some tips for the modern gather hunterer
  1. The obvious: free samples
    But not just supermarkets, farmer's markets too. Keep a geographic map color-coded by day to pinpoint sample clusters in particular neighborhoods to maximize efficiency.
  2. Podcast promo codes
    Boutiquey food companies like Naturebox always are advertising through sponsored podcasts and likely they have deals going on involving 'first delivery free' or 'free trials' you might benefit from.
  3. Guilting a corporate Facebook account
    Often you can make up some story about being ripped off by some store or restaurant and companies will bend over backwards on social media to make it up to you. They'll ask for an address to ship a complementary box of Papa Johns/whatever your way. Get increased mileage by making multiple accounts so nobody catches on.
  4. Orchard tours
    It's one way orchards and farms love bringing in a little extra dough. Except you don't pay for the tour. You wander in as a 'photographer' and pluck to your hearts content, putting the produce in your 'lens bag.' If/when someone sees you on your stroll, just say you were trying to get a shot of light glancing off the leaves and lost your tour, you're very sorry.
  5. Game day mascot
    Gain sympathy from tailgaters by pretending to be the hired mascot of a team (yes, this would involve purchasing the appropriate costume) and looking exhausted and lost. A friendly fan might offer a burger from their grill or cold soda pop.
  6. Fake food drive
    Invent a disaster or tragedy and start making posters and flyers for it around a wealthy neighborhood. Choose a location that sympathetic donors can drop off goods (parking lots of places of worship work well) and provide bins.
  7. Recovery programs
    Figure out where the 12-step programs near you meet and you're guaranteed cookies and coffee at least. You might have to make up a recovery backstory, which shouldn't be too hard. Say you used to own a speedboat rental business and you're off to the races.