Created on Saturday, 21 September 2013 00:00
Everyone loves pudding. Pudding is possibly the best thing to be invented next to bacon. David Phillips, a civil engineer who teaches at the University of California will agree wholeheartedly to that, not because he has pudding passion, but because pudding is getting him to places. Literally. By a stroke of genius, the engineer managed to convert 12,100 cups of pudding into a lifetime supply of air miles for himself and his family to travel around the world absolutely for free.
David is an extremely meticulous man, and that is saying the least. He's the kind of guy who reads through the terms & conditions list, the fine print on every document or advertisement, the guy who is able to count cards and rapidly do ridiculously complicated calculations in his mind to know what card is coming out next in a deck. In fact, he even claimed that he could have been a pro card player if he wanted to, except that he is not very fond of the permanent cigarette-smoke cloud that never dissipates in casinos. He passed on the chance of becoming a multi-millionaire pro card player for fresh air, but he put his brain to good use in 1999 and while he did not become filthy rich, his endeavor allowed him to fly around the world for next to nothing. Trust him, he knows what he is doing, he's an engineer.
In 1999. David stumbled upon a promotion Healthy Choice was having for their frozen entrées section. The promotion stated that for every 10 bar codes of their product a person sent in, they would be awarded 500 Air Miles. Better yet, there was an early bird stipulation that would offer the people who redeemed the offer in the first month of the competition to receive double the Air Miles. Which means that if someone sent in 10 labels during the same month the promotion was introduced, he/she would be awarded 1000 Air Miles instead of just 500.
David couldn't pass up on the awesome offer when he received wind of it. His gears kicked into action and he started off with scouring supermarkets to find the cheapest products. He eventually found a discount grocery chain that sold individual chocolate pudding cups for 25 cents each, which means for just a mere $2.50, he could fly 1000 miles anywhere he wanted in the world for free.
Needless to say, David stocked up and bought as many pudding cups as he could. He was aware of the fact that people would start getting suspicious when he cleared out all the Healthy Choice pudding from every store in the chain in one day. So he came up with the excuse that he was preparing for Y2K, which was just around the corner. If you are not familiar with Y2K, in a brief explanation, it was basically a scare that digital, non-digital documentation and data storage situations would crash when it became the year 2000, and people were afraid that the economy would fall and the world would plunge into darkness and chaos, but obviously that fear was unfounded. Moving on...
David brought home 12,100 cups of pudding which totaled up to $3025, which is a lot to pay for pudding but considering how the total dollar value of the miles he was about to receive was in excess of over $150,000, it was practically the deal of a lifetime.
He initially put his wife in charge of peeling off the thousands of stickers and she got blisters from doing so, and his kids and co-workers got infinitely sick of the immense amount of sticky chocolate paste he was forcing down their throats. It seemed impossible for them to peel off the barcodes in time for the early bird promotion as time was running out.
That was until David came up with another brilliant idea. He approached the Salvation Army with a win-win solution; the Salvation Army's volunteers would peel off all the bar codes on the pudding and in exchange, he would donate the pudding to them. Here's another incentive for David, doing this would count as a charitable donation which would allow David to claim back $800 in tax deductions at the end of the year. Pure genius.
After sending off all the barcodes from the pudding, including a few more from soup cans, he received 1,280,000 Air Miles. The awesome incentives did not just end there though. Because David officially has over a million miles in his frequent flyer accounts, he was automatically given lifelong access to the “American Airlines Aadvantage Gold Club” which granted him and his family unbelievably superb flying perks for the rest of their lives.
As you are reading this, David is still accumulating Air Miles 5 times faster than he can spend them as he is constantly keeping an eye out for frequent flyer incentive programs he can exploit. Currently he retains more than 4 million miles in his numerous flyer accounts and has already flown to over 20 countries for absolutely nothing, which makes you feel like a schmuck for paying exorbitant rates to travel a short distance while this guy can take an aeroplane anytime he wants to anywhere he wants. It is positively pure genius. This man is indeed going places.