But coming in at a close second, is the fun of connecting with other free eats enthusiasts from around the world--like Johanna, from San Francisco. For Johanna, old habits die hard.
Her first round of free eating was back in her college hay-day. Johanna's savvy scavenging narrowed her total food spending to only $200 over the course of six months. Impressive! It also pissed off her parents, helped fend off the Freshman 15 and earned her the title of "stingy friend." That's when she called it quits.
But only two weeks ago, Johanna joined the ever-growing population of unemployed 20-somethings after being unexpectedly laid off from her job. With her $1300 rent looming, Johanna can't resist the allure of free food and from what she's told me, San Francisco is definitely in the running to compete with NYC's free sample scene. Last week she got free chocolate from Ghirardelli Square, a smorgasbord of stuff from Trader Joe's, and a caffeine boost at World Market. But her biggest goldmine has been the San Francisco Farmer's Market.
"You have NEVER seen anything like the Farmer's market," she says. "It's literally an entire block of vendors forcing their free samples of goodies on you. The best part: it happens every single Saturday. Smaller versions of the market happen every Tuesday and Thursday."
That's Johanna pictured above, snacking on some juicy orange slices and FRESH LOX. Note she's not even wearing a jacket...so jealous.
Check back for more updates from Johanna, my resident San Francisco Free Eats Correspondent. And wish her luck on the job [and food] hunt.