My Rebellious Youth: The summer I scammed Safeway

Looking back it was probably a bit wrong, but at the time I was about 9 or 10 so there were no consequences – as long as I didn’t get caught!

It was on one of my summer holidays in Scotland, and I had started playing Habbo Hotel. I was in love with the game – I’m not sure why, all you did was walk around and play ‘games’ run by other people… ah well. As with most games, to play was free, but of course there were certain ‘perks’ that only money could buy, namely credits. These could be bought by telephone, and cost something like £1 per call, for 10 or so credits (I may be wrong, it was a while ago so the specifics are a bit fuzzy).

Anyway, each weekend I used to go into town to spend my pocket money, and I found a bit of a loophole in the system. At Safeway there was a payphone, but it didn’t register the difference between a toll line and a regular number, so I paid the 50p to make a call, would call the £1 number, and hey, presto, it was suddenly buy one get one free for me!

I don’t remember how much exactly I got for free by doing this, but I was a very dedicated Habbo Hotel-er, and I was on holiday for about two months, so I figure I must’ve saved quite a bit!

Of course, the next summer when I went back, I noticed that Safeway had upgraded their phone to a bit of a more high-tech one, and I couldn’t do my little trick anymore. But by that time I was already over Habbo, so it didn’t bother me too much.

I figure in the big picture it didn’t really matter to Safeway that much as, yes, while I may have cost them some £££ that summer, my family bought ALL of our groceries there, every summer for about 10+ years. I figure that with the way their profits work, my one-off summer loophole wouldn’t have cost them anything.

But as the little kid I was, getting a heap of things for free was pretty darn awesome.


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