Tragedy of the Commons (And How to Make $15 in <60 seconds)

Happy Friday, Travel Junkies.

It’s been almost 2 weeks since I announced my first side hustle and things seem to be off to a good start.

So good in fact that many of you are having a hard time finding Visa Gift cards. Myself included.


This was to be expected, as the opportunity to earn ~$2,000 of profit in such a short time period was sure to bring out even the most passive points/miles enthusiasts.

The downside to this however is that these opportunities also bring out some of the more irresponsible players in this game.

Which is why I want to take a minute today to introduce you to the term “tragedy of the commons”.

Tragedy of the commons is the idea that people will always act in their own self-interests, even when those self-interests are harmful to the group as a whole.

(Think littering, overfishing,, etc.)

Look, I get it. When it comes to earning “free” money it’s easy to get caught up in trying to maximize your own benefit.

But doing so could ruin it for everyone.

So in an effort to ensure that there will be many more side hustles to come, please adhere to the following 4 rules:

1. Do not ever ask an employee to do something that violates store policy.

If the daily gift card purchase limit is $500, then don’t ask an employee to ring up more than $500 of gift cards. Even if you know that the system won’t “catch it”.

The same idea applies to asking employees to hold items aside just for you. Don’t do it, ever.


2. Do not ever argue with store employees, even if you are “right”.

You’re going to encounter a lot of situations in this game where you know store policies better than some employees or managers.

This is not an opportunity for you to show off your knowledge.

If you’re given information by an employee or manager that you know to be inaccurate, simply ask (politely) if they can verify that information because you were told something different on another visit.

And above all, never ever argue about it. Even if it means you have to leave and try again another time.


3. Be respectful of all parties involved

If you are going to do a transaction that will take a few minutes, let others customers in line go ahead of you.

And if you are having trouble with a card being accepted for payment, step out of line until you can resolve the issue.


4. Stay below the radar at all times

When you do things like this you will almost certainly be asked a number of curious questions.

“Wow, what do you need all these cards for?”

“Why do you do this so frequently?”

“Wow that’s a lot of money”.

Again, this is not an opportunity to brag about your new hobby.

And as much as I appreciate those of you who tell other people about GFF, this is not the time to do so.

Just be politely vague. “I use these to pay bills” is my go to answer.

Be friendly, but remember that the ultimate goal is that they forget about you the moment you leave.


Happy Travels,



P.S. Here’s how to make $15 in about 60 seconds with Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Visa Checkout is currently offering a $15 statement credit for any Chase Sapphire or Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholder who buys something with Visa Checkout through 9/30/15.

So if you happen to have one of these cards, hop over to newegg and buy something cheap (I recommend this 50 cent Max Payne cheat code). Use Visa Checkout to complete the purchase and pay with your Chase Sapphire card.

Your $15 statement credit will post 1-2 billing cycles later.

(Tip of the hat to reddit /r/churning for the discovery)

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