What do you do when you need a pair of superfly trainers but you aren't a fan of sweatshop economics, nor do you have 100 squid to spend? Well a one-off investment in a pair of Nikes with air-bubble soles can provide you years of sweatshop produce. Wear the shoes for a couple months, then take a needle and pop the air bubble, making sure the hole isn't noticeable. Once the air bubble becomes flat, take your shoes back to the shop and complain that the sole blew out, and that you want a replacement. (This really only works if you go to a large sports shop, such as Foot Locker or Nike Town. And, of course, go to different shops each time.) We've been doing this for years, and our feet have never been happier.
Beer (microbreweries do not apply)
If you"re a beer monster and you buy your beer by the crate, then here's a sure-fire way to boozer heaven. Next time you pick up a crate of beer look on the box for the customer service hotline. Call the number and tell customer services that your beer tastes sour. After reading off several serial numbers, chances are they will send you a complimentary voucher for a new crate. Just don't try the same company more than once in a year as they might just twig.
Free camera hire
Need electronic equipment for a short time, but don't want to pay for it? No problem; just take advantage of the generosity of your high-street retailer. Most big chains have returns or, at worst, exchange policies that let you return items within a month if you're dissatisfied or you just plain changed your mind. Essentially, this means free hire for most electronic goods for a couple of weeks. Just make sure you keep the product packaging in good shape and your receipt. Then once you've used that ridiculously expensive camera on holiday, just return it in its original packaging and Bob's your uncle.
Retail shops in general
Forget about paying for a warranty when you buy a product. We all know that corporate boffins, chained to their desks in some windowless office, time product warranties to end the day before your gizmos give up the ghost. Get your own back on them by getting the shop to replace your widget for free. Let's say you want to return your broken personal stereo but you've lost the receipt. Now most shops won't do diddly squat without a recent receipt, and, anyway, you've had the thing for a few months. You need to buy another of the exact same model, and replace the new model in the box with the old broken one. Then go to the shop within a half-hour of buying the new personal stereo, and simply ask for a refund. If they ask why, tell them you changed your mind or bought the wrong model. Works with just about anything.
Getting the best seats in the house
Buy the cheapest seat up in the gods, and then turn up with a mate in a wheelchair and complain about accessibility. The front rows of many events are often reserved for disabled access. One serious caveat: do not under any circumstances get up and dance, unless you're attending a Billy Graham event and want to claim to have been miraculously touched by the hand of God. But that's another blag altogether.