I met with a strange duck to find out some of his secrets for survival.
He lives in Los Angeles and his name is Mr. Noraj. Mr. Noraj is a middle-aged man with a warm smile who likes kids and has thinning hair. Few people realize what kind of diabolical things he perpetrates on a daily basis.
Jaron: I understand that you have cut you grocery bill in half. How do you do that?
Mr. Noraj: Well, suppose I buy a tin of coffee. Before I purchase it I always make certain that there is a toll free number on the tin to call in case of any kind of product complaint. Then when I get home I call the 800 number and tell them that the tin is almost empty. They send me a replacement. Sometimes several. This way I reduce the cost of my coffee bill by at least fifty percent, sometimes seventy-five percent.
Jaron: That’s illegal, isn’t it?
Mr. Noraj: Probably. But half the coffee can is filled with air anyway. I think that’s illegal. In the old days a pound of coffee had 16 ounces. Today the can is still the same size but there is more air in it and less coffee. As far as I’m concerned that’s deceptive marketing and it should be punished. I’m a coffee vigilante.
Jaron: How do you live with yourself?
Mr. Noraj: Easily. Especially after I read that the president of the coffee company just gave himself a million dollar raise, raided the pension plan of his employees and sold his stock short because of inside information.
Jaron: Two wrongs don’t make a right.
Mr. Noraj: Then keep buying coffee the way you do. You know you don’t even have to buy the coffee to get it for free.
Jaron: You don’t?
Mr. Noraj: Naw. Just copy the 800 number off the package in the store and call up the manufacturer and tell them that their coffee can was empty. You might want to write down the batch number. They often ask for that.
Jaron: What would happen if everyone did that?
Mr. Noraj: The coffee company would go out of business. Good riddance.
Jaron: Are there any other companies that you use the same tactic with?
Mr. Noraj: Dozens of them. Especially makers of cigarettes.
Jaron: You don’t smoke.
Mr. Noraj: So what? I get dozens of cartons of cigarettes each month from the swine cigarette manufacturers. I call the 800 number and complain about their product. They send me free cigarettes by the bushel. Then I give the cigarettes away to retired people that the cigarette companies have hooked.
Jaron: But that’s fraud.
Mr. Noraj: Who gives a damn? The cigarette companies are total evil. Fuck ’em. Hit ’em in the pocket book — that’s all they care about.
Jaron: So you get free coffee and cigarettes. What else?
Mr. Noraj: Magazine subscriptions. CDs and records. As a matter of fact, anything I get in the mail that offers anything. I just send the card back unsigned and ask for whatever they are offering. I usually get about 40 or 50 free magazines a month. I have tons of CDs.
Jaron: They don’t make you pay?
Mr. Noraj: Naw. Take Time magazine. They keep sending me subscription offers. They print my name on a card and ask me to check how many years of their magazine I want and then I sign my name. I send the card back and I start to get Time magazine.
Jaron: And you don’t get bills?
Mr. Noraj: Sure. But I never pay them. If they phone me, I ask them to send me proof that I ordered their stupid magazine. They have no proof and they leave me alone.
Jaron: But doesn’t that ruin your credit rating?
Mr. Noraj: Think about it. Everyone in the entire world has gotten phony bills for magazines they didn’t get. Bankers check your credit card history; they don’t care if Family Home Circle claims you owe $9.99.
Jaron: What else do you get for free?
Mr. Noraj: Designer sunglasses and umbrellas.
Jaron: How do you do that?
Mr. Noraj: Stop by any lost and found office in any hotel, airline or car rental company. Tell them you lost your glasses or umbrella. They have bushels of each. They are happy to let you pick what you want. Often I find $300 designer eyeglass frames. I take these to Costco and for $29.00 they’ll put my prescription lenses in them.
Jaron: You are a thief.
Mr. Noraj: But a dry one with designer glasses, sipping free coffee and reading any magazine I want for free. By the way, could you lend me five dollars until payday?
Jaron: When’s payday?
Mr. Noraj: I dunno. You’re the one who’s working.
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