How I got free bagels at Einstein Bros.
It's about 4:30pm, and Einstein's employees are cleaning up for the night. I order an iced tea. First rule of free bagels is this: you can't be cheap when you're getting something for free. I order it not because I want an iced tea, but because I need a reason to talk to the people behind the counter. Asking for something free right after you walk in is like going up to somebody in a bar and saying, "Hey! Sex?" That person is probably not going to be into it. Unless you're Zac Efron.
The possibly high guy behind the counter (I live in Colorado, so I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt) tells me they just dumped the tea. I order an iced coffee.
I ask him what they do with the bagels at the end of the day.
"We give them away," he says. To charity, he means.
"That's nice!" I reply.
"Yeah, it's pretty cool, [especially] because other places throw them away or whatever."
This does not phase me, especially because of what he says next.
"Do you guys ever take them home?"
"Sometimes. I get sick of them."
I laugh as if I too get sick of free bagels, when in truth, I do not. I've never had free bagels, I just know bagfuls of them get tossed at the end of the day.
This is important info: they don't always give them to charity. That's when I knew I had my chance.
"Do you ever give them to customers?"
He looks away from me, and mumbles a few words.
I realize they're still open, so I take the pressure off of him to get me the free stuff now. I smile. "I can hang out," I say.
I sit at a table while they clean up, and I drink my iced coffee. In a few minutes, he calls me over. We're in front of a huge case of bagels, and he starts picking out bagels for me. I ask him if I can get a pretzel one, and that asiago one, and on and on. He stops at half a dozen. I tip him a few bucks and leave.
First of all, if your Einstein location gives its food to charity at the end of the day, make a nice donation to your local food bank to offset the fact that you're taking bagels from them. And/or Einstein employees. And tip them when they give you a freebie. Remember, you're not paying for the bagels.
After all that donating and tipping, your bagels won't be "free." It's more of a break-even proposition. If you demand actually free bagels, read on. Also: get as many pretzel bagels as you can. They're delicious.