Last year on my 29th birthday, I stopped in to rent some movies from Vulcan Video. The clerk informed me my rental was free because it was my birthday.
Did she feel sorry for me because I was alone and renting not one but two movies on my birthday? Did she think I could use that $3.99 to also grab a pint of Ben and Jerry’s to ease my loneliness? Perhaps. But it’s also Vulcan’s policy to give all of their customers a free rental on their big day.
As I drove home, I realized my birthday has more to offer than just depressing self-analysis and Facebook posts from random acquaintances. I could be taking advantage of this day to get a bunch of free stuff!
So, gearing up for my 30th b-day, I put together a handy guide to enjoying what this city has to offer you on your most special day.
10 a.m.: It’s your birthday day, so you might as well gorge yourself. If you sign up for Tacos and Tequila’s Chilehead Club, you’ll get an email for a free Saturday brunch. The coupon is good for thirty days, so don’t sweat it if your birthday's not on a Saturday. Besides just delicious Mexican food, their brunch also includes unlimited mimosas, champagne and agua frescas. But, take it from me, you'll want to take it easy on the alcohol if you’re going to make the most out of your day.
11 a.m.: Next, stop by Vulcan Video to claim your free rental. It’s best to pick a movie out early on in the day as you'll likely be too tired/drunk later to make good decisions. And you DON'T want to wake up the next day to find out you thoughtlessly wasted your free rental on Nic Cage's Season of the Witch.
1 p.m.: Get ready for another all-you-can-eat feast because you’re on your way to Cannoli Joe's! View it as “putting down a good base" before partying and you won’t feel so bad about the copious amounts of Italian food you are about to ingest. You will need to plan ahead by signing up for Cannoli Joe’s E-Club. They’ll email you a coupon for free lunch on your birthday. This buffet has multiple rooms of rich Italian courses, and each is painted to look like a neighborhood. Think of it as the culinary birthday vacation you always dreamed of and deserved.
2 p.m.: It’s time to relax and digest a bit. Go back to your place and watch that free movie and just enjoy the cool darkness. Falling asleep is optional. I recommend setting an alarm just in case.
4 p.m.: If you’re still feeling sleeping, head straight to Kick Butt Coffee. Fill out a form in the store prior to your birthday to join their VIP club. You’ll get a birthday card that entitles you to one free drink on your b-day. Now take that shot of espresso and keep moving, birthday girl!
6 p.m.: It’s still your day, so you can be as demanding as you want. Make your friends meet at Trudy’s for happy hour. Trudy’s offers a free Mexican Martini, draft beer, mixed drink or shot on your birthday. Be careful, those Mexican Martini’s are strong (they cut you off after two). You can also choose a free dessert if you are underage.
8 p.m.: It’s time for fun, so why not take in some comedy? Cap City Comedy Club will send you a postcard for eight free tickets to use during your birthday month if you fill out a comment card at a show. That’s right, you get to bring ten friends. No need to pick and choose one or two people to bring with you. Invite all your friends! (No one has more than ten friends, right?)
11 p.m.: Do you still want to party? Take a cab down to Sixth Street and hit up the bars. Many bartenders on Sixth will give you a free shot if you show them your ID. Bar hop like you’re turning 21! If you’re too belligerent to get a free shot, hop in a cab and call it a night. Just 365 days until you can do it all again.
See, a birthday really doesn't have to be depressing! With a little planning and some perserverance, you too can enjoy an entire day of free surprises to remember why getting older means getting smarter.
Of course, you could always just demand your friends or significant other pay for everything as well. That's just as smart...